How much do you know about counselling and therapy?

Hi Readers!

Since there is some confusion/misunderstanding between counselling and therapy, I’ve prepared a simple guide for you. 

The similarities between counselling and therapy are:

  • Development of a healing, safe and therapeutic relationship between the professional and the individual
  • Effective for children and adults
  • Used to understand a person’s feelings and behaviours
  • Addressing issues with the goal of improving a person’s life

Although there are similarities, there are also some important differences. 

Counselling:
  • Short to medium term process to find solutions for the present problematic situation an individual is experiencing
  • Focused on a specific situation
  • The counsellor provides guidance, support and education to help the person identify and find their own solutions to the problematic situation
Therapy:
  • The long-term process to find a solution to a recurring problematic situation
  • Exploring past issues that may be contributing to the present problematic situation
  • Focused on the bigger picture; how patterns of behaviour are affecting the individual’s life 
  • In-depth focus on internal thoughts/feelings leading to personal growth

I hope this has helped you better understand the difference between counselling and therapy.

Be kind to one another

Julia, Sexologist

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Erogenous zones

Hi Readers! 

Last week we spoke about the Masters & Johnson sexual response cycle. In that article, I briefly mentioned erogenous zones and today we are going to talk about them!

What are erogenous zones? Do we all have them? How do I know what mine are? 

Erogenous zones are located all over the human body. They are an area of the body that has heightened sensitivity, which, when stimulated, may generate a sexual response: relaxation, the production of sexual fantasies, sexual arousal and orgasm. Sensitivity to each varies and depends on concentrations of nerve endings that can provide pleasurable sensations when stimulated.  Touching another person’s erogenous zone is an act of physical intimacy. Whether a person finds stimulation in these areas to be pleasurable or objectionable depends on a range of factors; level of arousal, the circumstances in which it takes place, cultural context, nature of the relationship between persons involved and personal history.

Spending time exploring your own body and that of your partner is a pleasurable way to discover exactly what turns you on sexually and what you really don’t like. 

When anyone talks about erogenous zones, people immediately think about the obvious body parts: breast, nipples, clitoris, penis. Yes, these are sexual areas that are more erogenous than other parts. But there are plenty of other erogenous zones, including but not limited to:

  • Eyelids
  • Eyebrows
  • Temples
  • Lips
  • Feet
  • Shoulders
  • Hands
  • Arms
  • Hair
  • Abdominal
  • Navel
  • The brain

I challenge you to find out what yours and your partner’s are. This can be a great lockdown activity or if you have some downtime during the holidays, explore!

Be kind to one another

Julia, Sexologist

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WORLD AIDS DAY – DECEMBER 1st

Hi Readers!

Every year on December 1st is World AIDS Day. On this day, we remember those who have died from AIDS, we show up to support those living with HIV and we continue to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS.

The objective is to end HIV by 2030! To do this the global community will need to once again defy expectations. Achieving the funding required to end the AIDS epidemic will require renewed commitment, innovative financing and an intensified strategic focus. 

We want everyone living with HIV to have access to treatment that will extend their life expectancy and improve their health. Investments will have to be made by each country, especially those with a high diagnosis rate. 

“Continued investments will be needed to build the capacity of health and community systems to reach the ambitious goal of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030. Importantly, quickening the pace of scaling up essential HIV treatment and prevention services will, in and of itself, result in substantial benefits to broader health systems. In addition to helping sustain the AIDS response, investments in HIV programmes will have the potential to transform national capacity to address other health priorities, such as noncommunicable diseases, maternal and child health, emerging diseases and outbreaks of infectious diseases.”UNAIDS

Reports from UNAIDS : The number of people living with HIV in 2030 could rise to 41.5 million if treatment and prevention services are kept constant at the 2013 level (current coverage). Conversely, if ambitious targets are met by 2020, the number of people living with HIV in 2030 would decline to 29.3 million. Much greater emphasis will be needed on community service delivery. According to recent consultations with countries and experts, 95% of HIV service delivery is currently facility based. 
To optimise efficiencies, UNAIDS projects that community-based service delivery will need to be ramped up to cover at least 30% of total service delivery. Not only will community service delivery reduce costs, but by bringing services closer to the people who need them, community service delivery will also improve service uptake.

To help raise awareness, in the next couple of weeks, you will find awareness videos to purchase in the shop section. These videos are great for teachers and parents who would like to raise awareness with teenagers and young adults, support group facilitators, community engagements workers please find activities related to HIV awareness on the shop page. 

Be kind to one another.

Julia, Sexologist

** We are here to help you grow. To improve, maintain and restore your sexual health.
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Parents of trans* children

Hi Readers!

