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We've got heaps of information in this app about sexuality, sex, contraception and consent. So take a look around!


What this app is about:

But we want to hear from you too! Got suggestions about ways we can make IRL better or topics you would like to read about? You can tell us here! It's anonymous and you don't have to leave your name.

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What is sex?

Fun. Awkward. Hot. Weird. Boring. Amazing. Meh.

Sex can be many things and we can get really hung up on what "counts" as sex. Sometimes people talk about it like they're refereeing a footy game ("was it in?"). Some people think sex is only penetration (a penis in a vagina or anus) but really, any sexual act can be called sex and how we define it is up to each of us as individuals. Here are a few things that may fall under the "sex" category for you:

  • Penetrative sex (penis in vagina or anus)
  • Oral sex (mouth on penis, vagina, or anus)
  • Manual genital sex (hand jobs or fingering)
  • Masturbating by yourself
  • Tribbing (rubbing against genitals or rubbing genitals together)
  • Watching porn
  • Sending nudes via text or social media
  • Text sex
  • Talking about sexual fantasies or sexual roleplay

People of all backgrounds, genders, genitals, bodies, and abilities can and do have all kinds of sex. And plenty of people choose not to have sex, for lots of reasons that are valid.


Regardless of our differences, there is one thing that needs to happen during all sexual activity whether it's anal or sending a sexy text. If you said "consent" in your head right now… then you win a prize! **

When it comes to sex, no matter who you are, EVERYONE involved needs to give enthusiastic consent. That means everyone says "yes, I definitely want to do these things with you!" Everyone involved needs to feel safe to say "no" or "stop" or "I'm not into that but I AM into that".

And no matter how horny you are, if you get a "no" or a "slow down" from a sex partner you must respect that! Sex is the best when everyone is having a good time, not when they feel pressured (trust us).

There is a lot to know about consent: how to ask for it, how to give it, how to negotiate it. Read about it here.


There are legal definitions of sex that we all need to know. This includes the legal age of consent and what sexual assault or coercion looks like. We go into more detail about those things here.

** Ok, so we don't have any prizes, but you can pat yourself on the back for the right answer!

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Oral sex

Oral sex can mean a lot of things to different people. It can be awkward and kinda funny at first. Oral sex involves someone's mouth and someone's genitals (cunnilingus, fellatio). It can also include rimming, which is putting your mouth on someone's anus (bum).

Remember porn is just acting and not everything you see online is for everyone.

Like all sex, you need the person's consent, and make sure they are comfortable and don't feel pressured.

Safer oral sex

Oral sex has no risk of pregnancy, but you can still pass infections from mouths to genitals and the other way around. STIs like chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhoea, syphilis and HPV can happen with oral, so the best thing is to use a condom on a penis, or a dental dam on a vulva.

Hands and mouth

Start slow and talk to your partner about what they like. If you're also using your hands read the manual sex section of this app and remember to wash your hands thoroughly before and after kicking this off and consider using gloves.

Everyone's genitals are different, and different people like different things. You can say what you like and don't like, and you can ask the other person what they enjoy. If they don't know, you can experiment together.

Keep it clean

Before you get down and dirty, it's a good idea to wash your hands. We are used to washing our hands to protect against viruses and it's no different here. Having clean hands helps protect against possible infections or irritation. You wouldn't want someone touching your sensitive areas after they had just been chopping up chilli right, ouch!

Also, always change condoms and dental dams if you change the type of sex you're doing.

If you're thinking about other types of sex, you can read about manual sex, anal sex or penetrative sex in the app.

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(P & V)
Penis in vagina sex

This type of sex is a big deal for some people and NBD for others.

It doesn't matter when you decide to have sex. It only matters that you and your partner are the legal age to consent and that you feel ready, no one is pressuring you, and you're not pressuring anyone else.

Consent and communication are the magic combo to have really good sexual experiences.

Safer penetrative sex

If you have a penis and a vagina/uterus coming together for this type of sex, you have the risk of pregnancy happening ( and STIs too). In this case, make sure to take a look at our contraception section of the app.

Condoms are the best option for protection against infections and pregnancy. You also need to use a condom (for STIs).

You shouldn't ever switch from anal to vaginal sex without using a new condom. Your butt is full of bacteria.

Barriers and lube

Start slow and talk to your partner about what they like. You might want to incorporate some manual sex or oral sex to get things warmed up before getting into penetration.

To have the best experience (and not have any nasties after the fact), use a barrier (like condoms) and lube (for comfort).

Vaginas can produce their own lube, but everyone is different. Some people get wet, other people less so. It's still a good idea to have some lube around to make things more comfortable. Lube can make things more pleasurable and might just become your new best friend.

Water-based lube is best for vaginas. It won't disrupt the natural pH of the vagina and will prevent condoms from tearing.

Lube will also prevent chafing, which is much more pleasurable for everyone.

If you're thinking about other types of sex, you can read about oral sex, manual sex or anal sex in the app.

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Manual sex

Using your hands can be fun!

It can be at the start, middle or end of your sexual experience, or it can be the whole thing (mutual masturbation).

