Let's talk about sex!
It’s no secret that an eggplant emoji in a message is rarely an invite for baba ganoush or an eggplant parmi.
If you’re getting sexy with someone, there are a few things you should know. Sexual health may not be the most glamorous thing to read about but accidentally contracting Chlamydia is far less glamorous! Have a scroll through this information provided by SHINE SA
and we promise you'll learn something new!
Click on an image below to jump to each section:
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are infections caused by some bacteria, viruses and other organisms. They can be passed from person to person through any form of sexual activity, including vaginal, anal and oral sex. Some STIs can be passed through skin-to-skin or blood-to-blood contact alone.
Prevention of STIs
- Come prepared! Use condoms and/or dams for protection
- Practise safer sex. Make sure you and your partner/s have had a recent STI check.
- Talk about any past infections with your sexual partner/s.
- Don’t share injecting equipment or anything that comes into contact with blood (e.g. tattoo equipment).
- When there are sores, lumps or ulcers around the mouth or genital area, or unusual discharge, avoid vaginal, anal and oral sex or any activity involving skin contact with the affected area.
Condoms and Dams
The most common condom is a thin piece of latex (rubber) which is shaped to fit onto an erect penis. There is also a condom made of plastic, an alternative for people who are allergic to latex. A vaginal condom is also available. It is loose fitting, non-latex, and is placed inside the vagina.
Condoms can be used for vaginal, anal or oral sex. Anyone thinking of having sex should wear a condom or consider safer forms of sexual activity, such as mutual masturbation.
A dental dam is a thin piece of latex that can be used during oral sex to prevent the spread of infection. It can be placed over the genitals or anus before giving oral sex. It creates a barrier that prevents bodily fluids being passed between people and reduces your risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection.1
When to consult a doctor
You should see a doctor when STI symptoms are first noticed or if a sexual partner is diagnosed with an STI or has symptoms of an STI. Even if you have no symptoms, you should get an STI check at the doctor or sexual health clinic. Routine STI screening is recommended for any new sexual contact, or if your partner has had a new sexual contact.
To book an appointment for an STI test at SHINE SA, call 1300 794 584. This service is free if you are under 30 years old and have a Medicare card. International students without Medicare cards may have private health insurance which may include GP cover. With GP cover they could:
Tell your partner
- Visit any SHINE SA clinic or GP using their private health insurance;
- or visit Adelaide Sexual Health Centre (ASHC), 275 North Terrace Adelaide.
- If you don’t have health insurance, or you don’t want to use it for confidentiality reasons, you could use the Adelaide Sexual Health Centre as there is no requirement to produce a Medicare card. This service is both free and anonymous.
Ensuring partners are tested and treated is an important way of controlling the spread of STI’s.
If you have had a diagnosis, and it’s difficult to tell your sexual partners yourself, LetThemKnow.org.au includes examples of conversations, emails, text messages (SMS) or letters you can use in informing your partner. It even allows you to send an SMS or email to your partner directly from the site, either personally or anonymously or if you prefer, you can ask your doctor to help.
Types of STIs
There are many different types of sexually transmitted infections. Some of the different types are Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, HPV and Genital Warts, Herpes, Mycoplasma Genitalium, Trichomonas, HIV/AIDS, Syphilis, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.
Further information regarding STI types, symptoms, testing and prevention can be found at shinesa.org.au
What is chlamydia?
Chlamydia is a common bacterial infection that is easily spread through sexual contact. It is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in Australia. Chlamydia infections are rapidly increasing in Australia. Approximately 1 in 20 young people in Australia had chlamydia in 2016.
What are the symptoms?
Most people do not have any symptoms and are unaware that they have the infection. Up to 50-70% of people with the infection do not experience any symptoms. If you have had unprotected sex, you may have chlamydia.
Chlamydia can infect the cervix or urethra. Symptoms can include:
- pain when urinating
- discharge from the vagina
- pain in the lower abdomen
- pain or bleeding during or after sex
- bleeding between periods
- discharge from the penis
Chlamydia can infect the anus (there are usually no symptoms). For women and men, if untreated chlamydia can affect your ability to have children, and may cause ongoing pelvic pain.
How is chlamydia tested?
Chlamydia can be easily tested for via a urine sample, or swab test from the cervix or vagina. This can be done as a self collected swab or sometimes it is added to a cervical screening examination.
How is chlamydia treated?
