Our sexual lives are part of our health
We believe that the more we know about sex, the better we will be at securing healthy, pleasurable sexual relationships. We believe that good sexual lives are part of our health and should not be ignored. Sexuality very clearly links culture to health by defining gender expectations, sanctioning or stigmatizing desire, and providing or denying choices and the information necessary to making good sexual choices.
Our Bodies Our Choices program started in 2007, working with HIV-positive women’s support groups to offer positive women a chance to talk about sexuality and sexual health, to learn about our bodies and the ways in which HIV might affect them, and to organize for better services and more respectful attention to be paid to our right to passion. Our Bodies, Our Choices work grew from one HIV +ve women support group to working HIV –ve women’s groups, men’s groups, lesbian women and gay men’s groups, women with disabilities and sex worker groups.
We developed a Facilitator’s Guide that provides guidance in establishing and running sexuality support groups. The guide provides advice for creating a safe space—a comfortable, supportive, educational process, which allows for reflection, sharing, support, analysis, and action. The facilitator’s guide has included ways to conduct conversations topics that would otherwise be termed taboo.
We continue to train and support facilitators to run their own groups. Each group consists of about 15-20 peers. We endeavour to help create safe spaces where individuals can talk about their intimate lives, learn more about sexual rights, health and practice. In our group processes, we talk about rights and services, and we share our experiences and advice around disclosure, abortion, and rape. We share the stories of losing our virginity, learning about sex, masturbation, what makes a good lover, good sex, bad sex, sexual and gender based violence, and circumcision.
We collect questions to doctors in our “Ask A Doctor section” and put together a panel of experts to help answer these questions.