Hand jobs, fingering, whatever you want to call it. There's no right way or best way to do it. Everyone likes their own flavor.

Safer manual sex

No condoms this time.

But if you're putting your fingers inside someone, it's a good idea to trim your nails, and wash your hands thoroughly. It will be far more comfy than sharp edges of fingernails. Clean hands helps prevent unwanted infections.

Your best protection is latex gloves in stopping the possibility of an STI. Especially if you touch your genitals and then touch someone else's or vice versa. If you do that, remember to change your gloves every time.

Lube makes everything better

If you're having a good time, but things feel a bit chafe-y or dry, it might be a good idea to use some water-based lube. It won't hurt the latex on the gloves, and will make it feel smoother and nicer for everyone. While it might be tempting to use saliva, your spit can contain germs and STIs like gonorrhoea.

If you're thinking about other types of sex, you can read about oral sex, anal sex or penetrative sex in the app.

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Masturbation: things to know

Sometimes the idea gets around that masturbation is just for people who aren't having sex. Masturbation is a healthy way to get to know your own body, what feels good for you, and what may make you uncomfortable.

Here are some of the most common questions about masturbation answered. Pass it on!

Do people of all genders masturbate?
Yep, they do. It doesn't matter what your gender is, and masturbation is a way to learn what your own sexual response is. Not only is this important to know so you can pleasure yourself, but it will help you be able to communicate better with a sexual partner about what you like (if that's something you plan on doing).

Is it bad for my health?
Quite the opposite! Not only is it a great way to explore your own body, but masturbation also releases endorphins in your brain, which relieves stress and pain. And if you're taking the time to relax and enjoy feeling good, masturbating can also be good for your self-esteem.

How much is too much?
What you think is 'too much' may depend on how you feel about masturbation in general. If you were raised to think that it's 'shameful' then your 'too much' may be a different level than someone relaxed about it. Chances are, your masturbation habits are perfectly fine! But if you get the urge and can't wait until you're somewhere private, or you're doing it so much you stop doing other things that are important to you, then it might be an indication you need to back it off.

How do I know if I'm masturbating right?
Masturbation is usually defined as massaging, rubbing or touching the genitals in a way that feels good to the individual doing it. All of our bodies are different, and our masturbation styles will reflect this. Don't worry about what you've seen in porn and movies. If you're in a private place and touching yourself in a way that feels good to you, that's all you need to worry about!

Can I masturbate when I have my period?
If you feel like it! There's no medical reason why you can't and in fact, masturbating may relieve menstrual tension and relax your body. It's a good idea to remove tampons or menstrual cups first if you're going to insert your fingers. Or you may choose to focus on the external part of the clitoris. And maybe put a towel down first or masturbate in the shower if you're worried about stains.

Can masturbation help me enjoy sex more?

Masturbation is a way that you can learn what your own sexual response is, which may help you communicate your desires and what you do and don't like to any sexual partners you have. However, it's important to remember that there are other key factors to enjoying sex, like feeling ready for it! Your level of enjoyment, whether your boundaries and consent are feeling respected, is also important.

Is it bad to masturbate if you're in a relationship?

No, it's not. Your body is your own, and you are entitled to give yourself pleasure. It doesn't mean you are unfaithful or that you enjoy sexual activity with your partner any less.

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Anal sex

If you're curious about butt stuff, you've found the right section.

First of all, get the other person's consent. It's totally ok if you're just not that into it, or would like to try but feeling really anxious about it.

If you don't feel ready, or it hurts, you can pause or stop at any time. Remember sexual consent can be withdrawn at any time.

Safer anal sex

Safer sex is essential. Even though you won't get pregnant from anal sex, you can still get STIs. You can use:

  • an external condom on a penis,
  • a dental dam if you're using your mouth, or
  • a glove if you're using your hand.

Using a barrier also means less clean up afterwards. Just throw it away! And remember -- don't use the same condom, glove, or dam on another part of your body or on someone else's body.

You shouldn't ever switch from anal to vaginal sex without using a new condom.

Slow and steady and plenty of lube

Anuses (butts/bums) don't produce lube, so you should always use some to make it more comfortable for your partner if you want to try it (just keep in mind porn can make acts appear more enjoyable and common than they might be IRL).

The important thing with anal sex (or any sex really), is to go nice and slow, check in with each other and use lube.

Copyright Oh Joy Sex Toy

Start slow and small, and then build up as you feel more comfortable and start to relax. It's normal to feel discomfort, but if it starts to hurt, stop.

Silicon lube can be best for butts. Don't use oils, moisturiser or other things instead of lube, as it might damage the condom/glove and cause it to break.

It's normal to be a bit messy

Using condoms and other barriers will help keep the mess minimal, but sometimes a towel or some prep for your butt can also help.

If you're thinking about other types of sex, you can read about oral sex, manual sex or penetrative sex in the app.

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Sexual consent 101

Sexual consent is when people of age negotiate, communicate and agree on if and how they will be sexual together. If sexual permission is not obtained, the offending partner can face legal charges.