Chlamydia infection is treated with antibiotics prescribed by the doctor, usually as a single dose of 2 tablets. It’s important to avoid sexual intercourse for one week after treatment so that you don’t pass on the infection or become reinfected yourself. It is recommended that you have another test for chlamydia three months later to make sure you haven’t been infected again.
Chlamydia is a notifiable STI. This means that the doctor has a legal obligation to notify the Department of Health of the chlamydia infection. Any sexual partner/s from the last 6 months should be checked for STIs and be treated for chlamydia as well.
What is HPV?
HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) is the virus that causes genital warts. There are many types of HPV that affect different parts of the body and some of them can infect the genital area. Anyone who has ever had sex can have HPV – it’s so common that four out of five people will have had HPV at some time in their lives. Most people will not know they have HPV because it can stay inactive inside the body or it can produce an infection that is invisible.
What is herpes?
Herpes is a common infection caused by a virus. There are several different types of herpes virus. The most common types are herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV 1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV 2).
Both types of virus can cause infection on the face or genital area. HSV 1 usually causes sores around the lips or face, known as cold sores. HSV 2 usually causes blisters or sores around the genital area (including the anus or surrounding area). It’s generally a more severe infection, with fever and flu-like symptoms.
However, most people who have herpes are not aware that they have the infection. This is because it doesn’t always cause any symptoms when it enters the body. The symptoms are often mistaken for chafing, a rash or some other minor discomfort. The herpes virus stays in your body, even if you don’t have any symptoms.
What is HIV/AIDS?
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV attacks the immune system by infecting certain blood cells that fight infection (CD4+ T-cells), gradually weakening the body until it can no longer defend itself against other bacteria or viruses.
New research shows that taking antiviral medication and having an “undetectable viral load” is more effective at preventing HIV transmission than using condoms. There are also medications people can take to prevent HIV, called PEP and PrEP. For more information go to samesh.org.au
Where can I get tested?
Make an appointment with your local doctor, health care provider, SHINE SA, UniSA GP clinic or Aboriginal Health service. Contact details and locations can be found at the bottom of this page.
Contraception means prevention of pregnancy. It is important to know that only condoms and dental dams reduce the risk of STIs. There are a number of different contraception methods available. The efficacy of contraception methods are shown under each section (based on typical use for methods available in Australia) 2. Contact SHINE SA or your health care provider to discuss accessing contraception.
Barrier methods prevent semen from entering the uterus during sex.
82% effective (male condom)
79% effective (female condom)
A thin sheath of rubber that is placed on an erect penis before contact occurs between the penis and the vagina to prevent pregnancy. Condoms also reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections.
- it is more effective when used with water-based lubricant to prevent friction and breakage
- it is available at supermarkets, pharmacies, USASA counters, UniSA medical clinic and SHINE SA clinics
- the female condom is less readily available but can be purchased from SHINE SA, some pharmacies and online e.g. the SIN Safer Sex Shop
A soft, dome-shaped rubber cap that is placed over the cervix.
- it must be inserted before sex and left in place for at least 6 hours following intercourse
- it can be purchased at SHINE SA clinics or some pharmacies
Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives
Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARCs) are a means of preventing pregnancy that need to be used less than once per month. LARCs are the most effective methods for contraception and are suitable for most people, but may have side effects.
Intra-uterine device (IUD): Mirena
This device is placed in the uterus and releases a small amount of progestogen. It is effective for 5 years.
Intra-uterine devices (IUD): Multiload and Copper T
- although there may be some irregular bleeding and/or spotting at first, the device makes periods lighter and may stop them altogether
- there are minimal side effects because the dose of hormone is small and works within the uterus
- it is inserted by some GPs, gynaecologists (with a referral) and SHINE SA doctors
The device is placed in the uterus. It affects sperm movement and prevents the implantation of the egg.
Contraceptive implant: Implanon
- Copper T is effective for 10 years and Multiload is effective for 5 years
- there are no hormones, so no hormonal side effects
- periods may be heavier or more painful
- it is inserted by some GPs, gynaecologists (with a referral) and at SHINE SA clinics
A progestogen implant that is placed in the upper arm and is effective for 3 years.
- periods change and bleeding may become lighter, heavier, come when not expected or stop altogether
- it may cause side effects, including weight gain, moodiness and pimples
- the implant can be removed at any time
- when the implant is removed, periods and fertility return to normal immediately
- the implant is inserted and removed under local anaesthetic by some GPs, gynaecologists (with a referral) and at SHINE SA clinics
Shorter Acting Hormonal Methods
These contraception methods use hormones to change fertility by stopping the release of the egg, blocking sperm, and changing the lining of the uterus. They are very effective when used correctly, but with typical use are less effective than LARC methods. These methods do not protect against sexually transmitted infections.
