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Analysis and Comment (37)

Technology has done away with the need to insert swabs into the male urethra and speculums into the vagina. Instead, blood and urine are tested. In Tune/Shutterstock

Health Check: the STI check-up – warts and all

Sexuality is a means of pleasure, fulfilment and intimate connection with other humans. But it can also be a source of anguish. So it’s perhaps no surprise that of all the areas in health care, the “STI…
Would sex ed have changed anything? Teenage pregancy via Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

Compulsory sex education won’t reduce rates of teenage pregnancy

Proposals to force all schools to teach a compulsory sex education curriculum from primary level up and to restrict the right of parents to opt-out their children are back on the parliamentary agenda…
Believing sex to be important is the strongest predictor of embodied sexual desire in older women. Candida.Performa/Flickr

Getting on and getting it on: good sex isn’t just for the young

Research tells us that women’s sexual functioning declines after midlife, manifested by reductions in arousal and orgasm, and increases in sexual pain. This is linked to reports of reduced sexual activity…
Testosterone is important for the physical changes that happen during male puberty, and features typical of adult men, such as facial and body hair. Dave 77459/Flickr

Here’s what you need to know about testosterone

Testosterone is blamed for violence in males, implicated in sport scandals, linked to sexual prowess, desired by gym devotees, and promoted as a tonic for ageing. But how many of us really understand what…
Familiar methods. Banana and condom via bajinda/Shutterstock

How far are the British willing to go in sex education?

Britain is not unique when it comes to debating how it should educate children and young people about sex. But the country approaches the subject with a particularly British sense of embarrassment and…
More painful experience. Teens by Shutterstock

All too often, anal sex isn’t about young women’s desires

We often talk about educating young people about consent but what does this mean? Does it simply boil down to teaching young men not to rape? And, if this is the case, it’s a depressingly low bar. Instead…
In most developed countries, including Australia, gay and bisexual men dominate numbers of new HIV infections. Aleksandar Stojkovic/Flickr

Know the epidemic: responding to HIV in three key communities

The number of new HIV diagnoses in Australia remains the highest in 20 years, according to data released today by UNSW’s Kirby Institute. While rates have remained stable over the past two years, the number…
Tongue tied now, chat later. Kissing by Shutterstock

Teenage banter about sexual infections is not a #fail

A recent TV programme on “the secret life of students” followed a group of students in their first undergraduate year at Leicester University, including 18-year-old Aiden who was informed on screen that…
Would a syphilitic Joyce really change the way we read him? Shutterstock/Bepsy

Afflicted or not, James Joyce probed the politics of syphilis

According to Jacques Derrida, “nothing can be invented on the subject of Joyce”. Speaking in 1984, he had in mind the sheer comprehensive power of Joyce’s writing: from the capacity of Ulysses to draw…
If people are talking online, we need to be talking about HIV online too. Jayel Aheram

In the age of Grindr, HIV support needs to get online

Websites and apps such as Grindr and Scruff are booming as a new way for men to meet other men. But the people who seek to inform men about HIV and AIDS are finding they need to think on their feet to…
Today’s global HIV statistics reflect increasingly risky sexual practices. Shutterstock

To curb rising HIV rates, we must target our human flaws

One of the most perplexing risks to public health is human nature. No matter how diligently public health campaigns lay out the facts, we continue to make seemingly illogical decisions. Just look at the…
Discussions of erectile function can be challenging but it’s important for more than your sex life. Tom Small/Flickr

Erectile dysfunction may be more than just a problem in bed

Erection problems are common but they can be embarrassing for men to discuss with partners and doctors. The sales of erection drugs on the internet or billboard advertising are boosted by keeping erectile…
Black economy: regulating sex work is easier said than done. Ian Britton

The Scarlet Isle: the politics of male sex work in Ireland

Both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are taking steps towards new regulations for the sex work industry, principally aimed at better protecting victims of coercion and trafficking. However…
Taking it to the streets: the law makes it hard for sex workers to protect their health. PA

Sex workers need more than condoms and shelters

In the ongoing debate on the law’s response to sex work, it has not been forgotten that sex workers have pressing health needs. However, the debate is still very much focused on sexually transmitted infections…
Kamiar Alaei: ‘It was the right thing to do’.

I was jailed for my work on HIV in Iran, but the tide is turning

Brothers, Kamiar and Arash Alaei were imprisoned in Iran in 2008 for their work with HIV. Under a new government, Iran’s health minister, Hassan Hashemi, has blamed “misinformation and unscientific claims…
Why should women not be in charge of their own contraception if it’s safe for them to do so? anoldent/Flickr

Do we really need prescriptions for the contraceptive pill?

