Friday, April 29, 2011

May I Have This Dance?

Slow Dance Party
in support of CSHC

Sunday, May 1, 2011
8:30-11:30 pm
Club Sapien (1140 10th Ave SW)
$8 in advance, $10 at the door

In a society that values multi-tasking and tireless productivity, sometimes we need to be reminded that slow is beautiful. Join us for a change of pace at Calgary's first Slow Dance Party!

Every song is a slow song, so you can sway the night away in the arms of your partner, friends and cute strangers. Keep track of your dance partners with a special Dance Card, and erase your memories of awkward high school dances with an evening of songs selected for maximum slow-dancibility.

Feeling shy? For all the wallflowers, there will be Designated Dancers to help get you swaying, and Secret Mailboxes so you can drop a note to a slow-dancer that catches your eye.

The dancing starts at 8:30 pm, but come early to enjoy a fantastic dinner at Club Sapien.  The Slow Dance Party welcomes slow-dancers of every gender and sexuality.

The Slow Dance Party is presented by We Should Know Each OtherGirlTalk EventsVenus Envy and Club Sapien

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Calgary Sexual Health Centre. Thanks for your support!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Guest Blog: Sexuality and Cancer

By Reanne Booker, Nurse Practitioner, MN BScN
Thank you to Reanne Booker for writing today's guest blog in honour of Daffodil Day.

There is nothing sexy about cancer. I suppose it should then come as no surprise that sex is not always the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks about cancer. However, for individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer, sexuality is often profoundly affected and the subsequent impact on quality of life can be devastating.
Altered sexuality is a seemingly ubiquitous consequence of cancer and its treatment. Often, the cancer itself can directly affect sexuality by impairing function of the parts of the body involved in sexual activity or by altering hormone production that in turn, affects how the sex organs function.  In addition, the various modalities of treatment - surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and hormone therapy - can all affect sexual function. Examples of sexual dysfunction include decreased interest or desire, difficulties achieving or maintaining erections, inability to ejaculate or ejaculation into the bladder, inability to achieve orgasm, painful intercourse and ovarian failure. Further, the cancer and its treatment may induce side effects such as fatigue, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea or neuropathy that may contribute to impaired sexual function. An array of psychological factors, such as body image, self-esteem, altered mood, depression, anxiety, perceived lack of control and fear may contribute to altered sexual function and sexuality. Fertility may be temporarily or permanently affected by cancer or its treatment.
I have been continually reminded that sexuality is an integral part of quality of life and is a fundamental component of what it means to be a human being. Intimacy – physical, emotional or otherwise – connects us one another. Sexuality, therefore, may be as important to an 87 year-old as it is to an 18 year-old.
I have heard that at times, sex may take a back seat to matters concerning life and death but I have also been told that for some, it is during those very moments that intimacy becomes even more important. It also bears mentioning that there are millions of cancer survivors throughout the world and while many of the effects of cancer and its treatment fade with time, changes in sexuality may linger for many years beyond the completion of treatment.
For individuals who have experienced changes in sexuality following a cancer diagnosis and their partners or spouses, support is available. Talk to your health care provider if you would like more information.


Fertility:     [Canadian]     [American]

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Its International Hemophilia Day! Let’s talk Sexuality and Hemophilia

At CSHC, we recognize that sexuality is integral to human development across the lifespan.  Daily, we work towards our vision:  “A society where sexuality, in all its dimensions, is considered a normal and healthy expression of life and everyone has the right and the ability to make informed choices to achieve sexual well-being.”
This includes people with chronic illness – such as hemophilia. 
According to an article by K. L. Parish of the Hemophilia Foundation of Southern California, “As an integral part of the ‘whole person’ with hemophilia, sexuality needs to be considered and understood by those providing the healthcare, in order for them to be available, effective, and comprehensive in bringing about meaningful positive outcomes.”
She points to the biopsychosocial model of medical care for chronic illnesses and the comprehensive care model for hemophilia that consider the interdependence of all aspects of a person:  physical, social and psychological. For example: 
  • pain can interfere with desire and ability to engage in sex, but sexual behavior may help reduce pain
  • frequent hospital visits can cause separations from partner
  • medications can cause fatigue or body changes
  • poor judgment can contribute to poor decision-making under pressure (and failure to use a condom)
These examples demonstrate how sexuality cannot be separated from the experience of hemophilia, its symptoms, complications and treatments. 
Despite its importance, there is a lack of literature concerning sexuality and chronic illness - which begs some important questions:  Are these connections not being made with people with hemophilia?  How do we begin to have these important conversations?  Who needs to be involved?  How do we get over the barriers that exist?
Just beginning the conversation lets the person know that sexuality can be talked about and that you as a service provider or parent can be trusted. 
As Parish proclaims, “Sexuality has a valid place in comprehensive care for hemophilia.  Discussions with health care providers about sexuality offer people with hemophilia an opportunity to be understood and supported in their quest for resolutions and fulfillment.”