Injectable contraception: Depo Ralovera or Provera
A progestogen injection given regularly every 12 weeks.
The Pill (combined oral contraceptive pill)
- periods usually stop while using this method
- it may cause side effects, including irregular bleeding, weight gain, moodiness, and pimples; until the injection wears off
- it may temporarily delay a return to normal periods and fertility after stopping the injections
A Pill that is a combination of progestogen and oestrogen, and is taken daily.
Vaginal ring: NuvaRing
- it may make periods lighter, more regular and less painful
- it may cause side effects such as headaches, nausea, breast tenderness and weight gain, although changing the type of Pill may help these problems
- it may provide long-term protection against ovarian and uterine cancer
A soft plastic ring which is self-inserted into the vagina and slowly releases low doses of oestrogen and progestogen into the bloodstream. It is left in place for 3 weeks and taken out for a week.
- it may make periods lighter, more regular and less painful
- it may cause side effects such as headaches, nausea, breast tenderness and weight gain
- the risk of failure associated with diarrhoea and vomiting is avoided as the hormones don’t have to go through the stomach
A progestogen pill taken every day.
Emergency contraception pill (EC)
- it must be taken at a regular time every day
- it may cause side effects, including irregular bleeding, weight gain, moodiness and pimples
A tablet taken after unprotected sex.
- it should be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex for maximum effectiveness
- it may still be effective if taken within 5 days of unprotected sex
- it is available over the counter at pharmacies, SHINE SA clinics and some hospitals
Fertility Awareness-Based Methods
These are methods which rely on identification of the fertile times of a fertility cycle.
During breastfeeding, hormonal changes in the body stop ovulation and periods. This is only effective as long as the mother is fully breastfeeding day and night (not giving any formula or solids to the baby), has not had a period, and the baby is less than 6 months old. Other methods of contraception can be used while breastfeeding to reduce the risk of pregnancy. Discuss this with your GP or SHINE SA.
Ovulation monitoring methods
These methods depend on choosing to have sex at those times of the month when the person is not fertile to avoid pregnancy.
- accurate monitoring of the fertility cycle is important
- these methods require cooperation and education by both partners
Other Methods & Choices
Back to top
Withdrawal (not recommended)
Withdrawal is removing the penis from the vagina before ejaculation (cumming). This is unreliable because sperm can be present in the pre-cum.
Some people choose to abstain from sex for a variety of reasons including prevention of pregnancy.
Sexual and Gender Diversity
Human sexuality is naturally diverse, life-long and deeply personal. It encompasses a person’s sexual desires, behaviours, characteristics, expression, identity and relationships. Sexuality is also about who we are attracted to.
Sexuality is not a choice
Sexual attraction is not a choice, it is a feeling based on sexual desire, which is expressed according to individual experiences. Few people would choose to adopt a sexual identity that is subjected to high levels of discrimination, stigma and social isolation. Years of research suggests that people cannot change their sexual orientation, and trying to do so can cause serious mental health issues including suicide. Same-sex attraction appears in many species, including lions, dolphins, chimps and penguins; in fact there are nearly 130 bird species alone that have been observed engaging in same-sex sexual activity.
A person’s sexual identity is how they choose to describe their sexuality. They may choose a label like gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, queer, or many others. Many people reject labels altogether. Sexuality and sexual attraction are expressed and experienced differently for everyone, and may be fluid across a person’s lifetime.
A lesbian is a woman who has attractions to/sexual relationships with other women and identifies herself as lesbian.
Gay is a term most commonly used to describe a man who has attractions to/sexual relationships with other men and identifies himself as gay.
Gay is also used by some women instead of, or as well as, lesbian.
Bisexual and Pansexual
A bisexual person is someone who experiences sexual/romantic attraction with people of the same gender and other gender/s, and who identifies themselves as bisexual.
A pansexual person is someone who has the ability to have sexual/romantic attraction to people of any gender, and identifies themselves as pansexual.
Queer is an umbrella term that includes a range of non-heterosexual sexualities, and non-cisgender gender identities. However, due to the historical use of this term as an insult, not all LGBTIQ people would find this term appropriate or choose to be identified as Queer, some may even consider it offensive.
Heterosexism is a set of beliefs, attitudes and assumptions that everyone is or should be heterosexual, and other types of sexual behaviours/identities are unhealthy, unnatural or a threat to society. Heterosexism also assumes that sex and gender (and the relationship between the two) are fixed and binary.