It doesn't matter who you are, your ability, or whether you're single, in a relationship or married. All people who engage in sexual activity need to give consent, and there are also legal ages, so make sure you check how old your partner is.

But what does sexual consent look like? Here are a few key points to keep in mind.

You're free to choose

If a person involved in a sexual activity feels pressured or coerced to say yes or take part, that's not consent. When sexual activity is consensual, everyone involved has equal power in the decision making. Consent doesn't sound like: "I'll go to the party with you if you give me a blow job" or "if you want to prove you're serious about our relationship, you'll do anal with me".

The choices are genuine and enthusiastic.

Everyone involved has to want to be doing it! Why would we want to have sex with people who aren't into it? This means listening and taking note of how someone is communicating consent to you. Do they seem uncertain, or is their body language withdrawn? If so, it sounds like you might need to stop and take a minute to ask them if they want to keep going. And if you're the one feeling unsure, check out the next point.

You can withdraw consent at any time.

Just because someone has given consent doesn't mean they can't change their mind. Part of being a good sexual partner is being ready for the other person to say no, or have second thoughts. And if someone doesn't feel safe or respected about withdrawing their consent, then guess what? That's not consensual sex.

Saying yes to sex does not automatically mean 'yes' to all types of sex, including anal sex, so remember to communicate throughout the act and make sure you are both having a good time.

Honesty is hot

Number one life motto: liars don't make great lovers. Always be honest with your sexual partners. If two people consent to sex and agree to use a condom or barrier protection (like dams), one partner is deceptive and doesn't use one? Yep, you guessed it. Not consensual.

Check-in, check-in, check-in

If someone has given consent to make out in your room, that doesn't mean they've permitted something else like oral sex. Consent has to be ongoing! That means you check in with each other before each new sexual activity. And just because you've got naked with someone on one occasion doesn't mean they give consent to sex in the future. Check-in every time!

Consent is part of sexual pleasure.

If everyone involved is enthusiastic about what's happening and you're practising safer sex, then chances are, everyone's going to have a much better time! Listening to each other and practising communication means sex or sexual activity can be an important way to connect with someone.

But this doesn't mean sex won't ever be weird.

Look. Even when everyone is enthusiastically consenting, sometimes sex is just a bit awkward. Body parts are tangled up, someone falls off the bed, and the other person rolls over onto the lube, making the rest of the sexy session a squelchy cold sheet mess. It happens; sex is weird sometimes. Be prepared to laugh and remember it's not always like it is in movies.

There's some legal stuff too.

Check it out here or visit Youth Law Australia for more information.

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The legal stuff

Sexual consent isn't just about respect and communication; we also need to understand what the law says about consensual sex. The below information is based on Victorian law; if you are based elsewhere, please check your state's age of consent.

How does the law define sex?

In the state of Victoria, the legal definition of sex includes anything that involves a penis touching a vagina, anus or mouth. It also includes putting an object or a part of the body into contact with a vagina or anus. Sexual touching is touching a person in a sexual way, like touching another person's vagina, penis, anus or breasts.

What does the law say about sexual assault?

If someone has sex with you or sexually touches you without your consent or you are under age, this is a sexual assault which is a crime and they can be charged. If you start having sex with someone or engage in sexual touching with them and you change your mind, but they don't stop? That's also sexual assault.

If you're asleep, unconscious, or so affected by alcohol or drugs that you can't agree, it's still sexual assault. If someone threatens to touch you sexually without your consent, this is also a crime.

Find more information about sexual assault support here

Am I old enough to have sex?

The law has strict age limits for having sex; this is called the age of consent. If they break these laws, police can charge a person, even if the younger person consents to the sex. The law is the same for same-sex and opposite-sex couples.

Under 12

If you are under 12, a person can't have sex with you, touch you sexually or perform sexual acts in front of you, even if you agree.

12 to 15 years old

If you are 12 to 15, a person can't have sex with you, touch you sexually or perform a sexual in front of you if they are more than two years older than you, even if you agree.

The two years between the ages are calculated to the exact date. If you are unsure, check your birth dates.

16 or 17 years old

You can have sex with most people your age and older than you *.

A person caring for you or supervising you, like a teacher, youth worker or foster carer, can't have sex with you, sexually touch you or perform a sexual act in front of you, even if you agree.

18 years and older

People over the age of 18 can consent to have sex with anyone else over the age of 18. They can also have sex with someone 16 and 17 as long as both people agree. However, they can't have sex with someone under the age of 16*. Even if you are both within the age limit, you both still need to agree to have sex. If one person doesn't agree, and the other person has sex with them, this is a serious crime.

*However, it may not be considered a crime if they honestly believed you were 18 years or older.

The above information was taken from Victoria Legal Aid's "Am I Old Enough?" booklet. You can find it here

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Is it consensual if we're both drunk?

Ok, so a quick reminder: the legal drinking age in Australia is 18 years old, and recreational drugs are illegal.

Some people may drink or use illicit drugs to relax and feel comfortable about sex. Society is generally a bit weird when it comes to talking about sex, so it's no wonder some of us are anxious about it.

