RISE Above And Rescue Sex Ed

Sexual health education

Today I am going to discuss something I feel incredibly passionate about, something that I feel is important for all people to have awareness around and that is sexuality and relationship education for young people. It is no secret that there exists a huge lack in the sex and relationship education that is provided to children and teenagers today, with the school system offering the bare minimum of a sex education program for what should be a priority.

How Big Is The Sexual Health Education Problem?

The fact that rates of several sexually transmitted infections have markedly increased over time, as well as the unacceptable rates of sexual violence and assault happening all over the world should be enough to draw attention to the fact that the education that young people are currently receiving is not good enough. These are some of the negative repercussions of a lack of positive sex and relationship education and the extent runs so much deeper than rates and statistics of STI’s and sexual assault. Relationships play such an important role in our overall health and happiness in our lives so knowing how to do them well can mean all the difference between a good and great life.

Most children and teenagers receive education related to sexuality and relationships from parents and school teachers, with the information they gain from this dependant on where they go to school and what their parent’s attitude towards sex is. Now, it is all well and good to leave this education in the hands of parents and school teachers to deliver however when they are not equipped to do so, the consequences of poor sex education can be troublesome.

Talking to parents can be a great way to learn about sex for children and teenagers if their parents have positive views of sex, which unfortunately is not always the case. If parents have negative views and attitudes towards sexuality attached to a history of negative unresolved experiences with sex and relationships, then they are not in the greatest position to impact their children in a positive way. I am not yet a parent but one thing I have come to notice is that the children who grow up with positive views of sex and sexuality have been exposed to parents who are confident and empowered in their own sexuality.

A study completed in 2010 by the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society showed that many school teachers offering sex education in their classes (usually PD/H/PE teachers) felt ill equipped to offer such information to their students, with the majority having no or minimal training in sex education. So despite their best intentions, school teachers can often lack the necessary skills to educate young people on sex and relationships.

Many young people growing up today are exposed to pornography early on in their sexual development (sadly before sexual development for some) and this can have some negative repercussions to what they come to believe about sex throughout their lives.

Pornography displays an unrealistic portrayal of sex, with the clips easily accessible on the internet intended to entertain rather than educate. When young people are exposed to pornography without the awareness of its true intent (i.e. entertainment) they come to believe that the way that sex occurs in porn is the only way. Considering that a large proportion of pornography depicts violence against women, this spells disaster. The actors in porn are having sex in a way that excites the viewer and not in a way that is necessarily pleasurable for them. Pornography does not make for appropriate sex education. Teachers and parents often lack the skills and qualities to teach it effectively so what needs to be done?

Relationship, Intimacy And Sexuality Education Program

A greater emphasis on young people learning about relationships and sex is necessary if we are to see better outcomes for young people. For this reason, I, along with my partner Nic Tovey, have decided to create an educational program specifically for young people to learn skills that will equip them with the confidence to navigate the world of relationships, intimacy and sexuality in a healthy and empowered way. Focusing on and then expanding on the relationship with oneself, this program will teach young people embodied tools and skills that will empower them to make healthy decisions when it comes to sex and relationships.

Relationship, Intimacy and Sexuality Education program
Image: Rise Program

We are running a forum in Sydney, Australia on March 15th to ascertain the desires and feelings of parents and their teenage children when it comes to sexuality and relationship education. We want our Relationship, Intimacy and Sexuality Education (RISE) program to be informed by the very young people we will be teaching and this opportunity gives parents a say on what they feel is important for their children to learn. The event is open to parents of teenagers and teenagers 12-16 years of age. Event details can be found on Facebook’s RISE forum event page and on Adultsmart’s RISE forum event page. I look forward to seeing as many of you there as possible.

It’s all well and good to notice that changes in sex and relationship education is necessary but if we do not take action, we will see no progression in the way that young people are learning about relationships and sex. There is no better time for change then right now!!

Author: Stephanie Curtis – Sexologist, BA Nursing

Meet the newest member to our team of experts. Stephanie Curtis is a sexologist with a huge capacity to care. Involved in spirituality and tantra her articles are professional, articulate and interesting. Enjoy Steph’s writings at the adultsmart sexual wellness and health blog.

Rethinking Infidelity In Loving Relationships

Man cheating on girlfriend

I came across a recent news article detailing a woman who had put out a Reddit post asking readers whether her husband cheating on her was warranted. She explained that they had a dwindling sex life for the year leading up to him cheating, this on top of already mismatched sex drives.