In this week’s article I would like to focus on the needs of the parents of trans* children. We mostly focus on the child going through a transition and the impacts and effects it has on their lives – and rightly so! They are the ones that have to deal with a lot of opinions (which they did not ask for), looks, questions, etc. But we also need to think about the parents of these children. They too will get those looks, questions, opinions, etc. They also have needs and will want and need to be supported. 

If you have a friend or family member going through this transition, keep these tips in mind as your friend or relative might not be ready to speak to a Sexologist or Psychologist yet, but they will really appreciate your support. And if you, reader, are a parent of a trans* child, know that I am here for you.

When they’re ready, these parents will want to talk through the experiences and prejudices they are facing as they go through this journey with their child. Lend an ear. Listen to them, hear what they are saying. You will learn so much about what a parent and child are going through during this time. This may also be helpful if you want to be an ally and explain to others that are around this family how they can help rather than being judgmental. 

If you are not equipped with this information, you may want to help them find the information they need about trans*, the different terms, information and clarifications on the steps there child will be going through, deconstruct and demystify all the myths around trans*. In the UK, Mermaids has existed since 1995 to support trans and gender-diverse children.

Parents may want to have discussions with the school and other environments their child may come across to make sure it is a smooth transition and that it is a safe environment for their child. 

Parents of trans* children may feel a sense of guilt, questioning their parenting skills, etc. They will want to talk about their own feelings regarding this; people’s judgement, gaze, questions, concerns, etc. There will also be a stage when they will talk about their child’s future, how they see their child, etc. All you need to do is be supportive and listen. Be present! Show up for your friend or relative.

All parents react differently. In some cases, one of the two parents may be in complete shock and may not want to hear, participate or accept any of this and it can be an additional barrier for the parent and the child. 

When a child is going through a transition, the parents also have to deal with questions from family members and friends and they often find themselves explaining what’s going on repeatedly. This can be tiring and frustrating. So, if you are a family member or friend of parents of trans* children, please be respectful. Give them space. Let them know that you are there for them (if you are actually there for them and not just wanting information…) Just knowing that they have a support system will help a lot. 

There will be a grieving phase as they are losing a child and gaining another. Even though that child may still like the same things, have the same personality, it is not the child that they brought into the world. It is all part of the process. 

And don’t forget that even during all of this and while working through their own feelings, questions and emotions, they will have to support their child and be with them through their process. 

If you are a parent of a trans* child and would like to talk, please contact to set up an appointment. 

If you need any additional information, please contact me on depetrillojulia@gmail.com

Be kind to one another!

Julia, Sexologist

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World Menopause Day – October 18th

Hi Readers!

If you follow Julia Sexologist on Instagram, you have already seen part of this article. I am adding the link and abstract of the White Paper the International Menopause Society published for the 2020 awareness day. Happy reading!

October 18th, 2020 is World Menopause Day. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness of menopause and the support options available for improving health & wellbeing. This year’s theme is Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI).

POI happens when a woman’s ovaries stop working normally before she is 40. Many women naturally experience reduced fertility when they are about 40 years old. They may start getting irregular menstrual cycles as they transition to menopause. Sometimes, it can start as early as adolescence. POI is different from premature menopause. The cause could be natural or because of a disease, surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. With POI, some women still have occasional periods. They may even get pregnant. In most instances of POI, the cause is unknown.

The International Menopause Society has publishes a White Paper. The following is the Abstract of the White Paper: 

The aim of this International Menopause Society White paper on Premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) is to provide the latest information regarding this distressing condition. The impact of POI has far-reaching consequences due to its impact on general, psychological and sexual quality of life, fertility prospects and long-term bone, cardiovascular and cognitive health. Progress in fully understanding the etiology, diagnosis and optimal management options has been slow thus far due to the complexity of the condition and fragmented research. Recent advances in epidemiological and genetic research have improved our understanding of this condition and randomized prospective trials are being planned to determine the intervention strategies, which will optimize quality of life and long-term well- being. The International Menopause Society has commissioned a number of experts at the forefront of their specialty to define the state of the art in the understanding of this condition, to advise on practical management strategies and to propose future research strategies. It is hoped that a global task force will subsequently be convened in order to formulate a consensus statement across key societies, to accelerate date collection and analysis of a global POI registry, and to facilitate progress in the key defined areas of research.

Read more here.

For more information on World Menopause Day, visit https://www.imsociety.org/index.php 

Be kind to one another!

Julia, Sexologist

Julia, Sexologist Blog

We are here to help you grow. To improve, maintain and restore your sexual health. To help keep this blog going, any contribution will be helpful.

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Sexual Orientation

Hi Readers!

Today’s blog post is all about sexual orientation. We will look at the definition as well as different terminology.