But while being under the influence of alcohol might make people more relaxed about sex, consent is much harder to obtain when you are.

Being affected by alcohol or drugs makes it harder to know if someone's giving consent.

Sexual consent should be given/and or obtained verbally so that everyone is on the same page. Under the influence of alcohol or drugs, our ability to tune into what the other person is communicating to us and understand them is severely impaired, particularly if they are also under the influence. So make sure you are both of sound mind and can clearly provide verbal consent, i.e. not blind drunk or unconscious.

Your capacity to give consent may be impaired by alcohol or drugs.

When we are affected by alcohol or drugs, we may lower our inhibitions and be prone to poor decision-making. Remember to be careful and tell a friend your intentions before you start to party; friends are not just there to keep your hair back; they've got your back.

Both you and your partner may experience a reduced capacity to communicate, depending on the effects of alcohol or drugs. Reactions to drugs and drinking may vary from person to person, but generally, you won't have access to your entire range of communicative tools if you're under the influence.

Some laws consider sex, consent and being intoxicated

In Victoria, if a person is asleep, unconscious, or affected by drugs and alcohol, they can't agree; this is sexual assault.

When it comes to sexual consent, you want to ensure that everyone involved is on the same page, and alcohol can make that tricky.

Check out Sexual consent 101 for more consent advice.


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Contraception

Contraception are ways to prevent pregnancy. Regardless of your gender identity, if you have a uterus and ovaries and have sex that involves a penis and sperm, there is a risk of pregnancy happening. People may also use contraception for other reasons, like managing heavy period symptoms.

If you have a penis, the best thing you can do is use a condom. Condoms are the cheapest and most easily accessible form of contraception. Plus, they also prevent against sexually transmissible infections. Win, win! You can buy external condoms from supermarkets, pharmacies, or get them free from sexual health clinics like Sexual Health Victoria.

Contraceptive Resources

If you have a uterus and ovaries, there are a few different options that you can choose from. What works best for your friends may not be the best option for you and you might choose a method based on the type of sex you're having, existing health issues or your level of comfort. Condoms are the only form of contraception that protects against STIs, other methods don't. If you're trans, it's important to remember testosterone and oestrogen/progresterone on their own aren't effective forms of contraception.



To find out more about your contraceptive options, check out our free downloadable booklet.

Contraceptive Resources

If you live in Melbourne, you can contact Sexual Health Victoria's clinics here.


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Withdrawal (pulling out)

Did you know pulling out as contraception fails as high as 20% of the time?

Now that is not good odds. This should not be your go-to contraception method if you do not want to get pregnant; it also does not protect against STIs.

What is withdrawal (pulling out)?

Withdrawal is when the penis is withdrawn (pulled out) of the vagina before cumming.

Withdrawl is not recommended as an effective method of contraception.

The withdrawal method is riskier for those under 25yrs, as this age is when the body is usually at its most fertile.

How effective is withdrawal?

This is one of the least effective contraception methods, failing about one in five times!

Withdrawal may help lower the chances of getting pregnant than cumming into the vagina. However, withdrawal is an unreliable method to protect you from putting a bun in the oven.

Here are a few reasons why pulling out might not work,

  • Pulling out takes a lot of willpower; it is like turning a movie off at the crescendo, not easy.
  • Pre-cum (think of this as a preview to the big show) typically isn't felt when ejaculated, and any live sperm in the vagina can result in a pregnancy.

If you are thinking of having sex for a second time, make sure you wash up, sperms might be on the penis, hands, near the vagina, or other parts of the body. If the sperms are still viable, it is still possible to get pregnant if they are transferred into the vagina.

Withdrawal does not protect from sexually transmissible infections (STIs).

If you think you would like to take an emergency contraception pill as your plan B, you can read more about it here.

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Your contraception options

Alright, so you don't want to be pregnant? Contraception is your answer. There's a few options to choose from, and it can be a tough choice.

But remember - no method of contraception is 100% effective. Methods that last a long time are the most effective because you don't need to remember to take a pill or use something every time you have sex.



Contraceptive
implant

Reversible
99.95% effective at protecting against pregnancy
Lasts up to 3 years
Does not protect against STIs
Find out more about the implant


Intrauterine
device (IUD)

Reversible
99% effective at protecting against pregnancy
Lasts up to 5-10 years
Does not protect against STIs
Find out more about IUDs


Contraceptive injection (Depo)

Reversible
96% effective at protecting against pregnancy
Injection every 12 weeks
Does not protect against STIs
Find out more about the Depo


The Pill

Reversible
93% effective at protecting against pregnancy
Taken daily

Does not protect against STIs
Find out more about the pill


Vaginal Ring

Reversible
93% effective at protecting against pregnancy
New ring every 4 weeks
Does not protect against STIs
Find out more about the vaginal ring


Progestogren only pill (mini pill)

Reversible
93% effective at protecting against pregnancy
Taken daily
Does not protect against STIs
Find out more about the mini pill


Condoms

88% effective at protecting against pregnancy
Must be used every time

Does protect against STIs
Find out more


Diaphragm (Caya)

Reversible
82% effective at protecting against pregnancy
Reusable, but must be used every time
Does not protect against STIs
Find out more about the diaphragm
More detailed information can be found in our contraception option booklet.

