Part VI: The Sexual Wellness Resources You Can Trust

This is Part VI of a larger resource, The Authoritative Guide to Safer Sex.  

As we have discussed in detail, practicing safer sex is an important part of maintaining your overall health. It may be embarrassing to discuss with a potential partner, but the temptation to avoid a conversation about sexual wellness must be resisted. Misinformation can be equally damaging, so it’s important to fully understand the mechanics of safer sex and the unpleasant consequences of unprotected sex. Sexually active adults should make regular STI screening a part of their normal health regimen and practice safer sex at all times.

If you’d like to learn more about sexual wellness, the following resources may be helpful to you.

AIDS and HIV

    • AIDSinfo: Full coverage of treatment, prevention and research on HIV and AIDS by the National Institutes of Health.
    • Avert: Operated by an international HIV and AIDS charity, Avert features topics such as statistics and treatment information for HIV-positive readers, sexuality and relationship articles, quizzes, games and stories from HIV or AIDS sufferers.
    • Project Inform: Information on treatment options, advocacy and a health info hotline are just a few features offered on this site about HIV and Hep C infection.
    • The Body: This complete resource for HIV and AIDS patients offers testing information, community for newly diagnosed patients and detailed information about treatments and their side effects.
    • NIAID: Another National Institutes of Health website on AIDS and HIV, this resource aims to promote understanding and awareness. Comprehensive information is provided about symptoms, risk factors, testing and diagnosis, prevention and treatment.

Other Sexually Transmitted Infections

    • Herpes Resource Center: The American Social Health Association’s resource center on herpes offers up-to-date information on herpes and referrals to local support groups in your area.
    • CDC Fact Sheets: The Centers for Disease Control offers these comprehensive fact sheets on STIs.
    • WebMD Sexual Health Center: Featuring links to relevant news coverage, photos, treatment options and searchable information sorted by infection, this site provides easily understood facts about sexually transmitted diseases.
    • ISYL: MTV’s It’s Your (Sex) Life webpage, an offshoot of the popular Teen Mom series, provides explanations of STIs, a Q&A section and real-world advice on treatments and testing.
    • NIAID: The National Institutes of Health website on sexually transmitted diseases offers detailed information on all STIs, including current research, diagnostic methods and treatment options.
    • Stress Free STD Testing: Test kits for individual or selected groups of STIs are available for purchase online. Order the test, perform it at home and either take the results to a local lab or send them in for confidential results.

Teen Resources

    • Go Ask Alice: Sponsored by Columbia University, this popular website is a resource for teens to ask questions about anything related to sex and receive answers in a language they understand.
    • Planned Parenthood Locator: Find a facility in your location to access STI testing services, treatment, abortion services and counseling about sexual health.
    • Why Not Ask?: A website devoted to the particular discomfort of having “the talk” with a potential partner, with tips and tricks on how to accomplish your goal successfully.
    • TeensHealth: Featuring separate sections targeted to teens, kids and parents, this resource offers useful articles for guys and girls about STIs, birth control and bodily changes during adolescence.
    • Safe Teens: Covering topics like safer sex, teen pregnancy, relationship issues and drugs and alcohol, this website speaks directly to teens and their concerns about sexual wellness.
    • Iwannaknow: Pregnancy and parenthood articles, mythbusting, relationship advice and LGBTQ-specific information can all be found on this informative site.
    • Scarleteen: Billing itself as “sex ed for the real world,” this website offers a large selection of articles, a Q&A section and a physician locator among its many resources.
    • Sex, etc: Written by teens for teens, this site features honest and accurate information about sex, relationships, pregnancy, STIs, birth control and sexual orientation.

Sexual Assault or Rape

    • RAINN: The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network offers hotline services via the Internet or the phone. RAINN can also link you directly to support services in your area.
    • SARA: The Sexual Assault Resource Agency offers hotline services, legal and medical accompaniment, and free confidential therapy to survivors and their families.
    • Sexual Assault: The U.S. Department of Justice’s resources page lists numerous links to survivor resources and advocacy groups for victims and their families.
    • Feminist Majority Foundation: This resource page offers contact information for victims of sexual assault, including state and national hotlines, campus resources, governmental assistance, survivor support and resources for men.
    • Make the Connection: Devoted to helping survivors of sexual assault while serving in our military, this resource offers valuable information about the effects of this trauma and how to cope.

Pregnancy/Birth Control

    • Planned Parenthood: Plain-English information on what you need to know about pregnancy and how Planned Parenthood can help you, from testing to prenatal care, options counseling and information on the different stages of pregnancy.
    • STAYteen: Links to local health centers, quizzes and polls about current events, videos and games, STAYteen is devoted to teen pregnancy and relevant information.
    • The National Campaign: Dedicated solely to the prevention, awareness and educational issues surrounding unplanned pregnancy, this resource aims to help educators, parents, faith-based organizations and teens themselves with articles and coverage of relevant news stories.
    • Bedsider: This free networking service for birth control offers information on the different kinds of birth control and where to get it.
    • NAPW: The National Advocates for Pregnant Women website focuses on women’s healthcare and the civil and human rights of pregnant women. Special attention is devoted to pregnant women among minorities, of low income or who use drugs.
    • MDJunction: The online support network provides a social media outlet and community for pregnant teens.
    • TeenParents: Providing links to family planning information, prenatal care, infant care and parenting resources, this website offers practical advice and legal assistance to teen parents.
    • Planned Parenthood: Information on the various kinds of birth control, how to use them and where to get them is provided on this page.

Test Your Knowledge

    • What Do You Know?: Test your knowledge about condoms with this quiz from WebMD.
    • How Much Do You Know?: This WebMD-sponsored quiz is targeted toward teens and covers abstinence and birth control knowledge.
    • Do I Need to Be Tested?: Take this quiz from Planned Parenthood if you suspect you have been exposed to HIV, chlamydia or gonorrhea.
    • Sexual Health Quiz: Hosted by California State University Long Beach, this free online quiz tests your knowledge of sexual health specifics.
    • Test Your Sexual Health IQ: This free online quiz can help you test your knowledge of sexual wellness in 10 short steps.
Sexual Wellness in Film
    • The Education of Shelby Knox: A film by Marion Lipschutz and Rose Rosenblatt and winner of numerous prestigious awards including the Sundance Best Cinematography Award.  The documentary follows Shelby Knox’s involvement with a campaign to introduce sex education in her town’s public schools – where abstinence only education is the norm.
    • Wired for Sex, Lies and Power Trips: It’s a Teen’s World: Lynn Glazier’s 2009 documentary investigates the “culture of sexual harassment and bullying” among today’s youth.   York University’s Dr. Debra Pepler states, “It provides an unprecedented glance into the confusing, pressure-cooker sexual worlds of teens…”