The majority of the comments were swaying on the side of “Leave the bas**rd” and “Cheating is never ok.” It is blatantly obvious that many in society see cheating as an inexcusable and unforgiveable act and it got me thinking about how couples come to know what cheating means for them.

Cheating and monogamous relationships: What does that mean for each individual?

From my experience, it seems it is rarely a conversation that people entering into a relationship have with one another, with many assumptions made in regards to what qualifies cheating in a loving monogamous relationship. It is only when unspoken boundaries are crossed and people feel betrayed that these conversations are had (and even then, sometimes people cannot get past the betrayal so they may not even have the conversation). I am curious as to how realistic or right it is to make such drastic decisions such as divorcing or separating from your partner when they have cheated if you never communicated to them what is and is not acceptable behaviour for you.

Would much of the pain and heartbreak caused by cheating be avoided if the conversation was had early on in a relationship? Could understanding the values and boundaries of your partner from the very start mean that feelings are not hurt from doing something that seems acceptable to you but isn’t to them? And could starting these kinds of conversations early on lead to ongoing healthy communication through the entirety of the relationship meaning cheating is less likely to occur?

Monogamy and, more specifically, cheating is a uniquely fluid concept for each person, with some acts considered acceptable for some while for others they would feel betrayed. Some people consider messaging an old boyfriend or girlfriend for a coffee catch up cheating while others may feel this is perfectly ok yet will see their partner watching pornography as a betrayal. Every relationship is different, with the boundaries of each individual in a monogamous relationship unique.

I believe that for it to work, monogamy needs to be a conscious choice. Today in western culture, monogamy seems to be the default relationship style for the vast majority of people. The problem with this is that these monogamous relationships are usually entered into from an unconscious place. There is often no questioning of what monogamy actually means for each person or why the relationship is monogamous, in fact most people are not even aware that there exist other possibilities.

I don’t believe that monogamy is bad or unhealthy in any way, quite the opposite in fact. I see monogamy as one relationship style that can be amazing for certain people when done with awareness. Monogamy is a beautiful commitment that can be made between two people however does not necessarily suit every person.

Monogamy can be unrealistic for certain people especially if approached in a way that puts a weight of expectations on them to be our everything. One of my favourite professionals in the field of relationships and sex, Esther Perel, said it perfectly when she described the pressure people put on their partner in monogamous relationships;

“Today, we turn to one person to provide what an entire village once did: a sense of grounding, meaning, and continuity. At the same time, we expect our committed relationships to be romantic as well as emotionally and sexually fulfilling. Is it any wonder that so many relationships crumble under the weight of it all?”

Expecting the person we are in relationship with to be our everything can be a huge and unrealistic ask. I see the need for this to change if monogamy is to work for people.

In order to do monogamy in a healthy way, I believe it is beneficial for couples to have an open conversation about what that means for each of them and what cheating means for each of them. Before entering into a committed relationship with someone, you want to know that you both share the same values and morals right? You may want to ask questions related to possible outcomes such as “would you feel betrayed if I contacted my ex-partner?”, “how would it be for you if I went out with a male friend for lunch?”, “are you comfortable with me watching pornography when you are not home?” or simply “what does monogamy mean to you?”

These conversations are really important to have as it helps avoid potential pain and heartbreak in the future. Communication is key in any relationship no matter what the dynamic is so starting a new one with open, authentic and honest communication can make a world of difference.

Author: Stephanie Curtis, Sexologist

Meet the newest member to our team of experts. Stephanie Curtis is a sexologist with a huge capacity to care. Involved in spirituality and tantra her articles are professional, articulate and interesting. Enjoy Steph’s writings at the adultsmart sexual wellness and health blog.

1 Way To Start Sexual Healing Today

Couple dealing with sexual issues

We have physiotherapists to help us get our body back into shape after an injury. We have psychologists and counsellors to talk about any worries and concerns in our lives. We go to the doctor if something in our bodies is troubling us, with a great deal of attention placed on our physical health, mental health and well being. Our sexual health can be an area that is too often neglected, with sexual healing being a recently more open field focusing on the sexual health and well being of all individuals.

Why would someone see a sex therapist/sexual healer?