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The condom broke/they didn't pull out/I missed a pill.


AKA, I had unprotected sex, and now I am FREAKING OUT. We get it. You had everything figured out, and then what do you know? Contraception fails, condoms break; this is real life! Fortunately, in Australia, we have something called emergency contraception or EC. One of the main types of EC is the emergency contraception pill or "morning-after pill". Here's what you need to know about it.

How does it work?

The EC pill prevents or delays the ovaries from releasing an egg.

How do I take it?


You need to swallow the EC pill as soon as possible after unprotected sex. You can take it up to four or five days after unprotected sex, but it depends on the type of EC pill you take. Have a chat with your pharmacist or doctor, or nurse for more information. If you have unprotected sex again, you may need another dose. If you're already pregnant or taking certain medications, the EC pill won't work.

Where do I get it from?

You can buy the EC pill at a pharmacy, and you don't need a script, Medicare card or healthcare card to get it. The price varies depending on the type of EC pill you get and the pharmacy prices, but it's around $15 to $40.

What happens at the pharmacy when I ask for the EC pill?


The pharmacist needs to ask you some questions to ensure the EC pill is safe for you to take. They do this for most medications people ask for. Some of the questions will be about your menstrual cycle, any health conditions you have, how many hours it's been since you had unprotected sex, if you could be pregnant, and if you are on any other medications.

For this reason, it's best to visit the pharmacy in person. They will ask these questions at the pharmacy consulting counter, but they may also have a consulting room if you want more privacy. The pharmacist will explain to you how to take the EC pill before you leave.

What if they don't have the EC pill?

Most pharmacies will have it in stock, but if they don't, they need to refer you to the nearest pharmacy that does.

A pharmacist will only sell the EC pill to the person intending to take it, so don't send your friend or partner to buy it because the pharmacist cannot sell it to them, only you.

Do I need a parent or guardian with me to get it if I am under 18?

If you are under 18, the pharmacist will decide whether you are a "mature minor", which means they will determine if you understand what you are asking for and how to take it correctly.

What would stop them from selling the EC pill to me?

If there is a risk you are pregnant or if it has been too long since you had unprotected sex, the pharmacist may refer you to a doctor or sexual health clinic. They may also do this if you have a medical condition or take another medication that could interfere with the EC pill.

No one, including a partner or parent, can demand you take the EC pill; this is a decision only you can make. A pharmacist may not sell the EC pill to you if they believe you are being forced to take it by another person.

What other types of emergency contraception are there?

The non-hormonal copper intrauterine device (IUD) can also be inserted into the uterus and be used as emergency contraception. It's a small plastic device with a copper wire wrapped around the frame. A doctor or nurse needs to insert it into the uterus, which constantly releases a small amount of copper. It affects the way sperm move and survives in the uterus, stopping sperm from meeting and fertilising an egg. IUDs also change the lining of the uterus, which makes it difficult for a fertilised egg to stick to the lining to start a pregnancy.

How do I use the non-hormonal copper IUD as emergency contraception?

The copper IUD needs to be inserted into the uterus by a trained doctor or nurse. If you're using it for emergency contraception, you need to have it inserted within five days or 120 hours after unprotected sex. The non-hormonal copper IUD is more than 99 per cent effective as contraception, and once it's inserted can last five to 10 years, depending on the brand of IUD you get.

I'm trans, and I'm taking testosterone. Can I still use emergency contraception?

Yes. Always check with your pharmacist, but trans men and non-binary people with a uterus and ovaries taking testosterone should be able to use oral emergency contraception and the copper IUD for emergency contraception.

More information on emergency contraception


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I think I'm pregnant

If you've made a beeline for this section of IRL, then it's highly likely you may be feeling anxious right now, which is understandable. An unplanned pregnancy can be a source of deep anxiety for lots of people, but you do have options and we're going to talk you through them. Ready? Ok, here we go.

Before anything else, you need to confirm that you are pregnant. If you've had unprotected sex (penis in vagina, or even penis near vagina) and you think you might be pregnant, you need to do a pregnancy test. You can buy a urine test (usually a stick you pee on) at the pharmacy or supermarket. You can also see a GP or nurse at your local community health or sexual health clinic. Keep in mind, it's best to do a pregnancy test around the time your period is due. If you test too early, you may get a false negative result, which means the test will be negative, even though you are actually pregnant.

If you've had unprotected sex in the past five days and don't want to be pregnant, you can access emergency contraception like the EC pill or the copper IUD. Find out about emergency contraception

Yep, I'm definitely pregnant check out this section.

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Pregnancy options


If you are pregnant, you have three options:

I'm confused about what to do

For some people, deciding what to do about an unplanned pregnancy is simple. For others, it's more complicated. It might help to have someone supportive to talk to, that you trust. It could be a counsellor or health professional, but it might even be your partner, friend, or a family member. Remember though, that it is your body and your decision.

