Never dirty to ask about sex, sexual health

Several youth stop by the Opt Penticton sexual health table at Okanagan College's Penticton campus. There were free coloured and flavoured condoms up for grabs.

PENTICTON - Being able to access porn on the internet doesn't mean people are educated about sex.

"There are lots of people having sex but there aren't a lot of (sex) educated people having sex," public health nurse Colleen Maloney said.

She, Kathy Hiebert and other staff with the Opt Penticton sexual health program take questions from how to put on a condom to how sexually transmitted diseases are passed from one person to another. It doesn't matter how old a person is either - wisdom doesn't come with age and even seniors can be in the dark about what happens in the dark.

The pair recently manned a table at the Okanagan College Penticton campus. Hiebert would tell giggling female students walking by they could grab free condoms in a variety of colours and flavours and provide a condom application demonstration.

The shyness is what keeps most people from seeking answers Maloney said.

"There are people who aren't comfortable and who don't know anything about their bodies," she said. "They don't ask any questions and they are afraid to say anything about it."

When people do get over that hump they ask why they are not enjoying sex, why is there pain and what happened to their favourite body parts.

"They'll come in and say, 'I noticed this little bump,' and often it is something normal," Maloney explained.

The Opt Penticton clinic also offers discounted prices on expensive birth control options and explanations on how they work.

Maloney said there's lots of myths people hang on to. Some folks were alive and frisky in 1963 when the birth control pill became legal in Canada but pill education was illegal until 1968. Others will think infections can't be passed if there's just oral sex. Maloney said STDs can easily be transferred through oral sex.

For more information on sex, contraceptives and other topics check out Opt Penticton's website.

To contact a reporter for this story, to send photos or videos, email Shannon Quesnel at, call 250-488-3065, send tweets to @shannonquesnel1 or @InfoNewsPentict.

Opt Penticton administration staffer Kathy Hiebert gives a condom roll-on demonstration at the Okanagan College Penticton campus.
Opt Penticton administration staffer Kathy Hiebert gives a condom roll-on demonstration at the Okanagan College Penticton campus.

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