Condoms, Chlamydia and Cunnilingus: What Should Sex Ed Really Be About?


While sexual education in schools has traditionally been biologically focused (think condoms and chlamydia!), concepts like sexual identity, relationships and pleasure have been considered outside the domain of official curriculums. Although there is a growing push to discuss respectful relationships and gender diversity, there are still massive inconsistencies in how sexual education content is delivered between states, privately funded schools and teachers. With many young people exposed to messages about sex, relationships and gender roles from trashy (but oh so addictive) TV or an incognito window on Pornhub, what should the role of health professionals be in promoting positive sex and dispelling myths? Join Medfem for a lively discussion about what sexual education should be about and find out how porn, gender equity and the female orgasm are related! We will hear from three clinicians who have used use clinical practice, teaching, research, media engagement and political lobbying to promote better sexual education.


Dr Sally Cockburn

Dr Sally Cockburn is a practising GP and Media Health commentator. Her passion is achieving better patient outcomes through improving health literacy and advocacy for systemic change. She has long been a champion of patient centred care particularly for sensitive issues. She is best known through her 30 year media career, as current host of radio program “Talking Health” on 3AW and before this, “Pillowtalk” on Fox FM. However, Sally has also been active behind the scenes, sitting on many boards and committees and in medical education, most recently, the Victorian Voluntary assisted Dying Review board. Sally strongly upholds the notion of patient autonomy but recognises the need to protect the vulnerable. This fuelled her drive to recently complete a Masters of Health and Medical Law in her 50s! Sally is an inductee in the Victorian Women’s Honour Roll and a recipient of the distinguished alumni service award from Monash University. She is also a survivor of a near fatal massive pulmonary embolism last year and is now a vocal ambassador for prevention and early recognition of thromboembolic disease.

Dr Anita Elias

Dr Anita Elias is a medical practitioner and psychotherapist, specialised and working in Sexual Medicine and Sexual and Relationship Therapy for over 20 years. She attained the inaugural Fellowship of the European Committee of Sexual Medicine in 2012. She is head of the Sexual Medicine and Therapy Clinic at Monash Health, works in the Psychosexual Service at The Women’s Hospital and in private practice. She is a senior lecturer at Monash and Melbourne Universities, as well as educating health practitioners and the community in sexual issues.



Associate Professor Melissa Kang

A/Prof Melissa Kang’s passion for working with and for young people has defined her career. She is an academic, a clinician, and an advocate. She is Associate Professor in Public Health at The University of Technology Sydney, and a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of General Practice at the Sydney Medical School Westmead. Melissa’s research has taken a population health approach, with major projects exploring access to health care, health system navigation, young people’s sexuality and sexual health. She was also the medical writer for Dolly magazine’s ‘Dolly Doctor’ column from 1993 until the magazine closed in 2016. Melissa is currently President of the Australian Association for Adolescent Health.