You may have seen one of our latest social media posts… Let’s Talk About SEX Baby! We will refresh your memory in case you missed it!
And that’s exactly what we’re doing! You can expect to see more from DAS in this area, we aren’t afraid to have those tricky conversations.
We recently caught up with Kylie (she/her/they/them) who works as a Clinic Social Worker for a publicly funded sexual health clinic. She also works in sexual health contact tracing in social media platforms. Most recently, Kylie has engaged with DAS to help us develop some workshops in sexual health. Watch this space!
We thought we’d take an opportunity to ask her some questions about sexual health and sexual education, aswell as some light hearted personal questions. Take a read and let us know what you think! We would love to hear from you!
So what does a typical work day look like for you?
I provide counselling support to clients relating to sexual health. This includes so many things like support during a new diagnosis, STI anxiety or helping clients negotiate using condoms with new partners. I also work with community partners to try to provide our services and health promotion activities to people who don’t usually like to engage with health due to stigma or misinformation. There really is no such thing as a ‘typical’ day for me in this role, I’m always learning or trying new ideas to help clients in my area the best I can.
Tell us a little bit about some of the work you’re doing with DAS?
DAS came to me end of 2021 wanting to chat about ways to help participants access accurate, safe and inclusive information about sexual health. After many discussions, we decided that this is bigger than sexual health now. We moved this program away from the traditional medical approach on sexual health (being solely about STIs etc) and want to open up the opportunity for participants to learn or discuss other ideas around consent, dating online, sexting, dating in covid, as well as things like expressing your gender identify or finding your people.
We want to give clients a platform to ask questions about things they want to know about, rather than us telling them what we think they should know about. This program will be participant lead, so we created a survey to find out ‘do clients want this program??’ and ‘what do participants even want to know about?’.
I can talk to anyone about chlamydia until the cows come home but is that what people want? Or we can chat about what consent looks like and how do I make sure my partner is giving it? Or we can chat about how you make a dating profile to meet people online and have an online relationship. We know dating has changed so much with Covid restrictions but also people just meet each other differently now with a whole world of possible partners on our phone at any one time.
We want to give participants an opportunity to get this information as the only other resource easily available is the interest which can be a minefield of misinformation or targeted advertising leading to negative experiences for clients.
What are some common ‘myths’ when it comes to sexual health?
That you would know if you have an STI. A lot of the STIs are asymptomatic and there is no way you can tell if a partner has one either
Also speaking of myths, I provided information for a project called the ‘the vulva gallery’ which was based around normalising vulvas and debunking the myths. For people with vulvas, it’s an interesting read or check our their Insta (I don’t get any paid sponsorship for this, I really loved this project)
You can check out The Vulva Gallery here.
Why do you think sexual health is so important?
These topics are important as it recognises all the needs of human beings. Whether people are sexual beings or not, we want to acknowledge the whole person including topics that have been taboo for so long, like gender, sexuality and sexual health. These programs are how DAS is making strides to provide holistic service to clients in topics that have been socially neglected for far too long.
What was your sexual education like when you were in school?
I went to a private catholic school so my sex education was limited. This was a few (15+) years ago though. I remember only learning about pregnancy and very minimally about condoms (as in they existed and didn’t learn how to use them) hot tip: check the expiry and don’t use your teeth to open the wrapper!!!!
Do you think sexual education in school has progressed since you were in school?
Unfortunately with no standardised approach in schools, it’s left to the staff to interpret the curriculum to what they feel comfortable teaching. This does rely on staff having a good understanding of themselves and a comfort discussing with their students. So I would say that I don’t think this has progressed enough. Take the topic of contraception – a more holistic approach would cover unwanted pregnancy as well as topics around STI prevention, discussions on options, how to talk to partners about your thoughts and even how/where to get them. We want to equip our youth with information so they can make their own informed decisions.
Where do you see the future of sexual health and sexual education going?
I’ve definitely noticed a lot of people are meeting partners online now, some meet in person and some don’t. Ideas around ‘technological relationships’. I think we are starting to value these connections more, especially since covid where many people felt isolated and these were potentially the only social outlet we had.
What do you like to do for fun outside of work?
Hmm. I love to ride my motorbike. Having never even learnt to drive a manual car, I got my license and have never looked back. It’s my stress outlet and it’s given me a new appreciation for all the beautiful Awabakal land around us. And my doggos who regularly visit the DAS office (old man Walle, Mr Pig and baby Hippo)
If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?
I mean it would definitely be to have Superman strength.
Seeing how I ride, I wouldn’t trust myself with the power of flight.
I don’t like being cold; so being able to breathe underwater is out cause I wouldn’t go below a meter under.
Wouldn’t want to talk to animals cause I’d be stuck working from home having three dogs tell me they are hungry.
Or maybe the ability to download skills and knowledge like they do on the matrix (Probably a bit of an old reference for young peeps but I would definitely be taking that red pill)
(end of interview)
Thank you so much Kylie! Keep an eye out in your inbox over the next couple of weeks, we will be sending out a DAS Workshop Exploration Survey to find out what topics interest you in this realm. As we mentioned above, we would love to hear from YOU! Do you have any questions? Is there a certain topic you would like us to explore? Let us know in the comment section below or you can email us here email@example.com.