Pregnancy counselling



If you decide you want professional counselling, the counsellor should never direct you to a decision. Their job is to give you accurate information about all the options available to you so you can decide. This is called un-biased and non-directive counselling.

At Family Planning Victoria, we offer pregnancy choices information sessions with a nurse. They will give you accurate, non-biased and non-directive information about all your unplanned pregnancy options and support you to make your own decision.

I'm going to continue the pregnancy

If you choose to go ahead with the pregnancy, you'll need to see a doctor or nurse about your health, childbirth options, and for a referral to a hospital and other support services. You can read more on our website.

If you're considering abortion, find out more here

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I want to have an abortion. How does it work?

Medical abortion

This is also known as the abortion pill. It's an alternative to surgery that is low-risk and doesn't have to be done at a hospital or clinic. In Australia, you can take the abortion pill up until you are nine weeks pregnant. You take two types of medication called mifepristone and misoprostol. Your body needs high levels of progesterone to keep a pregnancy. These medications block progesterone, soften the cervix and help the uterus push the pregnancy out of your body, like a very heavy period.

More information about medication abortion

Surgical abortion

A surgical abortion is a low-risk surgical option that can be done from 12 to 24 weeks of a pregnancy at some private clinics or hospital. You'll be put under sedation and the doctor will use a gentle suction tool to remove the lining and contents of your uterus. A surgical abortion is day surgery, and you can leave the clinic or hospital after the procedure is finished.

More information about surgical abortion

We also have a list of abortion myths to put your mind at ease

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Get smart about STIs and BBVs

Sexually transmissible infections (STIs) and blood-borne viruses (BBVs) can affect anybody, no matter your gender, your genitals, or what type of sex you have.

Not all STIs present with symptoms. If you are having sex, get tested regularly, it is fast, easy and can help protect you from potential infertility, future pain and illness.

Some infections can be cured, some will cure themselves and some stay for the rest of the person's life. They may not be fun, but there is no shame in getting an STI or BBV! The good news is that there are things you can do to protect yourself and your sexual partners from getting an infection.

How are STIs and BBVs spread?

STIs are mainly spread by having unprotected sex with someone who has an STI. The infections are usually passed on through sexual fluids like semen (cum), vaginal fluids, and anal fluids.

With BBVs, 'blood borne' means that the infection is carried in the blood. BBVs are mainly spread when the blood of someone with an infection, goes into your bloodstream, for example if a used needle that has blood on it sticks into you.

Some BBVs are also STIs. For example, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can be spread through blood to blood contact and sexual fluids.

How can I protect myself and my partners?

You can lower your risk of getting an STI or BBV by having safer sex. Safer sex means using barriers like condoms, dams or gloves for vaginal, anal and oral sex. If you're sharing sex toys, you'll need to use condoms on them if you can and change the condom for each person using the toy. Condoms aren't 100% effective so you also need to get tested regularly. If you think you're at higher risk of contracting HIV, you may need to use pre exposure prophylaxis or PrEP. Find out more about PrEP here.

You can also find more information on barrier protection here and safer sex communication tips here.

What can I do if I think I have an STI or BBV?

If you think you might have an STI or a BBV, you need to get tested as soon as possible. You can do this at a Sexual Health Victoria clinic or you can book a doctor's appointment. Most of the time it is a pee test, a swab or a blood test. Many STIs can be easily treated if found early, so even though it may feel scary, try not to put off booking a test.

It's a good idea to stop having sex until you get the test results, and to not share any equipment that can pass on blood into your body or someone else's body.

What should I do if someone I've had sex with is diagnosed with an STI or a BBV?

Read more about talking about STIs and BBVs with a partner

STIs and BBVs

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What happens at an STI test?

The doctor or nurse may ask you some questions before doing the test. These might include:

  • The type of sex you have
  • The last time you had sex
  • The genitals of your previous partners
  • What kind of protection (like condoms and dams) you use.
The doctor will then suggest the tests you should have, but you have the right to ask for any STI or BBV tests you want.

To test for STIs and BBVs, you may be asked for:

  • A urine (pee) sample
  • A blood test
  • A genital swab
  • A physical examination if you have symptoms

The cost of clinic appointment will be different depending on where you go:

  • Some clinics will bulk bill your appointment if you have a Medicare card and/or Health Care Card.
  • Some clinics will ask you to pay a Gap Fee. This means that you will have to pay for some of the cost of your appointment.
  • If you do not have a Medicare card, it is likely that you will have to pay the full cost of the appointment
You can find out more about our clinic costs here.

Find out more about barrier methods that reduce your risk of STIs next time

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How do I talk about STIs and BBVs with my sexual partners?

Talking about STIs and BBVs with the people we're dating or casual hook ups can feel intimidating and overwhelming. But practicing your your STI and BBV communication skills shows care for your partner and yourself, and gives you an opportunity to talk about other sexual boundaries you may have.

How do I bring up STIs and BBVs before I hook up with someone?