This term could be literally explained as ‘fear of same-sex sexuality’. It is used more widely to include fear of all non-heterosexual sexualities. Homophobia refers to actions and attitudes that demonstrate fear, hatred or intolerance of non-heterosexual people and culture. Homophobic attitudes and actions can occur intentionally or inadvertently and may be directed at people who are of any non-heterosexual sexual orientation as well as their allies, or people who are presumed to be anything other than heterosexual.
Like everyone else, people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, etc. may be socialised into thinking that being anything other than heterosexual is “bad”, “wrong” or “immoral”. This can lead to feelings of fear, disgust and hatred of oneself. These feelings are called “internalised homophobia”, or “internalised oppression”. This can happen to anyone who has been taught that heterosexual is the only “normal” and “correct” way to be. If left unchallenged, internalised homophobia can lead to severe mental health issues.
Trans & Gender Diverse (TGD)
Terminology: The Golden Rule is to Ask!
The following definitions seek to give an overview of the terminology used in reference to trans and gender diverse (TGD) people.
Within TGD communities there are various identities that people will identify with. TGD may be seen as an umbrella term for people who do not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. Other terms may include non-binary, agender, genderqueer, gender non-conforming and many others.
TGD people may identify as a man, woman or other gender and not as gender diverse, transgender, F-M or M-F. Acknowledging and respecting this is an important part of respecting individuals’ autonomy and identity.
The golden rule in relation to TGD terminology is to respectfully ask individuals how they identify and would like to be addressed.
The gender that a person identifies as regardless of the sex they were assigned at birth.
NOTE: Gender identity and sexual orientation are not linked
Gender identity is not related to sexual orientation. A person who is trans or gender diverse may identify with any sexual orientation. It is offensive and unnecessary to make enquiries about, or association of, an individual’s sexuality or sexual practices in reference to their gender identity.
Trans and Gender Diverse (TGD)
An umbrella term used to describe all those whose gender identity is different to the sex they were assigned at birth, including those who identify as non-binary, genderqueer, agender, etc.
A person who lives, or wishes to live, as a different gender from the one they were raised as/ assigned at birth, and who identifies themselves as transgender.
Someone who exclusively identifies as the gender they were assigned at birth.
The Gender Binary
A system of viewing gender as consisting solely of two, opposite categories, termed “male and female”, in which no other possibilities for gender or anatomy are believed to exist. This system is oppressive to anyone who identifies differently to their sex assigned at birth, particularly those who do not fit neatly into one of the two standard categories. 4
This is a medical term that refers to a person’s physical discomfort with their body, caused by their strong identification with a gender which is different from the one they were assigned at birth. This can result in an individual experiencing anxiety, depression or other mental health issues such as self-harm or suicide. Usually, gender dysphoria is treated very effectively by supporting the person to express themselves by socially or medically affirming their true gender.
It is very important to note that not all people who identify as TGD will experience dysphoria.
An umbrella term for all genders other than female/male or woman/man. Some non-binary people identify as trans, however not all do, and as with all identities it only relates to those who have applied it to themselves. Non-binary people may wish to socially or medically affirm their gender so that their gender expression more closely reflects their internal identity. Many non-binary people wish to appear androgynous and adopt unisex names, gender-neutral titles such as Mx. and/or gender-neutral pronouns, but others prefer to express themselves in ways which are traditionally seen as masculine or feminine or to mix aspects of the two.
This is a term for people who actively seek to transcend the system of binary gender in which ‘male’ and ‘female’ are the only, and mutually exclusive, options. Some see themselves as having no gender at all (agender or neutrois), as being more than one gender (bigender or ambigender), as moving between or amongst genders (gender-fluid), or as being an additional category of gender.
Transitioning (affirming gender identity)
Transitioning (now outdated but still commonly used) describes the process of TGD people recognising their true gender identity and making steps to express and affirm the gender that they identify with. This may involve undertaking hormone therapy and/or gender-affirming surgery, but it is important to note that many people choose not to use either of these options. This process often takes some time and it is important for people to be supportive and non-judgemental while a person is in the process of affirming their true gender.
Gender affirming surgery
This is a medical procedure that aligns a person’s body to the gender they identify with. Surgery is not always a preference or an option for all TGD people. This may be for medical or financial reasons, but often it is simply because people don’t feel a need for it.
AFAB and AMAB
Acronyms meaning “assigned female/male at birth”. No one, whether cis or trans, gets to choose what sex they’re assigned at birth. This term is preferred to “biological male/female” and “born male/female”, which can be offensive and inaccurate.