What is sexual orientation? It is the term used to describe an individual’s sexual, psychological and emotional feelings of attraction towards another person. In other words, sexual orientation is a person’s affection and sexual attraction towards other people.

Before we look at sexual orientations, I would like to explain Heterosexism. This is the assumption that everyone is heterosexual and that this sexual orientation (heterosexual) is superior. For example, asking someone who identifies as a boy, “Do you have a girlfriend?” “When are you going to bring a nice girl home?” You know what I am talking about…. Be neutral when asking these types of questions, for example: “Do you have a special someone?” “Is there someone at school or at work that interests you?” These questions are open-ended and neutral and will show the person you are asking that you are open minded and don’t have a heteronormative mindset. We need to be sensitive and aware that some individuals, young or old, may be questioning their sexual orientation or might be unsure of their sexual orientation. Being a neutral and inclusive friend or family member, can make the person feel at ease and feel comfortable to be themselves.

Children, teenagers and adults who get to the stage of wanting to tell someone about how they are feeling want to be able to speak to someone who will not judge them and will remain silent until they are ready. In most cases, the individual will choose someone they know who is an Ally. Being an Ally is someone, regardless of their own sexual orientation, who supports the human, civil and sexual rights of sexual minorities.

We also know and hear the term Queer. This is an umbrella term used by some to describe members of the LGBTQ+ community. The term has been reclaimed by members of the community from previous derogatory use but some members of the community may not wish to use it due to its historic connotations. Queer is also linked to 1990s Academic Queer Theory and for this reason, as well as is reclamation, is seen by many as inherently political. When Q is seen at the end of LGBTQ+, it typically refers to queer and, less often, questioning. (Brook, November 2019). The term QPOC/QTIPOC, stands for Queer People Of Colour or Queer, Transgender, and Intersex People of Colour. Queer people of colour experience intersecting oppressions based on race, gender, sexual orientation and other factors.

Let’s look at other terms of sexual orientations:

  • Heterosexual: A person who is physically and emotionally attracted to someone of the opposite sex. 
  • Homosexual: A person who is physically and emotionally attracted to someone of the same sex
    • Gay: this word refers to both male and female who are attracted to the same sex. Although this word is most used for men. 
    • Lesbian: A female who is attracted physically and emotionally to other females. 
  • Bisexual: A person who is attracted physically and emotionally to both male and female.
  • Pansexual: Someone who is emotionally, sexually, and/or physically attracted to others regardless of gender identity.
  • Polysexual: Someone who is sexually attracted to many genders. 
  • Asexual:  Someone who experiences limited or no sexual attraction, interest or desire. (You can read my blog post on Asexuality here) 
  • Allosexual: Someone who experiences sexual attraction, desire or sexual interest directed at other people. The opposite of asexual.

There are two terms that may be confusing to people who think that if a man has sex with another man, they must be gay. The answer is No. The term is MSM, Men who have Sex with Men. Some men do not identify as being gay. They just have different sexual practices. This term is also used for women. So, WSW, Women who have Sex with other Women but do not identify as lesbian. They just have different sexual practices.

I hope this article has helped better understand the some different terminology.

If you have more questions please feel free to contact me on depetrillojulia@gmail.com. I will be more than happy to chat with you.

Be kind to one another!

Julia, Sexologist

Julia, Sexologist Blog

We are here to help you grow. To improve, maintain and restore your sexual health. To help keep this blog going, any contribution will be helpful.

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Talking to children about consent

Hi Readers!

Do you like fries? I love fries! I promise this is relevant. Today we are going to talk about consent; more specifically, why it’s important to teach children about consent from a young age. I will give you some tips on how to do it.

Consent is when someone is explicitly agreeing (by choice) to an experience, whether it is sexual, touching, kissing or hugging. Every person has the freedom and capacity to make that choice.

So… going back to my F-R-I-E-S.1Consent has to be:

F reely given (the person doesn’t feel pressured, coerced or obliged to say yes);

R eversible (the person can change their mind in the middle of the experience and that doing so is their right);

I nformed (knowing all of the facts before agreeing to something);

E nthusiastic (the person is happy to say yes, there is no confusion or doubt);

S pecific (the person is agreeing to something specific; if there is something else involved they must explicitly agree to that, too).  

Now that you know how important consent is, you should think about this framework every time you give consent and feel confident and enthusiastic about saying yes. But, if you have answered no to any of the statements above you should not be giving your consent as you probably don’t know enough about the situation or don’t feel comfortable.

Clearly, explaining F-R-I-E-S to toddlers and very young children may not be that easy. I suggest you try explaining it to them as simply as possible; you know your child, children or your classroom best. Kids also learn through experience, so giving examples and going through this more than once will be beneficial.

