In this Q & A section are questions asked by African youth in Winnipeg about sex, intimate relationships, and sexual health in informal group discussions led by Francess Amara. A variety of answers to each question reflect different perspectives based on the youths’ different backgrounds and life experiences. Some answers were provided by some of the youth from the discussion sessions while the rest of the answers were provided by the Sexuality Education Resource Centre in Winnipeg and other reputable sources such as Klinic’s Teen Talk.
Q: What is a relationship? Sexual relationship?
A: Not all relationships involve two people, polyamory, for example, and the emotional element varies a great deal from person to person as well as depending on the youths’ ages, etc so we want to offer answers to reflect such diversity and also the fluidity of the nature of intimate relationships ( Anthropologist ) .
A: a relationship consists of two people, it is important that each person knows how much the other means to them. In a healthy relationship, both partners are able to express their feelings and respect each other’s boundaries about sex (Naila, 20+ yrs, Sierra Leone).
A: A relationship based on sexual activities. Having somebody that vibe with you emotionally and physically in sexual ways such as cuddling, sex, kissing, etc. ( Pee 20+yrs, Guinea)
Q: When is someone emotionally and physically ready for sex?
A: readiness for sex depends on what kind of sexual intimacy, such as kissing might be something partner (s) feel ready for without having emotional maturity, whereas sexual intercourse is different and then kinky sex is different again( Anthropologist )
A: Deciding if you’re ready to have sex is a big decision that’s very personal. It's important to think it through and wait until you’re sure you're ready. Ask yourself:
∙ Do I have a healthy relationship?
∙ Can I talk with my partner about things that are bothering me?
∙ Do I listen to my partner and share my own feelings about things respectfully? Do they do the same for me?
∙ Am I comfortable saying “no” and “stop?” Will they listen?
(Naila, 20+ yrs, Sierra Leone,)
A: When partners are in a loving relationship such as truthing, respecting, their partner (s) , and are in the mood to have sex (Al.20+yrs Eritrea).
Q: What is
A: Consent means both people are all in when it comes to doing anything sexual. whether it’s kissing, touching, oral sex, vaginal sex, or anal sex. Before doing any of those things, it needs to be totally clear that both people involved want it. That means if you want to do something sexual with someone, you need to ask first. If you don’t ask first before you touch, kiss, or do anything sexual with someone, and they don’t say yes, then you don’t have that person’s consent (www.plannedparenthood.org)
A: when partners give permission to do anything sexual; and if it's not 100% then don’t do anything. Sometimes partners consent to do things and then feel uncomfortable moving further, so if the other person is not interesting in going further you have to stop because they have not consent to it (Al, 20+yrs,Eritrea )
A: Having the freedom and the capacity to consent, is very important. You can’t force someone to consent to anything if they don’t want to. For example, targeting someone who is no longer capable of consenting because they are drunk, or forcing someone to sleep with them simply because they’ve slept together once before is not acceptable.There is nothing wrong with being drunk, or choosing to dress how you wish, or having regular sex. Never assumes that the other person wants to. Yes means yes and no means no ( Naila, 25+yrs, Sierra Leone).
A: When it comes to sexual activities,a person verbal consent can be given directly in loads of different ways. A partner may say things like: ‘That feels good.’ ‘Do it this way.’ ‘Yes! More!’ ‘Keep going.’ ‘Don’t stop! Always stop if you hear your partner say: ‘No.’ ‘I don’t know.’ ‘I’m not sure.’ ‘Not now.’ ‘I’m worried.’ ‘Stop.’ ‘Get off!’ ‘Don’t do that.’ ‘Ouch.’ ‘Not again.’ ‘Do I have to?’ (Al, 20+yrs, Eritrea).
