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Sex & sexual health

Sex and sexuality play an important role in your health and wellbeing throughout your life. Good sexual health means being able to enjoy a regular and satisfying sex life by yourself or with others.

Looking after your sexual health is not just about preventing unplanned pregnancies or sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It’s also about your right to have respectful, pleasurable and safe sexual experiences.

Learn more about sex and sexuality, including signs of a healthy (and unhealthy) sexual relationship and how to enjoy sex throughout your life. We also explore things that can affect your sex life and explain painful vaginal sex, safer sex, STIs, contraception and abortion.

Sexuality is an important part of being human and it’s different for everyone. It includes sexual feelings and attractions, thoughts, preferences and behaviours. Sexuality is influenced by many things. For example, your physical and emotional health, life experiences, cultural background and religious beliefs. Learn more about sex and sexuality, including sexual and gender diversity, things that can influence your ideas about sex and where to find more information. Read more

A healthy relationship involves partners caring for each other and themselves.  Common characteristics of a healthy relationship include respect, safety, honesty, kindness and feeling free to be yourself.  Many people also feel that sexual intimacy is an important part of a healthy relationship. Learn more about healthy relationships, consent, signs of an unhealthy relationship and where to get help. Read more

A healthy sex life is an important part of your overall physical and mental health throughout your life. Learn more about sexual pleasure and different ways to have an enjoyable sex life. Read more

There are many things that can affect your sex life, including your sexual desire, life stage, physical health and emotional wellbeing. Learn more about common issues and things you can do to maintain a satisfying sex life, regardless of your age or life stage. Read more

Painful vaginal sex is common and many people experience it at some stage in their lives. ‘Dyspareunia’ is the medical term used to describe pain before, during or after vaginal sex. Vaginal sex includes sexual activities that involve vaginal penetration – with or without a partner. It’s normal to lose interest in sex if you experience pain. Learn more about painful vaginal sex, including the symptoms, causes and what you can do. Read more

There are many things you can do to have safer sex. Safer sex means more than preventing STIs or unintended pregnancy. It’s also about communication, consent and respect. Learn more about safer sex, STIs, sexual health checks and what to do if you have an STI. Read more

You can use different methods of contraception to prevent pregnancy when you have vaginal sex. You have the right to use contraception and choose a method that works best for you. Learn more about the different types of contraception and their effectiveness. Read more

Having an abortion means you choose to end your pregnancy. Unplanned pregnancies happen to women of all ages and backgrounds. About half the pregnancies in Australia are unplanned. In Australia, people can manage their own health needs and choose what happens to their body. They can also access safe medical or surgical abortion services. But it can be hard to find and access quality abortion services in some areas across the country. Learn more about different types of abortion, laws about abortion, parenting options and where to get help. Read more

This con­tent has been reviewed by a group of med­ical sub­ject mat­ter experts, in accor­dance with Jean Hailes pol­i­cy.