FTM or F2M
Someone who was assigned female at birth and now expresses and identifies their gender as male.
MTF or M2F
Someone who was assigned male at birth and now expresses and identifies their gender as female.
Sistergirls and Brotherboys
This term is unique to Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to describe trans and gender diverse people who also retain a strong connection to culture.
Affectionate terms originally used between Aboriginal women and men reflecting kinship, the usage of sistergirl and brotherboy terminology is clearly influenced by the diversity of communities, and will often be defined within a community depending on geographical location. Within the sistergirl and brotherboy communities, a sistergirl is an individual assigned male at birth who has a female spirit and a brotherboy is an individual assigned female at birth who has a male spirit.
Acknowledgement of source: http://sistersandbrothersnt.com
Cissexism relates to a set of beliefs, attitudes and assumptions that everyone is or should be cisgender, and different gender expressions/identities are unhealthy, unnatural or a threat to society. Cissexism also assumes that gender is fixed and binary, and there are certain rules that govern how men and women act, think and participate in society.
This is the common term for the fear, disdain, disgust, distrust and/or hatred of people who identify as TGD, are allies, or appear to be TGD. It may also include discrimination, ignorance and stigma directed at anyone who expresses gender-non-conforming behaviour or appearance. Transphobia, like homophobia, biphobia and others, leads to systemic issues such as violence, abuse and discrimination in legislation, policy and even built environments (such as single-sex change rooms or toilets).
Internalised transphobia is an unconscious process in which TGD people accept negative attitudes and beliefs, behaviours and feelings that are directed towards them on the basis of their gender identity. Internalised transphobia has parallels with internalised homophobia although there are some differences. Transphobia originates from society’s rigidity of gender ‘norms’ and expectations of how men and women should appear and behave. TGD people also internalise the messages that come at all of us (much of it via the media) about physically idealised images of men, women and the roles they are expected to play and conform to.
This term usually refers to people who dress up/”play with gender” for sexual pleasure. Sometimes they are referred to as ‘cross-dressers’ and the activity as ‘cross-dressing’.
Men who dress up in exaggerated forms of feminine clothing and accessories for the purpose of comedy/entertainment.
Women who dress up in exaggerated masculine clothing and accessories for the purpose of comedy/entertainment.
Pronouns are linguistic tools that we use to refer to people (i.e. they/them/theirs, she/her/hers, he/him/his). It is important to give people the opportunity to state the pronoun that is correct to use when referring to them, and for people to respect that person by using the pronoun they have identified. It can be very distressing for TGD people if they are misgendered by the use of incorrect pronouns.
To misgender someone is to refer to them using a pronoun or title that does not correspond with their gender identity or implying they are a gender they are not. Misgendering can be done to anyone however it is particularly disrespectful and dehumanising if it is done to TGD people. Some trans activists equate deliberate misgendering to a form of psychological violence.
Intersex people are born with physical, hormonal or genetic features that are neither wholly female nor wholly male; or a combination of female and male; or neither female nor male. The previous term for Intersex was hermaphrodite, although this is now considered offensive and inaccurate.
Intersex people have been commonly forced in to a particular sex category and subjected to (sometimes multiple) surgeries to force their external genitals to fit with what is typically defined as male or female. These surgeries are frequently carried out on intersex people without their consent, when they are newborns or young children. This can lead to mental health issues, gender identity issues and physical health issues later in life. Intersex people can have any gender identity or sexual orientation.
QLife (LGBTI counselling and referrals): 1800 184 527, qlife.org.au
UniSA Rainbow Club
The University of South Australia Rainbow Club exists for students of diverse genders and sexualities. Committed to ensuring the well-being of queer students, they provide up-to-date relevant information, and regularly hold events in a secure, embracing environment. The club maintains close links with a variety of queer-specific groups and services.
Back to top
The thought that you may be pregnant can be overwhelming for anyone, whether the pregnancy is planned or not. It is only you who will know whether you are ready to have a child.
Most people who are born with female reproductive organs already have up to two million immature eggs in their ovaries which will be released, usually one at a time, throughout their fertile life.
Each month, the lining of the uterus becomes thick and soft, ready for a possible pregnancy. This lining is made up of tissue, blood and other fluids. If an egg is fertilised by a sperm (this can happen as a result of sexual intercourse), then a pregnancy can occur. If not, the blood and fluids are passed out of the body through the vagina – this is called menstruation, or a period.