Our sexuality can be an area of our lives where much of our trauma, wounding and unhealthy patterns lurk in the shadows. These can come up in destructive ways that can but do not necessarily have to do with sex itself. We could be feeling stagnant in our creativity or suffering with body shame or we just keep on attracting “damaged” people to be in a relationship with.  A sexual healer is someone who can facilitate and support us through a process of healing our negative conditioning, sexual wounds and traumas so that we can live a more fulfilling life.

Man reigniting passion
Image: Rose

Who needs to see a sexual healer?

Just to be clear, no one NEEDS to see any kind of healer, however, if you feel like some of the worries or issues in your life relate to sex, relationships or love, you can greatly benefit from this kind of therapeutic work. People who have a history of sexual abuse or trauma commonly seek out this kind of support due to the nature of their trauma, people who are having unfulfilling, abusive or unhealthy relationships may be drawn to work through their issues with a sex therapist and people who are desiring more pleasure and satisfaction in their sex lives can also benefit greatly from this work. Those suffering from any kind of sexual dysfunction such as low libido, premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, vaginismus, and dyspareunia as well as low body confidence or self-esteem can gain a great deal of assistance from a sexual healer or therapist.

What can happen in a session?

No two people are the same so no two sessions will be. Sexual healing sessions are tailor made to each individuals unique needs. They can involve counselling & therapy, working on establishing healthy boundaries & communication skills and bodywork (i.e. massage and touch). With a professional sexual healer or therapist, nothing will ever happen in a session that is not within your boundaries. I stress the importance of professional as it is vital to find someone who is competent and renowned for having integrity. This brings me to the next question…

Sexual healing massage
Image: Massage

How do I know who to go to?

Sexuality is such an intimate area of our lives, with care and attention necessary in order to find the person right for you. There are male and female therapists out there who offer some incredible services in Sydney and across Australia. Women who have sexual trauma involving men are sometimes reluctant to, yet can benefit greatly from working with a male practitioner. To have a safe representation of a man as you heal can be profoundly healing. The same applies for men who may have a traumatic history with women working with female practitioners. It may be a challenge to go into such intimate work with someone of the opposite gender yet it can be very powerful. What is important is you find someone who is trustworthy, respectful and competent. Read testimonials, do your research and ask around. This can be work that is extremely intimidating to start so be kind to yourself and understand it can take some time before you feel ready to dive in. The Sydney Tantric Massage website for those in the area is a great resource for professional practitioners, as well as the Association of Certified Sexological Bodyworkers Website (For Australia and worldwide practitioners). A good practitioner will answer any queries you may have prior to organizing a session – ask as many questions as you feel so that it is clear what it is that will be happening in the session.

Sexually strong woman
Image: Woman pumping her muscles

The right to healthy expression of our sexuality is our birthright as human beings, with many in the world subjected to sexual abuse, discrimination, and suppression. From my experience, diving into healing my sexual traumas and reshifting my conditioning in regards to sex has changed every area of my life. My relationships have become deeper and more fulfilling, my body confidence has skyrocketed and in general, I feel more joy & pleasure throughout my days. I wholeheartedly believe that our sexual health deserves our care and attention just like any part of ourselves.  Once we bring our sexual shadows into the light, we can show up in the world as a freer and more authentic version of ourselves.

Author: Stephanie Curtis – BA. Nursing., Grad. Dip. Sexology

Meet the newest member to our team of experts. Stephanie Curtis is a sexologist with a huge capacity to care. Involved in spirituality and tantra her articles are professional, articulate and interesting. Enjoy Steph’s writings at the adultsmart sexual wellness and health blog.

4 Secret Habits Of A Vagina Weight Lifting Champion

Kegel weight lifter

The female body is nature’s most exquisite creation, with the intricate curves, lumps and bumps of a woman’s form making up a beautiful masterpiece of juiciness. A woman’s vulva is the seat of her femininity, reminiscent to numerous landscapes and objects we find in nature. From flowers and fruit, to caves and trees, female genitalia is everywhere if we so choose to seek it out.

Vulva fruit lookalike
Image: Strawberry

I tend to go on and on about the absolute need for women to take care of their most precious body part and it is for a very good reason. The genitals are a part of the body where many women neglect to care for, with the fact that it goes unseen for most one of the reasons behind this misfortune. Our vaginas, like every other part of the human body, deserve the utmost tender loving care.