Respect a child’s wishes when it comes to hugging, kissing, cuddling and tickling. The only exceptions are in matters of safety; for example, if a child needs to be restrained from hurting themselves or others. The big example here is ensuring that they are not forced to hug or kiss anyone, even grandma.

Children need to choose their level of contact based on their level of comfort. While this may sound outrageous to some, as we usually greet people (especially grandma) with a hug and/or a kiss, why should we force children to say hello in this way or do anything else if they do not feel comfortable?

To do so is to teach a child that a familiar person can touch them even if they don’t want them to and could lead to a child being unsure of what to do in an inappropriate situation. This completely goes against the F-R-I-E-S concept and the definition of consent.

If a child doesn’t want to greet someone with a kiss or a hug, teach them to ask for a high-five or a fist bump. And if that still makes them feel uncomfortable, a wave and a smile is perfectly fine, too! As long as your children are respectful and kind to others, does it really matter?

It is normal for children to want their own space sometimes and children are also allowed to set their own boundaries.

It is important to teach children the correct language for their body parts. I know it can feel embarrassing but using code words with you child (usually said in a lower voice) will in turn make you child feel embarrassed about using the appropriate words.

We should be breaking the stigmas surrounding body parts by using their actual names. This also avoids any misunderstandings, especially if they need to tell an adult that something happened to them.

It is important to teach children that their bodies are their own and that no one has the right to touch them unless they ask for help. For example while toilet training, children may need help wiping their bum. It is important to start a habit of asking the child “would you like some help?” Look, I get it, most of the time it’s easier for an adult to clean up as the child may make more of a “mess” but this is how we learn, right?

Even if it is something as simple as adjusting a piece of clothing or cleaning their face because they have something on it, ask them first! Empower your child to make that choice. Obviously if they are harming themselves or someone else, you need to act fast! Use common sense.

Even though you shouldn’t have to, as a parent, you may find yourself having to explain to your friends and family that you are teaching your child about boundaries and consent if your child chooses to greets them with a high five. Might I suggest you send them this post and I’ll explain it to them for you.

Teaching the importance of reporting

You must teach your children that if someone violates their body, touches them inappropriately or crosses their boundaries, it is not their fault and that they need to tell an adult. Explain why it is important by going through the F-R-I-E-S concept.

These are lessons and reminders that need to be given often, consent is not a one-and-done concept. Many children know that they should immediately report to an adult they trust. That being said, it is important to continue having these discussions with your older children and teens as they may need reminding about what is not okay and who they can speak to about a violation of their privacy, body and boundaries.

Please take a few minutes to watch this video about consent for kids (and here’s one for adults too) and share it with your kids, family and friends. It is very easy for kids to understand this video but they may have some questions or you may wish to quiz them to make sure they understood what all this means.

If you have any more questions please contact me via email at depetrillojulia@gmail.com

Be kind to one another!

Julia, Sexologist

 

 

 

1Planned Parenthood https://www.plannedparenthood.org/

Asexuality

Hi Readers!

Today’s blog post is about a specific sexual orientation: asexuality. Yes, asexuality is a sexual orientation just like homosexuality, bisexuality, heterosexuality, etc. You may have heard people talk about someone being asexual or someone telling you that they are asexual and not knowing how to react, or not knowing what it means or maybe you had never heard the word before.

First, it’s okay not to know something – we learn something everyday. It’s okay to ask someone to explain it to you (just ask respectfully, please!).

Second, if you were too shy to ask for an explanation – do not fear, I am here! This post will explain what asexuality means. I would also like to refer you to a book I read a few years ago called  The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality by Julie Sondra Decker. You can by it on Amazon or in your favourite bookstores. It is a really great book for those of you who are interested in knowing more. The author explains it through her experiences but also presents the facts about asexuality. I though it was a great book to give you… wait for it… as an introduction to asexuality! 

Approximately 1% of the population is asexual, though many experts think that the number may be higher.

Asexuality is defined as limited or no sexual attraction, interest or desire. An asexual person is someone who is not sexually attracted to anyone. This does not mean that asexual people are not romantic, do not fall in love or do not want to be touched. Asexuals can be romantically attracted to other people, be in relationships, be intimate with someone or be intimate with themselves and/or want to masturbate. Asexuals may be in a relationship and may not ask or want to have a sexual relationship, but they may chose to do so in order to please their partner. Just like sexual people, asexual people are all different; they have their likes and dislikes and have their own levels of comfort.

Unfortunately, there is a lack of awareness concerning asexuality and this has an effect on asexual people as they may feel left out, misunderstood and hurt. Bottom line, be kind to one another, do your research, all the information is at the tip of your fingers.

Be kind to one another!

Julia, Sexologist