SA Life

Get CityMag in your inbox. Subscribe
June 27, 2024

Talking sexual wellbeing to celebrate Pride Month

Happy Pride Month, Adelaide! Pride Month is all about celebrating the diversity of the human experience and recognising all the ways people can love, identify and exist.

  • Words: Jamie Bucirde
  • Graphic: Jayde Vandborg
  • This article was produced in collaboration with Adult Bliss Erotica.

This week, I wanted to mix it up and be the question master myself. So I sat down with CEO of Shine SA, Holley Skene, and asked her about sexual wellbeing, access to healthcare, the LQBTIA+ youth community of Adelaide and how often we should be getting tested!


Have you got sexual health, sex, love or relationship questions? Send them to to have them answered.

Q: In celebration of Pride month, I wanted to ask you about Shine SA and all the incredible work your organisation does. For those who haven’t heard of Shine SA before, can you describe it and the services you offer?

A: It’s a pride and privilege to be the CEO of Shine SA. Shine SA has been around for 54 years in South Australia. In 1970 we were founded as the Family Planning Association of South Australia and in those days it was about giving women (mostly unmarried) access to the pill, because at the time, that was considered really controversial. Shine SA is a NFP provider for sexual and reproductive healthcare, as well as workplace education, programs, community education and STI testing. We’re really dedicated to providing services across the board that are inclusive, celebrate and affirm our LGBTIA+ community.

Q: If you’re looking for sexual health support in Adelaide, what’re some of the reasons you might come to Shine SA?

A: We do everything here, from free STI testing, contraception, pelvic pain support, we have a youth drop-in clinic on Monday afternoons, we also have a GP service at Hyde Street, HIV care and treatment, gender affirming care, pregnancy care and referral. Basically anything sexual and reproductive related, we try to be that one stop shop. We also have counselling services. It might be that you’ve been diagnosed with an STI or need help communicating that to partners; our counsellors can help you navigate stigma. People come here for questions on gender, sexual orientation, relationship challenges or sexual functioning.

Q: So as an expert in this space, how often should we be getting tested for STIs? I’ve been reading that syphilis is on the rise in Adelaide.

A: Syphilis has been increasing at a greater rate than any of the others. Our key message to everyone is to get tested at least once a year, and every time you change partners. If you’re having lots of partners or change on a regular basis, we recommend at least once every three months. It really depends on what your sexual behaviours are but treat it like a general health check up.

Q: In the nature of Pride Month, what types of facilities do you offer for our Adelaide based LGBTQIA+ community? Where can queer people come to find like minded groups and their community within Adelaide?

A: In our Hyde street location we have a big community space, where any community groups who are LGBTQIA+ or HIV positive can use for free. We usually have around 25-30 groups who regularly use that space!

Q: Why is sexual wellbeing important?

A: It’s part of your overall wellbeing. If your sexual wellbeing is off, then your overall wellbeing will most likely suffer. There’s a big assumption that sexual wellbeing is an adult concept, but it’s actually a lifelong human concept. It encompasses everything – how we feel in our bodies, how we move through different bodily changes in the lifespan and how that evolves from birth to death. It’s integral to well being generally and unfortunately, it’s still really taboo and secretive.

Q: What’re your top 3 sexual health tips?

A: Build sexual health into your regular health routine! That means getting tested regularly through Shine, your local GP, the Adelaide sexual health centre, or your local Aboriginal community controlled health service. Consider sexual health as a part of your overall health and wellbeing.


Read the entire back catalogue of On the Cusp here.

Get to know yourself, your body and what feels good. Spend time thinking about it and practising what language will help you communicate that in a way that feels comfortable for you and your sexual partners. If you know what you like and have already thought about how to discuss it, it’ll make the process in the moment a lot easier for you. It can be awkward talking about sex sometimes in the moment, and you want all the tools to help you have the best experience. Speaking of tools, use quizzes! I love using quizzes in romantic or sexual relationships to get to know each other. For queer people, try AutoStraddle!

And lastly, our Shine SA motto. Safety. Pleasure & Respect. Feeling safe is critical and entering into sexual experiences should feel safe with your relationships as well as knowing how to create that ourselves. Pleasure is something we never talk about and it’s a critical part of sexual health. It should always feel pleasurable and good, and knowing what that means for you can be quite a journey. And of course, respect is critical. Don’t get sensual unless it’s consensual. Make sure you’re comfortable having those conversations about consent, before, during and after sex.

Stay safe, and stay sexy.

Jamie Bucirde has a postgraduate degree in sexology from Curtin University. Her advice is of a general nature and should be taken in the spirit of the column.

Share —