Hydrocephalus Canada

Sexual Health: Activity #1

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Knowledge of Sexual Health

Advances in available treatment for conditions such as spina bifida and hydrocephalus plus shifts in society’s attitude mean that people with these conditions are living a long life. Issues related to sexuality and sexual health play central role during your teen years, just like anyone else except that you may face some unique challenges. The specific nature of these challenges varies greatly among teens with spina bifida. The level of your spina bifida might affect sexual function in your body. You can cope with many of the challenges by getting guidance from your parents, sexual health educator, doctors and by taking care of yourself.

The following activities and information sheets are designed to increase your knowledge around sexual health so that you can understand what’s going on in your body and find the information and support you need to address your concerns.


Activity #1: Sexual Knowledge and Activity

Did you receive any sex education at school/college?  Yes  No

Did your learning include information about:

a. conception (how babies are made)? yes no
b. length of pregnancy? yes no
c. how babies are born? yes no
d. birth control (contraception)? yes no
e. sexually transmitted infections? yes no
f. safe sex and protection? yes no
g. sex and disability? yes no
h. Sexual orientation and gender issues, LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,Transgender)  yes no


Where or from whom did you learn most about sex? Please tick the following   (choose ALL that apply)

□ Parents/ Guardians □ Family
□ School lessons □ College lessons
□ Friends □ Magazines/books
□ Videos/ Films □ Nurses
□ Social worker □ Family doctor
□ From day program Staff □ Picked it up on my own
□ Other □ Don’t know


How would you like to receive more information about sex education? Please tick the following (choose ALL that apply)

□ Parents/ Guardians □ Family
□ School lessons □ College lessons
□ Friends □ Magazines/books
□ Videos/ Films □ Nurses
□ Social worker □ Family doctor
□ From day program Staff □ Picked it up on my own
□ Other □ Don’t know


Are there any other problems related to sex education you would like to discuss?

□ Yes
□ No
□ Don’t know

For additional information and to get answers please visit www.sexuality and U.ca. This site has both written information and video presentations. You can find information on how to protect yourself.

Following are some of the topics found under www.sexuality and U.ca
• Birth control
• Sexuality transmitted infection, disease and prevention
• Sexual health: understand your body, sexuality, sexual identity
• Games, apps and videos

Safety Tips

1. Always have safe sex. This means protecting yourself by knowing what you want and don’t want. Use birth control and and condom EVERY TIME YOU HAVE SEX to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections.

2. There is a difference between good touch and bad touch. If you don’t feel comfortable or think someone is not being appropriate tell them to stop and you can also tell someone you trust like your parents or another trusted adult or someone in your health care team like your family doctor or a nurse.

3. You are entitled to privacy. Health care professionals should be respectful of your personal space during an exam.

4. You are entitled to have a nurse or someone you trust present during any physical exam.

5. Health education in school is important for you. You will learn information on sexuality, pregnancy and safe sex options. Make sure you are included in health education even if you are exempted from Physical Education (Gym) classes. Health is most often taught as part of Physical Education (Gym) class.

6. Most women and men who have spina bifida will have lubrication problems due to lack of sensation and arousal that usually initiates natural lubrication.

If you have decreased sensation in the genital area, be especially cautious as these delicate tissues can be harmed by excessive pressure and friction.  Use plenty of water- based or silicone lubricant.

Both males and females with spina bifida need to lubricate before and during sexual activity. A water based or silicone based lubricant (e. g. KY Jelly or Astroglyde) should be used to avoid injury to the vagina or penis.

7. Discuss taking “the pill” with your doctor. If you are on medication you need to know that “the pill” (oral birth control) may interfere with your medications. It can either make your medication less effective or make the level of medication in your bloodstream too high.

8. If you are considering anal intercourse, it is important to remember that this is very high risk behaviour for transmitting the AIDS virus and other sexually transmitted infections. The penetrative partner must ALWAYS wear a condom.

9. Get to know your body. Find out where your sensitive areas are. Learn to feel good about having sexual feelings. Only participate in sexual acts that make you feel safe and comfortable

10.  All women who could possibly become pregnant need to take a multivitamin with folic acid BEFORE they get pregnant. The recommended daily amount is 0.4mg. If planning pregnancy women with spina bifida should take 4mg (10 times the normal recommended dosage) of folic acid per day (which is only available by prescription form your doctor). LINK TO FOLIC ACID SITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

11.  Think carefully about your partner before having sex as HIV and other  sexually transmitted infections (STI) can be passed on to your sexual partner. Use condoms (polyurethane if allergic to latex/rubber) EVERY TIME YOU HAVE SEX.

It is important to ask questions. Be comfortable asking health care providers AND potential sexual partners questions about sexuality, sex in general, birth control and safe sex.