Australia

Recent posts

Genitals in the Wild: Recycling Bin Edition

I was having a lovely walk with my fellow sex geek friend Kimu when I noticed the logo on this recycling bin. I asked her, “How have you not told me your city’s emblem is a vulva?!” It even has asymmetrical labia and a clitoris for goodness sake. Needless to say, this genital-in-the-wild sighting significantly enhanced my morning as well as my opinion of the city of Boroondara. Continue Reading →

MSP interviews Jason Ball, Activist and Gay Football Player

Jason 2

Australians will often tell overseas visitors that Aussie Rules Football, or simply ‘footy,’ is like a religion. It’s rare to find an Aussie who doesn’t passionately support an AFL (Australian Football League) team and team rivalries are deeply entrenched in family and footy culture alike. As with most sports, the professional teams are all male and reflect and reinforce traditional male gender roles. When I read that an Aussie Rules Football player – Jason Ball – had come out publicly as gay (the first ever to do so), I was thrilled to see how it would affect change in this traditional institution. Not only has he come out, he’s also become a passionate spokesperson for eliminating homophobia in the AFL. Continue Reading →

Genitals in the Wild: Fungi Edition

Dandenongs genital in the wild

I recently had the pleasure of visiting the spectacularly beautiful National Rhododendron Gardens, which are just outside of Melbourne near the Dandenong Ranges. While the gardens themselves were lovely, they were sadly void of natural genitals-in-the-wild (at least, as much as I could see). The gift shop, however, yielded much more in that department. Near the artisanal soaps, I saw this collection of porcelain fungi and LOLed at not only their phallic shape, but also at their shadows in the background. I was tempted to pay the $16 to own one for myself, but settled on a photo to share with you all for your filthy-minded amusement. Continue Reading →

New Research on “Promiscuous Cephalopods”

As regular MSP readers will know, I love learning about the fascinating (and sometimes hilarious) sex lives of Australian fauna. Multi-vaginated kangaroos and chlamydia-ridden koalas have a new companion in MSP’s catalog of interesting antipodean animals: the Australian dumpling squid. Dumpling squid rarely miss an opportunity to copulate, but their libidos and marathon mating sessions can compromise their safety. Zoologists at the University of Melbourne collected a sample of dumpling squid and observed their pre- and post-sex swimming endurance in a lab. Since these squid regularly mate for up to three hours, their ensuing post-coital fatigue can leave them vulnerable to predators. Continue Reading →

Upgrade Down Under: Australian Boys Will Get Free Gardasil Vaccinations

After years of only vaccinating young women and girls, the Australian National Immunisation Program will begin covering Gardasil for 12 and 13 year-old boys. The Gardasil vaccine protects against four strains of the Human Papiloma Virus (HPV) – two that cause 70% of cervical cancers and two that cause 90% of genital warts. The types that cause cervical cancer can also cause penile and anal cancers in men, but because those cancers are rarer than the cervical types, girls have been prioritized for vaccine delivery. However, many public health advocates have argued for giving the vaccine to boys not only because sexually active men can get genital warts, but also to prevent them from spreading the cancer-causing strains to young women. Will other countries follow suit? Continue Reading →

Sexual Health Among Aboriginal Australians: An Interview with Kat Byron

The sexual health status in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) communities is a hot topic among public health professionals in Australia, but rarely makes international news. I knew relatively little about Indigenous health before I moved to Australia and was shocked when I learned about the degree of health inequality between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, especially since Australia has a nationalized healthcare system. To shed some light on this issue, I interviewed Australian sex and drug harm reduction educator Kat Byron about her extensive background working with ATSI communities on sexual health promotion. Kate: How did you get started working in Indigenous sexual health? Note: The “countries” listed below represent specific Aboriginal nations within Australia. Continue Reading →

Australia’s Chlamydial Pursuits

As a researcher working in sexual health, I try to keep an ear to the ground with regard to developments in the STI realm. Regardless of one’s personal or professional interests, however, it is difficult to ignore the spotlight that has been shining on chlamydia in recent times. From posters on public toilet doors, to plotlines on Australia’s second-favourite evening soap, one can certainly argue that chlamydia is Australia’s STI du jour. As I am currently devoting my professional life to chlamydia-specific research, I must disclose that the chlamydia fervor is subsidizing my lifestyle. But aside from funding my penchant for fine cheeses and late-night Etsy binges, there are a number of reasons why chlamydia is deservedly the focus of national attention. Continue Reading →

Labia Modification in Mozambique and Australia

In the last month, I’ve heard a couple of anecdotes about changing labial length that I found intriguing. In the workshops I teach on sexual anatomy and physiology, I always like to mention that the length of labia minora varies and that longer labial length has no correlation with sexual experience (a myth I’ve been asked about previously). One of my favorite quotes about natural labia length comes from sex educator Becca Brewer, who said in one of her workshops that “labia minora are like sisters, not twins,” meaning that it’s completely normal for them to not be identical. After a recent workshop I taught, a colleague of mine shared with me that in Mozambique (her home country), women are taught before they get married to lengthen their labia minora. She described how women will gently stretch their labia minora in the hopes of making it longer and better able to “wrap around the penis” and increase both partners’ sensation. Continue Reading →

Where in the World is the Wondrous Vulva Puppet? Sydney Opera House Edition

This photo was taken while my vulva puppet and I were returning to Sydney Harbour on the (ironically-named, in this case) Manly Ferry. I think the side-by-side comparison is appropriate given that the Opera House and vulvas are both compared to opening clam shells. I enjoy art imitating life on a grand scale, especially when it’s vulvar. Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor or follow the author of this post, @katecom. Travel with your own vulva puppet? Continue Reading →

Kangaroos and their Three Vaginas

The incredible diversity of Australian wildlife is one of the most fascinating things I find about living Down Under. Instead of pigeons making noise in the trees outside my urban apartment, there are tri-colored parrots and cockatoos. On a walk yesterday evening, I saw three of these possums in a tree downtown. Oh yeah, and you can see bats flying around above the parks at night. So. Continue Reading →