September 2012

Free Counselling Service re-opens!

Men’s Sexual Health is pleased to announce our free counselling service for Men in the Swindon area has re-launched. For a period of time we were without a volunteer counsellor as the previous one gained his qualifications with help from his experience working with our organisation and we thank him and wish him luck in his new career.  Our new support worker Simon Vizard is trained to CPCAB Level 3 (Counselling & Psychotherapy Central Awarding Body) and is currently studying on Level 4 Diploma level. He has already begun working with our service users and we are proud of the work he is already doing. This service is vital to the people of Swindon, providing a space that is completely neutral and confidential. If you feel you could benefit from this free service please call or email us and we would be happy to discuss this further 01793 250951 or

World Suicide Prevention Day

On September 10th it is annual World Suicide Prevention Day and although thoughts of suicide can affect any community and population, it is well researched that the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans) community suffers a higher percentage of attempts on one’s life than that of the heterosexual community.  This can be due to a huge variety of reasons,  struggling to come to terms with their sexuality, being bullied verbally or physically or even both because of being lgbt, family difficulties, school/college/work environment etc.

Please don’t feel alone, there are many people out there who can help and we are one of them, if you would like to chat, or use our free counselling service then do get in touch 01793 250951 or ulternatively you can call The Samaritans 08457 90 90 90

Male abuse & Exploitation

Sexual exploitation and abuse is a terrible issue affecting so many people around the world, but often when it comes to male exploitation and abuse, it is left undocumented in news stories with more focus and reported stories from females, and unfortunately male abuse is more common than most people believe. There many reasons why it is less documented, however its time, more so than ever before to break this stigma and encourage and support men to report such tragic events.

While both female and male abuse victims struggle with shame and stigma, stereotypes about male masculinity often force men to wrestle with unique issues. Men are often seen as in charge sexually and of their sexuality, abuse can really undercut this social stereotype and force silence upon its victim.

There are no reliable estimates of how many people experience childhood sexual abuse. Many survivors keep their experiences secret, so police statistics don't provide good estimates, researchers say. Surveying the population turns up much higher levels of sexual abuse than recorded police reports, but even those studies have weaknesses: Survivors may not feel comfortable disclosing their experience even on a survey. Question wording may affect the responses. Even taking answers via telephone or in person can change people's willingness to answer.

Because of under reporting, it's difficult to know whether there are many differences between the sexual abuse experiences of boys and girls. One study of 226 girls and 64 boys between the ages of 10 and 15 who disclosed sexual assault to a Children’s Resource Centre found that boys are less likely than girls to report the abuse within 72 hours (a critical time period that could have implications for gathering evidence to bring criminal charges).

Boys were also more likely to have been exposed to pornography during the abuse, and to have had pornography made of them. Girls were more likely to have multiple abusers, while boys typically had one perpetrator, often another minor who was older than them. Girls were more likely to say they'd tell a friend first about abuse, while boys listed their mother as their first contact.

But boys and girls who are sexually abused respond in the same ways. They feel fear, confusion and sometimes anger. Both genders are at higher risk for psychiatric conditions including anxiety and depression later in life. And both genders face stigma if they chose to report their abuse.

But for men, that stigma can take on a unique tone. Because guys aren't "supposed to be" sexual abuse victims, they may have trouble understanding that they're being abused. Most perpetrators of abuse are male, so male victims also tend to struggle with issues of sexuality in ways many female victims do not and when perpetrators are women sexually abusing guys, it's just as harmful to the victims, but society is prone to shrug it off as a "Mrs. Robinson" thing.

During research interviews, motivations of the perpetrators of child sex abusers often vary, but there are some common themes, abusers go for vulnerability, most are repeat offenders. Some assault both women and children, because they get their gratification from controlling another person, and contrary to the idea of "stranger danger", most perpetrators know their abusers.

Breaking the silence around sexual abuse and exploitation is vital for both prevention and healing.
If you feel you are being abused or exploited or fear that someone you know is then please get in touch 01793 250951 or call the NSPCC 0808 800 5000

Sexual Health week - STI's on the rise!

This week is national sexual health week, so we here at Men’s Sexual Health would like to draw your attention to the recent statistics published by the Health Protection Agency (HPA). New sexually transmitted infection (STI) diagnoses have increased by two per cent in England in 2011, thats 427,000 new cases, and Young heterosexual adults (15-24 years) and men who have sex with men (MSM) still remain the groups at highest risk. The three biggest rises were, Genital herpes up 5%, Syphilis up 10% and Gonorrhoea up by a staggering 25%

New diagnosis of Gonorrhoea account for 21,000 of the total new cases, and of those, one third were repeat cases and one third was diagnosed alongside another STI.

The largest upsurge in new diagnoses between 2010 and 2011 was seen in Men who have sex with Men (MSM): Gonorrhoea increased by 61 per cent; Chlamydia by 48 per cent; and Syphilis by 28 per cent

Amongst heterosexuals overall rates remained highest in young adults (15-24 years old), accounting for 57 per cent of all new gonorrhoea diagnoses; 56 per cent of all new genital warts diagnoses; and 43 per cent of all new genital herpes diagnoses.

Dr. Gwenda Hughes, head of STI surveillance at the HPA, said: “The 2011 data are a matter of concern regarding young heterosexuals and men who have sex with men. We anticipated some increase in diagnoses due to improvements in testing in recent years, but not on the scale seen here. These data show that too many people are putting themselves at risk of STIs and serious health problems by having unsafe sex. The rises in 2011 demonstrate it is crucial the work to reduce STIs continues. Improving awareness and encouraging safer sexual behaviour through health promotion and education is essential to helping prevent STIs. Coupled with this, ensuring easy access to sexual health services and STI screening is important for controlling the transmission of all STIs and needs to be focused on groups at highest risk.”

To avoid putting yourself at risk of STIs and serious health problems, HPA and Men’s Sexual Health encourage the use of a condom when having sex with casual and new partners.

We also recommend regular tests for those in the highest risk groups. Sexually active under 25 year olds should be screened for Chlamydia every year, and on change of sexual partner.

The other high risk group, MSM, who are having unprotected sex with casual or new partners to have an HIV/STI screen at least annually, and every three months if changing partners regularly.

Getting screened for HIV/STIs can lead to early identification and treatment, as often these infections have no symptoms. In addition, reducing the number of sexual partners and avoiding overlapping sexual relationships can reduce the risk of being infected with an STI.

Chlamydia, one of the most common STIs in young adults, often has no symptoms and can result in infertility. Although the 2011 data shows a four per cent drop in cases of Chlamydia in young adults, from approximately 154,000 to 148,000, this is due to falling numbers of younger adults being screened, and consequently fewer cases being ascertained.

Dr. Angie Bone, director of the National Chlamydia Screening Programme, said: “This is a trend we need to reverse. Our aim is to encourage all sexually active under 25 year olds to get screened every year, or on change of partner, so a hidden infection can be found and treated. Testing is simple, painless and available on the NHS for this group, from GPs, pharmacies, family planning clinics and sexual health clinics.”

If you live in Swindon, please remember you can order FREE condoms and lube from our website, just look for the tab above or to the side of this article.

Also if you would like support, advice with booking an appointment to get tested the please give us a call, we also offer a buddy service where we can attend with you as for some people getting screened/tested for the first time can be an overwhelming experience.