What have you learned during the COVID-19 pandemic? Perhaps you took up a new hobby or tried different recipes, started to unpack systemic racism, became a zoom expert, or rediscovered something that makes you smile.

One of the many things we have learned through all of this: Sex Sense is absolutely an essential service. It’s also staffed by some of the most amazing sexperts around! 

What is Sex Sense you ask? It's our free, pro-choice, sex-positive, and confidential phone (1-800-739-7367) and email service. Our team of registered nurses, counsellors, and sex educators offer information and resources on sex, sexuality, and sexual health, for people living in British Columbia and the Yukon, Canada. Hours of operation are Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Pacific Time. We are closed on weekends and public holidays. Think of us as the 411 of everything sexual health-related!

We asked Robin, one of our Sex Sense team members, to give us an overview of what it's been like on Sex Sense since the impact of the pandemic to give you a bit of insight as to just how amazing this service is!
Support Sex Sense

Since B.C. went into COVID lockdown, we’re pleased to report that Sex Sense has maintained full-service hours and been an accessible resource in a time when so many health services have been limited or shutdown.
We have noticed a few trends surfacing in our Sex Sense calls and emails over the last few months.

ANXIETY The increased level of anxiety that we have noticed in many callers is palpable. Sometimes anxiety fixates on the most unlikely risk or manifests itself in a feeling of emergency to be seen by a doctor immediately. People panic when they can’t reach a service or clinic that they normally frequent, or worry about if they will be able to access their birth control or an abortion in time. It’s been a stark reminder of how essential these services are, how much we count on timely access here in B.C., and what hangs in the balance if people can’t meet their health needs in a reasonable timeframe. A number of callers and emailers contacted us because they were concerned that their hormonal birth control (which they had been on for quite some time) was now giving them side effects of mood swings, depression, and/or anxiety. While validating their experiences, we often remind these clients that pretty much everyone across the board has been experiencing these “side effects” of living in the time of COVID with our current restrictions. Often they thought this could definitely be the case! Similarly, there was an increase in calls from people struggling with sexual function and pleasure, such as difficulties with erections and arousal. Stress can have all kinds of impacts on our sexual lives.

ABUSE Sadly, the heartbreaking upward trend of domestic violence that we have heard about in the media has been a lived reality for some of our clients too. It is clear that the isolation someone faces while living in an abusive relationship, and the isolation a person faces once they’ve left an abusive situation, is a hundredfold worse under COVID isolation. The dangerous implications of not being able to go to someone else’s home for shelter, having childcare or schooling for your children, or being able to access reproductive care, cannot be overstated. In addition to helping these callers and emailers with their presenting sexual/reproductive health needs, we are also able to connect people to resources for both domestic violence and sexual abuse/assault. Most importantly, we can be compassionate, caring, live people to those in desperate circumstances. 

GRATITUDE On Sex Sense, we have been both humbled and touched by the number of thank you emails we have received and the level of gratitude our callers have expressed to us. In a time when many people can’t get through or access a service they need, the simple act of us answering the phone on the first ring or responding to an email promptly has brought great relief to people. The information and resources, delivered with care and empathy, have eased anxieties. Our knowledge of how and where people can still access services has been invaluable to our clients; they have told us so repeatedly. Offering a listening ear and a kind, warm voice on the other end of the line has been perhaps our greatest service during these challenging times.

With gratitude,

Have Questions? Ask Us!
COVID-19 and the subsequent shutdowns have been tough on everyone. Impacts have been felt far and wide, directly and indirectly, financially and emotionally. We recognize that many folks are not in a place where they are able to support the organizations they normally would financially. For those who are, we are asking you to consider donating to support our programs, like Sex Sense, that have continued throughout the pandemic. If you'd like to support us, click here

COVID Comfort Corner

In keeping with Options' Some Good News, we've asked our staff members to share some of the things making the pandemic a bit easier for them. Here's some from Helena, our Clinic Services Director - enjoy!


My garden is one of my happy places. I find myself slowing down and getting grounded in the present moment as I walk between plants, adjust their supports, have my hands in the soil, look out for pests, or give them water. One of my greatest sources of pride is serving a bowl with beautiful and nutritious food from seeds I’ve planted and tended to.

At some point during this pandemic, I felt completely done with video calls and screen time and still longing for entertainment and connection. I discovered reading poetry out loud and being read to, especially by voice recordings, would perfectly fulfill these cravings without me having to look at a screen. Some favourites include Diane Di Prima (especially Rant!), Mary Oliver (and I could read her for days and days), and Andrea Gibson. I'm also reading My Grandmother's Hands and also working through Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad, and working toward dismantling my own white supremacy. 
Looking for COVID-19 resources?
View this email in your browser
Copyright © 2020 Options for Sexual Health, All rights reserved.

You are receiving this email because you opted in to receive Options' emails and notifications. If you no longer wish to receive communications from us you unsubscribe at the bottom of the email.

Our mailing address is:
Options for Sexual Health
3550 E. Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC V5K 2A7

Add us to your address book

Want to change how you receive these emails?
Update your preferences
Unsubscribe from this list