Sexual Health

Did you know…?

  • One-third of grade 9 students and more than half of grade 11 students reported having had oral sex at least once.
  • 19% of grade 9 girls (23% of boys) and 46% of grade 11 girls (40% of boys) reported having sexual intercourse.
  • Almost one-quarter of sexually active young people aged 15-24 report having sex without a condom because they were drinking or using drugs at the time.
  • Manitoba has some of the highest teen pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) rates in Canada.
  • 90% of youth who deliver a baby choose to keep the baby.
  • Teen pregnancy causes many young people to drop out of school.
  • Chlamydia is the most common reportable STI in Canadian 15-19 year olds, accounting for over two-thirds of all cases.
  • Manitoba has the highest rate of Chlamydia and Gonorrhea of all provinces in Canada among 15-24-year-olds.

growing up okGrowing Up OK! supports Government efforts to promote healthy sexuality and safe, caring, healthy schools. This new resource was developed for children ages 9-12 (grades 4-7) and is available in both English and French (Grandir en douceur!). It may support teachers in delivering the Grade 5 and 7 Physical Education/Health Education (PE/HE) sexual health outcomes and support school counselors in working with students. It may also assist parents in teaching and discussing this topic with their children.

For Teens

You have the right to…
  • Feel in control of your body.
  • Understand and express your feelings.
  • Choose how you will express your sexuality.
  • Choose if you will be in a relationship, and what kind it will be.

Things to think about…

  • Set your own limits and feel good about your decision!
  • Know that how valuable, lovable, worthwhile and able you feel, is very important to sexual health
  • Know that having sex is not something to do because everyone is doing it.
  • Know that abstinence is the only absolutely safe way to avoid pregnancy or an STI.
  • Ask yourself, if you are having sex or thinking about having sex,
    • Are you protected from both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections?
    • Is your method of birth control easily available? Can you get it when you need it?

Know the facts - Pregnancy can happen…

  • The first time you have intercourse.
  • While you have your period.
  • Even if your partner pulls out before ejaculation.
  • Whether a woman has an orgasm or not.
  • In any sexual position (even standing up or under water).
  • Even if you do not have actual intercourse (any position that brings the penis in contact with the opening of the vagina can result in pregnancy).

Know the facts - Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI)…

  • Are passed through oral, vaginal, or anal sex.
  • Can travel in blood, semen, and vaginal fluid.
  • Can include both bacterial (Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Trichomoniasis or “Trich”) and viral (HIV, Herpes, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Genital Warts or HPV) infections. Bacterial infections can be cured (using antibiotics) and viral infections are not curable.
  • A person can have more than one STI at a time and can become infected with the same STI more than once.

For Parents

Communicating Tips
  • Be honest!
  • Understand that you are the primary sexuality educator of your children.
  • Know that it is OK to feel uncomfortable.
  • Don’t wait until your children ask questions. Many never ask. Decide what is important for them to know, and then tell them before a crisis occurs.
  • Reward questions – “I’m glad you came to me!” or “That’s a good question!” This will teach your child to come to you with other questions. Also be aware of the question behind the question.
  • Listen!
  • Realize that facts are not enough. Share feelings, values, and beliefs as well.
  • Give clear explanations. Use correct names of body parts and functions.
  • Get to know your child’s environment. Current jokes, slang, TV, and music will provide opportunities to discuss sexuality issues.
  • Talk about the joys of sexuality – Tell your children about loving relationships.
  • Keep the door open – Let your children know that you are available to discuss sexuality.
  • Know where to get resources/facts if you do not have the answers.

For Teachers…

Three General Learning Outcomes (GLOs) that address sexual health…
  • Safety – demonstrate safe and responsible behaviour to manage risks and prevent injuries in physical activity and daily living.
  • Personal and Social Management – develop self-understanding, make health-enhancing decisions, work cooperatively and fairly with others, and build positive relationships with others.
  • Healthy Lifestyle Practices – make informed decisions for healthy living related to personal health practices, active living, healthy nutritional practices, substance use and abuse, and human sexuality.

Some Myths and Facts about Sexual Health Education:



Students in elementary are too young to need sexuality education.

In every subject, children need a foundation in the early years, which is built upon in later years. Children need accurate information appropriate for their age.

If I talk to kids about sex they will experiment.

Children who are well informed and comfortable talking about sexuality with their parents are also the least likely to have intercourse when they are adolescents. Knowledge does not lead to increased sexual activity, whereas a lack of information poses greater risk.

Kids will pick up what they need to know.

Kids are constantly picking messages (from TV, music, peers, etc.), many of which do not promote healthy sexuality.

If I don’t feel comfortable talking to my students about sex, it’s better not to say anything.

It is common to be uncomfortable talking about sexuality. However, you should not let this stop you from educating your students. Find community or public health resources to help you. Talking about facts rather than values is a good way to feel more comfortable. Training will also help you feel more confident. You should also be sensitive to cultural differences when discussing sexuality with your students.

Comprehensive sexual health education doesn’t address abstinence.

Comprehensive sexual health education covers all the options from no sex to protected sexual intercourse to reducing the number of sexual partners. The most effective programs helping young people to abstain discuss both abstinence and contraception.



Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada and Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada. Finding our way: A sexual and reproductive health sourcebook for Aboriginal communities. Ottawa. (2002)

Council of Ministers of Education, Canada. Canadian Youth, Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Study. (2003)

CYS Steering Committee on Adolescent Pregnancy. (1996)

Manitoba Health. Manitoba Sexually Transmitted and Blood-Borne Infections Strategy. (2014)

Region of Peel, Ontario. Healthy sexuality. (2005)

Sexual Education Resource Centre. What is Sex? (2019)

Sexual Education Resource Centre. Talking About Sex. (2019)

Sexual Education Resource Centre. Safer Sex & STIs. (2019)

Sexual Education Resource Centre. How Pregnancy Happens. (2019)


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