Thursday, April 14, 2011

How volunteers help 20,000 more Calgarians make healthy choices

By Talia Kaufman, CSHC Volunteer Coordinator
Being a very small non-profit with a broad long term vision, we benefit from volunteers in a big way. Having a fleet of sexual health experts to deploy anywhere from the Taboo Sex Show to the Seniors Living Fair has let us reach out to literally thousands more Calgarians than we ever have before.
Two years ago the CSHC created a volunteer program to support the agency with its community outreach activities. Since then the agency has benefitted from the energy and support of many amazing people who are dedicated to our cause. These individuals bring with them diverse experiences, perspectives, skills and knowledge, all of which are huge assets to our work. 
Volunteers have strengthened this agency in many ways since its beginnings in the early 70s, and they continue to do so. Currently our volunteer army is comprised of several “battalions” – the Board of Directors, the older adults who are the stars of the Seniors a Go-Go theatre project and the digital story series, and those who support our community outreach work directly in the office and at public events.
Our volunteers bring their sexual health expertise with them wherever they go. Among their friends, within their families, and in their work they are safe people to ask about sexual health. We are grateful to have them as our full time advocates and allies.

Today's blog celebrates our volunteers in honour of National Volunteer Week (NVW).  Each year, NVW pays tribute to the millions of Canadian volunteers who graciously donate their time and energy. This year’s 68th annual NVW takes place the week of April 10 to 16. It is Canada’s largest celebration of volunteers, volunteerism, and civic participation.
Volunteers: Passion. Action. Impact. is the theme of this year’s campaign. It is based on the individual volunteer super-heroes across Canada who dedicate themselves to making their communities better – and Canada a great place to live.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Having a Sex Life while Living with Cancer

Today’s blog is in support of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Daffodil Month which takes place annually each April.

Sex is a way to affirm the love of life. It is an expression of satisfaction gained from being in the present. It expresses the closeness of our deepest relationships and is an important measure of quality of life. 
Sexuality, however, is connected to our overall feelings and well-being.  It can be hard to feel sexy if you’re not feeling well, or if you’re feeling unsure about yourself as a result of cancer. 
But cancer doesn’t mean your sex life has to stop. 
Some people don’t experience any change in their sexual feelings while going through cancer treatment.  And some people find that their sex lives change in some way. The physical and emotional stresses of cancer and treatment might cause you to feel less confident or interested in sex.
Being open and honest with your partner about what feels comfortable for both of you is important – just as it is in any relationship. 
If you find it difficult to talk about cancer and your sexuality, your healthcare team or a counsellor may be able to help.  Our cousellors are available to help with a simple call to 403-283-5580 or email at
Lots of great information and resources are also available online at

Friday, April 1, 2011

The "First Time"

Our latest episode of the “How To Be A Sexpert” podcast talks about “First Times”.

When it comes to sex, the pressure of the first time can cause all kinds of anxiety.   To reduce the stress, it is really important that you feel ready for the experience.  So, before you get into the
heat of the moment, decide if you are ready to become sexually active. 
You might ask yourself, how do I know when I am ready for sex? How do I know what sexual activities I am comfortable with? How will I know what my boundaries are?
The answer to these questions is different for every person.

There is no magical age when a person is ready to have sex and it is a question that may come up repeatedly over the course of someone’s lifetime. Deciding what you feel comfortable doing or “how far” you want to go is a personal choice that you have to make each and every time you become physically or emotionally involved with another person. Having a physical desire to enjoy sexual pleasure is not the same thing as being emotionally prepared for sex with another person.

There is also no rule about how long people should date before getting sexually involved.  As a rule, if you are having doubts, then you are probably not ready for sex with another person at that time.   Only you can decide when you feel ready for sex and what you are comfortable doing. You might be comfortable with certain sexual practices and activities and not with others.

Determine your sexual boundaries before you get involved with a partner and you will be more prepared to have this discussion when you need to. Things may change as your relationship progresses, but thinking about your limits will help to make sure that you don’t give in to peer pressure and end up doing things outside of your comfort zone.

Sex will not always be that “wow” we have always dreamed of, but if you know you are ready to take that step, you feel connected to your partner, and your body is ready, it is much more likely you will have a great experience.
A great resource is a book by Kim Martyn, All the Way: Sex for the First Time.  You can find this, and lots of other great resources at:

Stay tuned … more about the First Time in the next episode of our podcast!