Conception today can also take place with the aid of a range of developments in reproductive technology, including invitro fertilisation or fertilisation that takes place in a laboratory, then the fertilised egg is inserted into a uterus.
How do you know you’re pregnant?
Possible signs include:
- missed period
- late period or lighter and shorter period
- tender and/or bigger breasts
- tingling nipples
- feeling sick and/or tired
- need to pass urine more often
Urine can be tested to determine if you are pregnant, and this result is available straight away. If your period is at least 3 days late or its been 3 weeks since you had unprotected sex, your urine can be tested. Home pregnancy testing kits are available at pharmacies and some supermarkets.
SHINE SA provides a pregnancy testing service that is free if you’re under 30 years old and have a Medicare card.
This information is designed to assist in the process of making a decision regarding an unplanned pregnancy. It is not meant to encourage you to make any particular decision, but may be used as a guide to look at your options. Unplanned pregnancies do happen and everyone has the right to make their own decision.
You may feel that talking about the pregnancy is not going to help, but people often find it does help them to consider their choices and decide what to do.
You don’t have to make the decision alone. It is important to get support as early as possible. Think about who you will tell. It might be helpful to talk it over with someone you trust, who won’t tell you what to do. Think about who might be there for you, to listen to you and provide support so you can make the right decision for you. This may be a friend, partner or family member, or it may be useful to speak to someone from a health service.
Be aware that some organisations which advertise help for pregnancy choices can be biased, either by not providing you with all your options or actively discouraging consideration of abortion. If you’re not getting the advice and support you want, you can go elsewhere for help.
To find out about an organisation before you approach them you can call:
SHINE SA Sexual Healthline:
1300 883 793
1800 188 171 (Toll free: country callers)
Women’s Information Service:
(08) 8303 0590
1800 188 158 (Toll free: country callers)
SHINE SA and the Pregnancy Advisory Centre are inclusive of trans men and gender diverse people who are experiencing pregnancy.
If you have confirmed you are pregnant, you have three choices:
- continue the pregnancy and become a parent
- continue the pregnancy and consider adoption or alternative care
- have an abortion to end the pregnancy
Whatever you decide, the choice is yours.
Some of the things you may want to consider in making the decision are:
- Firstly, would you ‘rule out’ any of the choices above?
- How do you feel about being pregnant? It may help to write things down, such as feelings, fears, hopes and worries. Include how you feel about each of the options you are considering.
- What may be the effects for you, both positive and negative, of taking up each option? Listing these can be useful to look over and compare.
- What do you think needs to be in place before you become a parent?
- How would other people who are important to you react? Can you discuss this with them? Would it affect your decision?
Everyone is different. It is normal to feel confused or even unsure about one particular choice you may be ‘leaning towards’.
Even if you are feeling certain about your decision, do consider making an appointment with a reproductive or sexual health service to find out:
- how many weeks pregnant you are
- timeframes for decision making
The right decision for you may not, in the end, feel 100% ‘right’, but the bottom line is: your emotional and mental health and wellbeing is most important.
Continuing with a pregnancy
Contact your GP, local SHINE SA office, or major hospital to discuss your options regarding antenatal care.
To book into a public hospital for antenatal care call the Pregnancy SA Infoline on 1300 368 820. You can also call the Women’s Information Service or Women’s Healthline regarding support services (e.g. emotional, housing, financial, legal and other support).
The Women’s and Children’s Health Network is an important resource for you in pregnancy and parenting. Call their Parent Helpline on 1300 364 100. Their website has valuable advice in the Parenting section and young parents can go to the Teen health section.
The Pregnancy Advisory Centre has useful information on continuing with a pregnancy available on their website.
The decision to place a child up for adoption can be a difficult one and might be made for many different reasons.
The Adoption & Family Information Service can provide counselling as you work through future options for yourself and your child if this is something you are considering. Other options for your child’s care, such as fostering, may also be possible and these can be discussed with the service.
Parents whose children are adopted permanently give up all their parental rights to and responsibilities for their child. The child is permanently placed with an adoptive family and the child’s birth family has no legal responsibility to the child.
Adoption & Family Information Service:
8207 0060, Visit website
You can contact the Pregnancy Advisory Centre for information and self-referral (see below). A range of useful information on abortion is available on their website. SHINE SA also has a fact sheet ‘Information on abortion in South Australia’.
If you need help in making a decision, urgent counselling is available at SHINE SA or Pregnancy Advisory Centre.
People who feel they are making their own decision about their pregnancy are more likely to feel positive about the outcome.