Women using the contraceptive pill currently require a prescription from a doctor and to return once a year to renew it. But recent research suggests the relative safety of this oral contraceptive means…
Most young people expect to engage in a number of risky activities at schoolies. Image from shutterstock.com

Sex, drugs and alcohol: what really goes on at schoolies?

After finishing year 12, more than 50,000 young Australians attend schoolies celebrations, with most ending up on the Gold Coast. Other schoolies (or “leavers”, as they’re known in Western Australia) head…
The writing was on the wall for some in city licensing review. Andy Bell

Police attitude to sex saunas is wrong, bizarre and dangerous

Scottish police were forced to issue a statement that they did “not advocate the banning of condoms” after a BBC report, which ran under the headline “Police ask for condom ban in Edinburgh saunas”, said…
Mandatory condom use is a contested issue in the US porn industry. ClevelandSGS/Flickr

Safe sex vs free choice in the US porn industry

Last week, the Adult Video News (AVN) Media Network opened pre-nominations for the 2014 AVN Awards, known as the “Oscars of Adult”, and announced the inclusion of two new categories: the best safe sex…
‘Hug a hoodie’ as David Cameron would say. ssoosay

Hard Evidence: has life got worse for young people?

Smoking, drinking and hanging around street corners is a common characterisation of a bored, unhealthy, unemployed youth. Life is getting worse for young people, we’re often led to believe, but what do…
Harder times ahead for Pfizer as Viagra patents end. Flickr/kosare

End of an era for Viagra as rivals get ready to raid market

Those for whom Viagra is indispensable might be a little surprised that the ubiquitous blue, diamond-shaped pill was a chance discovery by a group of research pharmaceutical chemists at Pfizer’s research…
Prisoners are having sex whether we like it or not and a lack of condoms affects us all. PA/Barry Batchelor

Prisoners have sex so let them have condoms

The idea of prisoners having sex upsets people; it offends our sense that prison is a place of punishment not pleasure. But sex still happens, maybe more than we like to think. And if it is happening…
An estimated 5.2% of cancers worldwide are caused by the human papilloma virus. Image from shutterstock.com

Michael Douglas, oral sex and cancer – the facts about HPV

Oral sex is often the first of many forays into sexual intimacy we experience as fumbling teenagers. And for many couples, it remains an important – and enjoyable – part of their sexual repertoire. But…
Women whose partners accepted their bodily changes after cancer are more likely to feel positive and sexy. Christophe Karaba/EPA

Sex, sexuality and cancer: let’s break the taboo

Angelina Jolie has attracted much attention for revealing her recent experience of a double mastectomy. But her personal attractiveness draws attention to a neglected aspect of cancer treatment and survival…
Up to 80% of people who contract herpes remain completely asymptomatic. Image from shutterstock.com

Explainer: what is herpes?

When it comes to sexual health, the virus that causes those tingling blisters and angry sores of genital herpes is often the most reviled and feared. Most cases of genital herpes in humans are caused by…
Some people need assistance and support to express their sexuality in satisfying ways. Image from shutterstock.com

Why the NDIS should cover the services of sex workers

Sexual expression is a fundamental part of being human, with most of us able to choose our sexual partners and, to varying degrees, meet our intimacy needs and desires. While not all people with disabilities…
Spermatorrhoea was said to be ‘the most dire, excruciating and deadly maladies to which the human frame is subject.’ Guillaume Duchenne

Spermatorrhoea, the lesser known male version of hysteria

MEDICAL HISTORIES - The second instalment in our short series examines how the spermatorrhoea epidemic changed the scope of medicine. Every period arguably invents its own illnesses, medical disorders…
Starting a conversation about sex early in a child’s education is important. Image from www.shutterstock.com

Worried about the sexualisation of children? Teach sex ed earlier

When should sex education begin for children? According to some parent groups who advised the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), not until grades 5 and 6. Under this pressure…
Around 90% of men with erectile dysfunction have a predominantly physical basis for their condition. Horia Varlan

Monday’s medical myth: erectile dysfunction is all in your mind

It’s perfectly normal for men to have an occasional problem gaining or sustaining an erection. But for some men, these difficulties are frequent and severe, making penetration impossible. This condition…
FIFO sex workers shouldn’t be blamed for rising rates of HIV and STIs. High heel image from www.shutterstock.com

Mining, sex work and STIs: why force a connection?

Can the mining boom be blamed for the rising rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in some states? The Australian Medical Association thinks so, with its Queensland president Dr Richard Kidd…
Raising the handlebars a little compared with the height of the saddle can reduce genital numbing in female cyclists. Bruce Thomson

Cyclists beware! Pressure from seats can do lasting damage

Riding bicycles is undoubtedly good for us: great for fitness, cardiovascular health, and burning off those delicious high-energy foods when we over-indulge. But a range of insidious chronic ailments can…

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