A: In Canada, there are laws about ages of sexual consent: If you are under 12 years old, nobody is allowed to have sex with you. A 12 year old may choose to have sex with somebody who is 12-14 years old (or less than two years older) A 13 year old may choose to have sex with somebody who is 13-15 years old (or less than two years older)
A 14 year old may choose to have sex with somebody who is 14-19 years old (or less than 5 years older) A 15 year old may choose to have sex with somebody who is 15-20 years old (or less than 5 years older) A 16 or 17 year old can have sex with anybody they choose to, as long as they are not in a position of power over them (such as a teacher or a gym coach) In these cases, in addition to the laws about age, it is important that the relationship is not exploitative in nature, and that no one is in a position of trust or power (such as a teacher or gym coach). If you have been sexually assaulted or harassed, know that it is neveryour fault. It is alwaysthe fault of the person who has done the assaulting or harassing ( TeenTalk http://teentalk.ca/learn-about/consent-2/).
Q: How does one prevent STI ? / STD?
A: There isn’t one way answer to this…. abstinence is obviously the safest. Condoms play a huge role in safer sex ( Anthropologist ).
A: Taking steps to protect yourself and your partner from STDs when you have sex is called safer sex. Safer sex helps you stay healthy. STDs are infections that are passed from one person to another during vaginal, anal, and oral sex. They’re really common, and STDs can be dangerous, but the good news is that getting tested is no big deal, and most STDs are easy to treat ( Naila, 25+yrs, Sierra Leone).
A: Use safer sex supplies. If you have vaginal (penis-vagina) or anal (penis-anus) intercourse, you can use a lubricated latex external condom or an internal condom or gloves to protect against STIs. Condoms can also be put over sex toys to prevent transmission. If you have oral sex, using condoms or an oral dam (square of latex) decreases the risk of getting an STI for all partners. A condom on the penis or an oral dam against the anus or the vulva prevents contact with body fluids. If you do not have an oral dam, you can make one from a condom. Carefully cut the condom from the rim to the centre of the reservoir tip, and unroll it. Spread it open with both hands and place it over the area of contact, so your mouth doesn’t directly touch the other person’s body part ( Teen Talk http://teentalk.ca/)
A: Never share needles or syringes, If you get a tattoo or piercing, be sure that you go to a licensed shop, Stay clear headed (SERC http://serc.mb.ca/sexual-health-info/safer-sex-stis/what-are-stis/)
A: Get both partners teatested, and carry protection with you always. It’s best to get tested before having sex to ensure that both partners are clean ( Kubeh, 20+yrs, Sierra Leone)
Q: How does one deal with abusive relationship? E.g . Domestic
A: If you’re in an abusive relationship, you need to get out of it. Breaking up with someone who’s abusive can be really hard, especially if you love them. know that you’re not alone and that you deserve better ( Naila, 25+yrs, Sierra Leone).
A: If you’re unsure about your safety, it’s important to talk to someone. Contact counsellor, family therapy, talk to family members and call 911 if it gets very intense.If you feel uncomfortable, you may have to move to somewhere safe ( Raph, 20+yrs, Ghana).
A: Make a safety plan for yourself. If you decide to end the relationship, try to do it in a public place with lots of people around. If you decide to stay in the relationship, your safety plan could include having a bag packed in case of emergency, having a list of people you can call and safe places to go at any time of the day. The Klinic Sexual Assault Crisis Program in Winnipeg offers support and counselling through their phone line (204) 786-8631 or 1-888-292-7565. They also offer in-hospital support for medical exams, advocacy, legal support, and in-person counselling services ( Teen Talk http://teentalk.ca/)
Q: When to use a condom?
A: You Roll the condom on when your penis is erect (hard) BEFORE it touches your partner’s genital area (vulva, vagina, anus, buttocks, and upper thighs) and wear it the whole time you’re having sex.This helps protect you from STDs that are transmitted through skin-to-skin touching(www.plannedparenthood.org).
A: when you are aroused and your hormones is getting crazy to have sex (Pee, 20+yrs Guinea).
q: Do condom work? What is the best brand and which type of condom is most effective?
A: Yes! Condoms do work! The best brand depends on how expensive the condoms are. But condoms are condoms, you use it to protect you and helps prevent pregnancy and STI/STDs (Kubeh, 20+yrs , Sierra Leone).
A: The best way to make condoms work as well as possible is to use them correctly every single time you have vaginal, oral, and anal sex. That means wearing it the whole time, from start to finish. Make sure the condom is rolled on your penis the right way before there’s any skin-to-skin genital contact (www.plannedparenthood.org).