SHINE SA Sexual Healthline:
1300 883 793
1800 188 171
(Toll free: country callers)
Women’s Information Service:
(08) 8303 0590
1800 188 158
(Toll free: country callers)
Pregnancy Advisory Centre:
(08) 8243 3999
1800 672 966
(Toll free: country callers)
Back to top
Sex is never an obligation. It’s something you should enjoy. Safer sex means both partners experience pleasure. So if you’re not into it for any reason it’s your right to say no at any time. It’s OK to ask to stop. This includes during sex, especially if you feel physical pain or emotional discomfort. It is also your responsibility to check in with the person you’re having sex with to make sure they are enjoying themselves and want you to proceed.
What can I do if I am sexually assaulted?
Sex may not be pleasurable for different reasons, including position, inflammation, previous traumatic experience, lack of lubrication, or limited foreplay. It may be a one-off thing, but if you have persistent difficulties it may be worth talking to a doctor, nurse or sexual health counsellor.
If a partner asks you to stop you must respect this. Failure to do so is illegal and constitutes rape.
The age of consent is 17 in South Australia. A person can not legally consent to sex if they are under the age of 17. The age of consent changes if the older person is in a position of authority over the younger person, such as a tutor, lecturer, employer, sports coach. In these circumstances the age of consent changes from 17 to 18. These laws apply even if the two people are in a relationship together and even if the younger person agreed to the sexual activity, as the law says they are not legally able to give consent.
Talking to your partner
Talking to your partner about safer sex is not always easy. You may feel awkward or uncomfortable. But talking about safer sex is a sign of respect. It shows you care about your health and the wellbeing of your partner. It’s essential to make sure that you have your partner’s consent for any sexual activity. The only way to do that is to ask and never assume!
Talk openly about the things you want and don’t want. Listen to each other and agree together about what’s OK to happen next.
Looking after yourself emotionally
Practising safer sex also means looking after yourself emotionally. This means you choose:
- when you’re ready to start having sex
- when you want to have sex
- when you don’t want to have sex
- who to have sex with
- how to have sex
It’s important to take your time and make sure that you’re making choices that are right for you. Discuss these with your partner. There are plenty of ways to be close to someone without having intercourse.
Consent to sexual activity must be given freely and voluntarily. The law says people must be awake, aware and in control in sexual situations, and being affected by drugs or alcohol can compromise this.
Safer sex means choosing safety, pleasure and respect.
Sexual assault is any unwanted touching, fondling, masturbation or any actions of a sexual kind that makes a person feel unsafe.
Consent to sexual activity must be voluntary, enthusiastic and continuous. It is unlawful to force or pressure someone into any sexual activity. Sometimes you may not be sure if a rape or sexual assault has happened to you. Trust your gut feelings.
You haven’t said ‘Yes’ to sex if you:
- were threatened or bullied into having sex
- were asleep or unconscious
- were so intoxicated that you were not capable of giving consent
- didn’t feel able to say no, but you were visibly upset/distressed and not enjoying yourself
Survivors of sexual assault may feel a range of feelings including guilt or shame and may fear how others will react. Remember it’s not your fault, and finding a safe person to tell may help you. You may have concerns about sexually transmitted infections (STI) or pregnancy from unprotected sex if you have been raped. There are preventative medications that can be given, such as the Emergency Contraceptive Pill (ECP, or “morning after pill”). This is available from most chemists without a prescription and from medical clinics or services such as Yarrow Place Rape and Sexual Assault Service.
People can be concerned about the risk of contracting an STI following a rape. There are medications that may reduce your risk of developing an STI and these are available from your GP, UniSA Health Medical Clinic and Yarrow Place. Services provided at Yarrow Place are for people who have been raped or sexually assaulted and you do not have to report the sexual assault to police in order to access health care there. Yarrow Place is a free, confidential service and you do not need a Medicare card or private health insurance to use medical services there.
Yarrow Place can talk with you about the medical and legal options you have following a rape or sexual assault and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for people who have been recently (within the past week) raped or sexually assaulted. Suggested support services are listed below: If you have been raped or sexually assaulted, you can contact the police.
SA Police: dial 000
or 131 444
for non emergency.
SHINE SA Sexual Healthline:
1300 883 793
1800 188 171
(Toll free: country callers)
Yarrow Place (rape and sexual assault support): (08) 8226 8777
1800 817 421
(Toll free: country callers)
Support and Policies
UniSA’s Counselling Service offers free and confidential counselling to all students to help with managing any personal issues that could affect your wellbeing and/or studies.