Plan what you're going to say and if you're nervous about it, tell the person! Frame the conversation in the context of you caring about their health. It might sound like:

Hey, I feel anxious to bring this up but I care about you and it's important to me. How would you feel about getting an STI test together?


Before we get naked I just want you to know I got an STI test two weeks ago and I didn't have anything. When was the last time you got tested?


I've been diagnosed with an STI or BBV. How do I let my sexual partner/s know?

Letting your sexual partners know you've been diagnosed with an STI or BBV is important, so they can get tested and minimise the chance of spreading the infection. It can be tempting to avoid the tricky conversation! But if the situation was reversed, it's likely you'd want to know so you could get treated quickly.

Most people prefer being told in person, so calling or texting them or meeting with them to tell them are a couple of options.

For people in Victoria, Melbourne Sexual Health Centre has a website called Let Them Know. From this site, you can email or text the people you need to notify, and there is an option to do it anonymously. Let Them Know can only notify people for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, mycoplasma genitalium, syphilis and trichomoniasis.

It might sound like:

Hey, is this a good time to call? I've just found out that I've tested positive for chlamydia. I'm letting you know so that you can go and get a test. I can text you a link to a fact sheet about it so you can get some more information.

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The sticky bits: vaginal discharge


My period is gross


Checking under the hood: taking care of foreskins


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The sticky bits -- vaginal discharge

Firstly, let's start with, vaginal discharge is normal, not just normal, but super helpful!

It is there to help protect the body from infections and help make sexual experiences more pleasurable, so be thankful. You may notice the discharge changes about the middle of your cycle, where the discharge becomes thicker and more like the consistency of egg white, do not freak out; this is just part of ovulation.

Ovulation is when the body has released an egg, and you become more fertile, so the body produces a thicker discharge that can help with pregnancy, it is just the body doing its job, so there is no need to worry. If you are using hormonal contraception such as the contraceptive pill or hormonal IUD, your discharge will be thicker, which means your contraception is working (i.e. preventing pregnancy).

Avoid using soap or body wash to clean inside the vagina; this can wash away all the good bacteria which keeps it clean (and could give you unwanted results like yeast infections). Instead, use a pH adjusted wash for sensitive skin. Many brands are available, such as Cetaphil®, QV®, Dermaveen®, Aveeno®, Hamilton® to keep you feeling fresh, but remember only to use it externally. Vaginas are self-cleaning (something in this world has to be), so just let them do their thing and be kind to it.

If you notice a change in smell, colour, pain or bleeding or anything out of the ordinary, it could be an infection, so make an appointment (trust us, we see it every day, no biggie). The faster you get onto any infections, the easier it is to treat, and you can stop worrying and get on with your life.

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Is my period normal?

So you're riding your crimson tide again *sigh*.

You thought you knew everything there was to know about your period, but did you know blood clots are normal and many people on their period get them?

This might be more common than you think; clots look sort of like stewed strawberries (up to the size of a one-dollar coin, bright or dark red) and are more likely to be seen at the start of your period. This is nothing to worry about; it's just another thing to add to your life experiences.

If you have clots larger than a one-dollar coin, time to book an appointment and get it checked out; make sure nothing else is going on. Note: If you notice clots and think there is a chance you are pregnant, you need to seek medical help, so head to your closest emergency department. This could be a sign of miscarriage.

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Checking under the hood: taking care of foreskins

Your foreskin is your friend, be kind to it.

Remember to wash regularly by peeling back the foreskin and use soap and water daily. Smegma occurs from a build-up behind your foreskin of bacteria, creating an unpleasant foul milk smell that can get pretty pungent.

Although smegma is generally harmless, you might want to stay on top of that one.

If you experience pain from an overly tight foreskin when hard (which is not as uncommon as you might think) and can happen at any age, see your GP. This condition is called 'phimosis' and can result from irritation under the hood (like an infection or from an accidental tear of the foreskin). See your GP and take action, this is not something you want to deal with for the rest of your life, and there are solutions to help you out.

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Further resources and support

Youth Law Australia

https://yla.org.au/

Unplanned pregnancy

1800 My Options

Sexual assault and family & intimate partner violence

Sexual Assault Crisis Line Victoria

1800Respect

Safe Steps Victoria

InTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence

STIs and sexual health

Sexual Health Victoria

Melbourne Sexual Health Centre

Let Them Know

Better Health Channel

LGBTQI+ support

Thorne Harbour Health

Switchboard Victoria

Q Life

Drummond Street Services

Transgender Victoria

TransHub

Transcend

Mental health

Kids Helpline

Lifeline

Beyond Blue

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Fact Sheets

Arabic لعربية

Sex it's your decision - ممارسة الجنس - هو قرارك (PDF 115KB)

What are STIs and BBVs? - ؟(BBVs) والفيروسات المنقولة بالدم (STIs) ما هي العدوى المنقولة جنسيا (PDF 347KB)

STI and BBV testing - ما الذي يمكن توقعه :(BBVs) والفيروسات المنقولة بالدم (STIs) فحوصات العدوى المنقولة جنسيا (PDF 255KB)

What is the vulva? - ما هو الفرج؟ (PDF 158KB)

