To celebrate International Women’s Day 2012, WCHM, with the Jean Hailes for Women’s Health, Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT (SHFPACT) and ACT Health Directorate, co-hosted two extremely well attended information forums providing holistic information about Sex, health and your life: What women 40+ should know. Speakers included physiotherapist and fitness instructor for Physical Best Lisa Westlake, who explained the importance of women taking care of their pelvic floor, posture, bone density and balance, and Maureen Matthews, a sex and relationship columnist and founder of sex shop Bliss for Women aimed at meeting women’s needs in a safe, empowering and informative environment. Each session also featured a local women’s health expert, and an expo of relevant ACT service providers including the Women’s Health Service, Women’s Information and Referral Centre, Osteoarthritis ACT, Breastcreen ACT, ACT Health, the Canberra Hospital Foundation and the Heart Foundation.
While all speakers were well-received, the audience was most attentive when Maureen Matthews spoke—her message was clear. For women, no matter what age or relationship status, sexuality is a vital part of healthy living and keeping in touch with the sexual side of life can be important and fun. WCHM research shows that older women want to hear: “Great, you’re 60, start a new sex life!” rather than information about the risks and health conditions associated with older age. Clearly the balance needs to be right, so that women feel comfortable to explore sex at all ages and at the same time can access good quality information about issues such as the impact of menopause, the reality of STIs and how to negotiate condom use. Information forums such as ‘Sex, health and your life’ contribute to this aim.