Their counsellors are highly trained and experienced professionals and can assist students with a wide range of issues including dealing with sexual harassment or assault.
Counsellors are available for face-to-face and/or phone appointments. You will need your student ID number to make a booking. You can book an appointment online or by phone:
1300 301 703
Mount Gambier campus
(08) 8723 1999
(08) 8645 8233
If you are involved in, or witness a serious or distressing incident on campus, please contact Security and Police for assistance. Several locations on all campuses are equipped with emergency wall phones for direct contact with security staff. They will automatically dial security.
Call 1800 500 911
(24-hours, toll free)
from internal University telephones
UniSA has a number of policies relevant to sexual harrassment. These policies outline the University’s position and process related to reports and complaints. Check the website to read the most up to date policies.3
National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service: 1800RESPECT or 1800 737 732
Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia:
1800 572 224
Youth Healthline (counselling age 12-25):
1300 13 17 19
Services and Clinics
The clinical teams at SHINE SA include both doctors and registered nurses/midwives who work collaboratively to provide high quality services to their community, including:
- STI testing, management and referral information on safer sex and sexuality issues
- contraception services (including Emergency Contraception)
- pregnancy testing, counselling and referral
- Hepatitis B vaccinations for eligible people under the SA Health High Risk Hepatitis B program (not including occupational or travel vaccinations)
- sexual health issues
Call to make an appointment or drop in during the times listed under ‘drop in’.
SHINE SA Sexual Healthline:
1300 883 793
1800 188 171
(Toll free: country callers)
57 Hyde Street, Adelaide
Drop in: Fri 1pm-4pm
43 Peachey Road, Davoren Park
Drop in: Mon-Fri 1pm-4pm
Noarlunga GP Plus Super Clinic (Level 1)
20 Alexander Kelly Drive, Noarlunga Centre
Drop in: Mon & Tues 1pm - 4pm
Woodville GP Plus Health Care Centre
64 Woodville Road, Woodville SA
Drop in: Mon-Thurs 1pm-4pm
Shine SA Reynella
3/216 Old South Road, Old Reynella SA
The Medical Clinic has been established to provide acute and preventative health care on campus.
1300 172 996
- Free education and screening, for STI’s in a confidential setting
- Support for unplanned pregnancy
- Comprehensive care to women with pelvic pain, painful intercourse, menstrual disorders, continence issues, sexual difficulties & women with peri-menopausal & menopausal problems
- Free Cervical Cancer screening for all students & advice with regard to Gardasil vaccine & its benefits preventing cervical cancer & genital warts
- Shared Care Obstetric services, with all public hospitals & pre-conceptual advice
- Screening for Vaccination Status & a Comprehensive Travel Medical Service, including Yellow Fever
- Free condom samples
- Comprehensive contraceptive counselling, particularly with the highly efficacious, Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives, Mirena and Implanon, including prompt insertion
- Leaflets on all aspects of sexual health
UniSA East Campus
Level 2, Centenary Building
UniSA West Campus
27 North Terrace
Back to top
Adelaide Sexual Health Centre
275 North Terrace, Adelaide
Drop in or phone (08) 7117 2800
Aboriginal Health Clinic
Nunkuwarrin Yunti: Wakefield Street
182-190 Wakefield Street
(08) 8406 1600
General practitioners for regional areas and outer suburbs can be found by using the search function on the health direct website. healthdirect.gov.au
Thank you to SHINE SA for providing the majority of the content and great support for the production of this booklet. Further information about each area covered in this booklet and beyond can be accessed by contacting SHINE SA and at shinesa.org.au
- “Safe Sex”, Health Direct, healthdirect.gov.au/safe-sex, accessed June 30 2017
- “Efficacy of contraception methods”, Family Planning Alliance Australia, 2014
- “UniSA Policies and Procedures”, University of South Australia, unisa.edu.au/policies, accessed June 30 2017
- "LGBTQ+ Definitions", Trans Student Educational Resources, http://www.transstudent.org/definitions, accessed June 30 2017
The content on this page was correct to the best of USASA’s ability at the time of publication on 21 August 2018.
It is recommended that you speak to a health care professional to get the most up-to-date information, discuss if things are right for you, and clarify all information as the content of this booklet is not completely comprehensive.
The contents of this booklet are not intended to encourage sexual activity. The information exists for educational purposes and responds to an identified need for greater awareness of sexual health and safer sex. USASA respects all religions and cultures and is aware sexual activity is not a part of all students’ lives.
This initiative is brought to you by
with assistance from