Dari درى

Sex it's your decision - مقاربت - تصمیم با خودتان است (PDF 119KB)

What are STIs and BBVs? - کدامند؟ (BBVs) و ویروس های قابل انتقال از طریق خون (STIs) عفونتهای قابل انتقال از طریق مقاربت (PDF 342KB)

STI and BBV testing - آنچه باید بدانید : (BBVs) و ویروسهای قابل انتقال از طریق خون (STIs) تست امراض قابل انتقال از طریق مقاربت (PDF 251KB)

What is the vulva? - چیست؟ (Vulva) ولوا (PDF 159KB)

Karen စှ ီၤ/ကညီကျ ိာ

Sex it's your decision (PDF 198KB)

What are STIs and BBVs? (PDF 219KB)

STI and BBV testing (PDF 252KB)

What is the vulva? (PDF 187KB)

Punjabi ਪੰਜਾਬੀ

Sex it's your decision - ਸੰ ਭ�ੋ ਗ - ਇਹ ਫ਼ੈ ਸਲਾ ਤੁ ਹਾਡਾ ਹ (PDF 450KB)

What are STIs and BBVs? - ਜਿਨਸੀ ਤੌ ਰ 'ਤੇਪ੍ਰ ਸਾਰਿਤ ਲਾਗ (ਐੱਸ ਟੀ ਆਈ) ਅਤੇਖ਼ੂ ਨ ਨਾਲ ਫੈ ਲਣ ਵਾਲੇਵਾਇਰਸ (ਬੀ ਬੀ ਵੀ) ਕੀ ਹਨ? (PDF 656KB

STI and BBV testing - ਲਿੰ ਗਕ ਤੌ ਰ 'ਤੇ ਪ੍ਰ ਸਾਰਿਤ ਲਾਗ (ਐੱਸ ਟੀ ਆਈ) ਅਤੇ ਬਲੱ ਡ ਬੋ ਰਨ ਵਾਇਰਸ (ਬੀ ਬੀ ਵੀ) ਜਾਂ ਚ: ਕੀ ਉਮੀਦ ਕਰਨੀ ਹ (PDF 525KB)

What is the vulva? - ਵੁ ਲਵਾ ਕੀ ਹੈ? (PDF 407KB)

Somali Af-Soomaali

Sex it's your decision - Galmada: waa go'aanka (PDF 208KB)

What are STIs and BBVs? - Waa maxay infekshinada Galmada layskugu gudbiyo (STIs) iyo Fayrasyada Dhiiga ku Dhasha (BBVs)? (PDF 444KB)

STI and BBV testing - Baaritaanka Infekshinada Galmada laysugu gudbiyo (STIs) iyo Fayraska Dhiigga Ku dhasha (BBV) : waxaad fileyso (PDF 346KB)

What is the vulva? - Waa maxay Vulva? (PDF 248KB)

Tamil தமிழ

Sex it's your decision - உடலுறவு – அது உங்கள் முடிவ (PDF 207KB)

What are STIs and BBVs? - பாலியல் ரீதியாக பரவக்கூடிய ந�ோய்த்தொற்றுகள் (STIs) மற்றும் இரத்தப்போக்கு வைரஸ்கள் (BBV கள்) என்றால் என்ன? (PDF 436KB)

STI and BBV testing - பாலியல் ரீதியாக பரவக்கூடிய ந�ோய்த்தொற்றுகள் (STIs) மற்றும் இரத்தப்போக்கு வைரஸ் (BBV) ச�ோதனை: என்ன எதிர்பார்க்கலாம (PDF 345KB)

What is the vulva? - குய்யம் என்றால் என்ன? (PDF 274KB)

Traditional Chinese 繁體中文

Sex it's your decision - 性愛——由您做主 (PDF 177KB)

What are STIs and BBVs? - 何為性傳播疾病(STIs)及 血源性病毒(BBVs)? (PDF 236KB)

STI and BBV testing - 性傳播疾病(STIs)及 血源性病毒(BBV)檢測: 檢測的程序 (PDF 320KB)

What is the vulva? - 何為外陰? (PDF 209KB)

Vietnamese Tiếng Việt

Sex it's your decision - Tình dục - đó là quyết định của bạn (PDF 498KB)

What are STIs and BBVs? - Nhiễm trùng lây truyền qua đường tình dục (STI) và Vi rút lây truyền qua đường máu (BBVs) là gì? (PDF 499KB)

STI and BBV testing - Nhiễm trùng lây truyền qua đường tình dục (STI) và việc thử nghiệm bệnh vi rút mang trong máu (BBV): điều gì sẽ diễn ra (PDF 607KB)

What is the vulva? - Âm hộ (vulva) là gì? (PDF 471KB)

English

Sex it's your decision

What are STIs and BBVs

STI and BBV testing

What is the Vulva?

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App category: Education
Updated: August 4, 2022
App Publisher: Sexual Health Victoria
Compatible with: iOS 6+, Android 4+, Blackberry 10+ and Windows Phone 8+.
Legals: Terms of use

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