A: Condoms are designed to be used on their own, and doubling up won’t necessarily give you extra protection. One condom used correctly is all the protection you need. Condoms also come in different sizes, textures, shapes, and even flavors (for oral sex). You can try different types of condoms to find the one that you like best ( Naila, 25+yrs, Sierra Leone).
A: Most condoms are made with latex, but if someone has a latex allergy, there are latex-free condoms as well (including internal condoms). Condoms are 95-97% effective when they are used properly. You can use any brand of condom, but check for the following:
● Make sure the condom has not expired. If it has expired, get a new one.
● Read the condom package carefully. Make sure it states that it protects against STIs and pregnancy.
● Check the package for any holes or damage. If there are holes or damage, get a new one. ( Teen Talk http://teentalk.ca/)
Q: How do you know when you are really ready to have sex?
A: what are your reasons for wanting to have sex? What do you mean by “having sex”? A healthy sex life should fits in with everything you’re about including: your personal values, your school and career goals.You’re the only person who should decide when you have sex and who you have sex with. It’s important that you feel comfortable saying yes to sex. It’s also important that you can feel comfortable saying no. You have the right to say no to any kind of sexual activity, even if you’ve agreed to it before and you also have the right to stop having sex whenever you want. ( Naila, 25+yrs, Sierra Leone).
A: ask yourself:
● Do I know how to protect myself from STDs?
● Do I have condoms and do I know how to use them?
● Do I know how to prevent pregnancy?
● How would I deal with an STD or an unintended pregnancy?
● Am I ready to go to the doctor for STD testing/birth control?
● Have I talked about these things with my boyfriend/girlfriend
If the answer to any of these questions is no, you might not be ready for sex yet.
A: it’s all in stages, and as you get older you start developing different feelings and for some, they might feel ready to have sex and for others they might think that they are ready but in reality are never ready. For some people the feeling to have sext just happends they don’t plan it or think about it (Raph, 20+yrs, Ghana).
Q: How does sex feel?
A: Sex can help you create a connection with another person, and sexual pleasure has lots of health benefits, whether you’re with a partner or not (www.plannedparenthood.org).
A: Feels like the feeling you get when you are eating your favorite dessert ( Naila 25+yrs Sierra Leone).
A: Feels like you are reborn again (A.M 20+ yrs Ethiopia).
A: Feels like you are working out but there is a very satisfying feeling after that is good for the body ( Raph, 20+yrs, Ghana).
A: There’s excitement, passion ( Kubeh, 20+yrs, Sierra Leone).
A: it can be very intense in a very positive way, such as roughness while kissing, and ripping clothes off and dirty talking (Pee, 20+yrs, Guinea).
Q: What is the point of masturbation?
A: Masturbation is normal for some people, and can be a healthy way to learn about your body (Naila, 25+yrs, Sierra Leone).
A: For some people it’s to please yourself ( FeFe, 20+yrs, Nigeria ).
A: Some people do it to release stress (Al, 20+yrs,Eritrea )
A: Some people do get a good sleep (A.M, 20+yrs, Ethiopia).
A: Some people do it to fulfilled their fantasies ( Kubeh, 20+yrs Sierra Leone)
A: Some people do it get warm up for games (sports) (Pee, 20+yrs, Guinea).
A: It can also help you learn what you like and don’t like sexually(Raph, 20+yrs, Ghana).
A: When you masturbate by yourself, there is no risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection or an unwanted pregnancy. There are some easy safety tips you can take into account when practicing masturbation. First, it is best if all objects you touch yourself with, including hands and sex toys, are clean. If you are in a hurry and aren’t sure if your sex toy is clean, consider putting a new condom over it. If you are masturbating and sharing a sex toy, be sure the toy is cleaned thoroughly before being passed to another person (as the sex toy may have the other person’s fluid on it, there can be a risk of STI transmission or pregnancy, depending on the type of sexual activity) (http://serc.mb.ca/sexual-health-info/the-basics/what-is-sex/masturbation/)