Amazing things start occurring when women start paying attention to their pussies, with greater orgasms, improved self-confidence in and out of the bedroom and feelings of joy and pleasure in all areas of their lives. There are many things you can do to ensure a healthier relationship to your pussy, with the following some of the tools I have implemented in my own life that have helped me have a greater connection to my body:

Pussy Gazing

Intrigued? I sure hope so. Pussy gazing is as simple as the name suggests… looking at your genitals! So many women have no idea what is happening between their legs so getting to know their pussy using a mirror can sound really intimidating. Trust me, once the initial nervousness and surprise wears off, you’ll be so glad you did it. Be curious about what you look like, where your anatomy sits and what it feels like to see yourself so intimately. It can be a really exciting and sensual experience for you. Did you know, that there are many different types of vaginas?

Looking at the vulva
Image: Pussy gazing


Flicking the bean, diving for the pearl, beating around the bush. Whatever you want to call it, there is no greater way to achieve pussy appreciation than self-pleasuring. Taking your time to do it slowly and consciously can make all the difference between a good and great experience. Self-pleasuring leads to a greater connection with your whole body as well as a boost of feel good hormones. Combining self-pleasuring with pussy gazing can be super sexy so set up a mirror and get to it.

Masturbation for women
Image: Self-pleasure

Diet And Lifestyle

Your vagina is impacted from a whole range of lifestyle factors. From what you eat to how you exercise, taking care of your general health will see you have a healthy vagina.

Eating lots of fresh vegetables and avoiding processed sugar is really important to maintain the pH balance of the vagina. A vagina out of balance can mean yeast infections develop which are extremely uncomfortable and irritating-so stay away from excess processed sugar to prevent this occurring. Superfoods like Maca powder and raw cacao are known to be potent libido amplifiers so adding these to your diet can really make a difference to your sex life.

Eating for sexual health
Image: Eating chocolate

It doesn’t take an expert to tell you that exercise is good for you – the results speak for themselves when you give it a go. When we have a fit and healthy body, we feel more confident about ourselves and our life. This has a positive effect on how we approach sex and how we see our body. Staying active will see changes to all areas of your life including how you feel about every part of your body (including your vagina). Maintaining good core strength can be great for our pelvic floor muscles, with exercises such as Pilates a great way of doing so.

Woman performing Kegels
Image: someecards Kegel joke

Kegel Exercises

I have spoken to so many women who, as well as unsatisfying sex lives, have a host of physical problems with their vaginas. From sneezing then peeing to vaginal prolapse, a weak pelvic floor can lead to uncomfortable, painful or even dangerous health problems. You’re not going to feel so good about your vagina if it’s causing you pain or discomfort!

I know I go on and on about Kegel exercises but they really are so important. Lucky for all of you tired of hearing about the traditional methods I have a new way of completing Kegels that is super fun and leads to greater results faster… vaginal weightlifting!

For some time, I have been following a woman on Instagram who travels the world taking photographs of her carrying bizarre objects with her vagina – Think an Oscar on Hollywood Boulevard, a glass chandelier in Italy, a pineapple in Bali and a surfboard in California. As well as the fact that these are shot in beautiful locations, Kim Anami’s message is incredibly inspiring. She believes that every area of a woman’s life, from her sex life to her creativity, can drastically change for the better with a strong vagina. Kim is a vaginal weightlifting advocate and expert.

When it comes to the best way to improve your sex life, vaginal weightlifting is the way to go. As if you were going to a gym to exercise your biceps, you are going to achieve greater result from lifting a weight. Sure, moving our arms in certain ways will result in changes over time however the weight really amplifies the effects of the movements. The same principle applies when completing Kegel exercises with our vaginas-lifting a weight will lead to stronger, more powerful results faster. There are a huge range of vaginal weights and Kegel exercisers available in the Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle Centres that are worth checking out.

The list goes on and on however what I have included are some fun and easy ways to find greater love for your pussy. By implementing a few tools and lifestyle changes, it is possible to see the relationship with your body and your pussy skyrocket to great heights.

Author: Stephanie Curtis – BA. Nursing., Grad. Dip. Sexology

Meet the newest member to our team of experts. Stephanie Curtis is a sexologist with a huge capacity to care. Involved in spirituality and tantra her articles are professional, articulate and interesting. Enjoy Steph’s writings at the adultsmart sexual wellness and health blog.

Why Men Really LOVE Being Called ‘Daddy’

Sugar daddy

Babe, darling, love, honey, sweetie, boo, diamond, sweetheart, beloved, god/goddess – the list of pet names in relationships goes on and on. Names such as these are often said in an affectionate way, with most of them a little corny and cute if nothing else. Some names however can cause a bit more of a stir, with no pet name more controversial than a woman calling her male partner “daddy”.

Terms of endearment joke
Image: Nickname Cartoon Pun

I can already tell that some of you are cringing just from reading that. It is a term that causes a big reaction in many people, with numerous debates as to whether it is “normal” or healthy for this to be used in and out of the bedroom. I decided to do some research and find out other’s experiences of this seemingly bizarre name-calling.

Is it ok to be called daddy by your partner? Is there something wrong with people who use this term? And why do people do it in the first place?

An internet search attempting to find peer-reviewed academic literature on this topic proved to be a difficult task as you can imagine, with the only sources of information on blogs and news websites. It would seem that the academics of the world have not caught up with the popularity of this name calling because it is EVERYWHERE on the internet. Internet forums with questions such as “Is it weird to call my boyfriend daddy?” and “I want to start calling my boyfriend daddy. Should I ask him first or just do it?” provided me with an insight into the reasoning behind women’s “daddy” desires.

Sigmund Freud’s theory behind opposite-sex parent attraction, known as the Oedipal complex, would suggest that in early stages of normal childhood development a child has a sexual desire for the parent of the opposite sex and feelings of jealousy and competition with the same sex parent. Despite sounding extremely bizarre, there is definitely proof of complex underlying psychological motivations for the daddy name calling phenomenon, however, I am choosing to stick with exploring the more conscious reasonings behind women’s choices.

Sigmund Freud about daddy
Image: Sigmund Freud statement

One thing that is made very clear in all the articles I came across was that people using this term are not doing so from an incestuous frame of mind-in fact most are extremely insulted when queries around incest come up. The term “daddy” is used not as “father” but in the context of power differentiation between a couple during roleplay or sex.

In the BDSM world, the term daddy represents a dominant masculine figure with a loving, nurturing side. Dominant/submissive relationships between a “daddy” and his “little girl” are less to do with “daddy issues” or incest and more to do with power play. A daddy may discipline his submissive when she does something wrong however has her best interests in mind when doing so. This is much different when compared to a master/slave relationship dynamic where the power play is more sadomasochistic in nature and sees the slave degraded and much less than the master.

Couples intimate kissing
Image: Man kissing woman

Something that I found interesting to see amongst the forums was the term “daddy issues”, with numerous women attempting to justify calling their partner daddy by saying that they don’t have them. First off, whether you were raised by a man or not, everyone carries some kind of baggage associated with their father. Now the severity of that is unique to each individual, with some people holding onto small experiences such as their father missing a soccer match, while others more devastatingly significant experiences such as childhood abuse, abandonment and betrayal. So to say you don’t have “daddy issues” ultimately means that you are unlike almost every other being on this planet, male and female, who has been affected in some way by the presence (or lack thereof) a father figure.

Secondly, I don’t see how “daddy issues” even come into the equation if incest has nothing to do with the reason behind calling your partner daddy. “Daddy issues” seems dis-empowering to me with negative connotations attached to the women who are labelled as having them. I feel that the patriarchal concept that women are doomed because of their fathers needs to be eradicated in order for women to take back power over their own lives.

BDSM collar for daddy
Buy Now | Adult store with collars and leads

In my opinion, I believe that women who call their partner daddy are not needing psychological intervention for this reason. As long as it’s consensual between both people involved and no one is being harmed, what’s the big deal? The use of daddy seems to be an affectionate name to signify a power differentiation in a sexual context. For the majority of people who use this term, it is not associated with any desire to be sexual with ones father like some people may think.

If a woman desires to call her partner daddy and she is interested to explore it, I would suggest communicating with her partner prior to using it to ascertain his thoughts and boundaries around it. It can be extremely edgy for some people to explore so honouring ones limits is paramount. Sexual desires are so complex and unique for each individual. If women find they are being met by a partner who shares their desire, I believe it should be celebrated not condemned.

Author: Stephanie Curtis, BA Nursing. Grad Dip Sexology

Meet the newest member to our team of experts. Stephanie Curtis is a sexologist with a huge capacity to care. Involved in spirituality and tantra her articles are professional, articulate and interesting. Enjoy Steph’s writings at the adultsmart sexual wellness and health blog.