Nov 10

Sex re-education vital for baby boomers

Looking for love online has become extremely popular these days, it used to be a secret once, but now nobody minds admitting to it. Online dating is not only for the young, and many baby boomers are also turning to the internet to find romance as they find themselves single again.

With more Australians living longer and healthier lives at the same time as divorce rates are on the rise, many will find new sexual partners later in life. Some of those who have been in long, monogamous relationships are now looking for more casual sexual encounters before they commit themselves again.

The availability of drugs such as Viagra has given many men who had given up hope to be sexual again, new opportunities.

Women who are now at a different stage in their life are quite happy being single for a while. The children may have left home and it is now time for them to have some fun. However, a long period of sexual monogamy has left them ill-equipped about safe-sex practice. Most women were on the pill and never, ever used a condom. And they missed out on the “safe sex messages” that were promoted in the 1980s.

Education campaigns about safe sex are generally aimed at young people and there is still an element of ageist stereotyping in our community that makes it difficult for some to believe older people still have sex. But the latest figures from the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System show that STIs continue to rise, particularly among older age groups.

New cases of chlamydia among Australians aged 40 to 85 have jumped 17 per cent in the past three years, while the incidence of gonorrhoea has risen 44 per cent in the same period, an analysis by Family Planning NSW has revealed. The safe-sex message seems to have missed the baby-boomer generation.

About a year ago Family Planning NSW, together with the support of RSVP, Fairfax Media’s dating site launched a safe-sex awareness campaign for older Australians called the “Little Black Dress”. The message was all about communication and the importance of being upfront when talking about safe sex with a new partner.

A short video with the theme: “Safe sex is an easier conversation to have with your clothes on” was produced, aimed at educating older Australians about the risk of having sex without a condom in a new relationship and the importance of being tested for STIs if unprotected sex happens.

People should have an honest discussion with a new partner about using a condom, before being swept away in the heat of the moment. They may not have been very sexually active themselves but their new partners may have been.

RSVP helped to promote the campaign, hosting a series of videos and articles on its Over 50 and Fabulous site group, to communicate the safe sex message to its members.

An attractive and discreet wallet was designed, with a picture on the front of a “Little Black Dress” which contained a condom, lube and instructions. About 3000 free packs were distributed at RSVP single events and were available from Family Planning NSW.

The project was delivered at the Australasian Menopause Society Conference in 2012 and the Australian Women’s Health Conference in 2013, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

Over recent years I have spoken to an increasing number of men and women, who needed advice on how to start a new relationship after the break-up of their marriages or long relationships. I was shocked by how many of them had never considered safe sex as they still believed that a condom was only needed to prevent pregnancies.

Nothing is more embarrassing for a baby boomer after having had sex with several new partners, to be told by a GP that he or she has an STI. The best rule to follow is “no condom, no sex” until both partners are tested.

It can be difficult to negotiate the use of a condom with a new partner, but remember they may be concerned about the same thing. The “Little Black Dress” condoms are not available any more, but choosing some of the rather interesting types available now, could definitely be a great “ice-breaker” when you still have your clothes on!

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Nov 10

Bob Oatley and Hamilton Island Yacht Club set to challenge for America’s Cup

Hamilton Island owner Bob Oatley. Photo: Quentin Jones The Bob Oatley owned Wild Oats XI has enjoyed success in the Sydney to Hobart race. Photo: Rolex / Daniel Forster

The Hamilton Island Yacht Club. Photo: Supplied

An Australian winemaker and his son, who own Hamilton Island, have officially challenged software mogul Larry Ellison’s Oracle Team USA for the next America’s Cup, a source with knowledge of the situation told Reuters.

Bob Oatley and oldest son Sandy signed the challenge on behalf of their Hamilton Island Yacht Club in Queensland, Australia, the source said.

An employee of the Robert Oatley Vineyards delivered a signed document to a representative of the Golden Gate Yacht Club, Oracle’s sponsor, on San Francisco Bay seconds after the winning American team crossed the finish line on Wednesday.

As the challenger of record, the Oatleys could help shape the rules for the 35th America’s Cup along with the defender, Ellison. Additional challengers are expected to emerge as the next competition takes shape in the coming years.

Ellison said that he received the challenge on the water as soon as Oracle clinched the Cup, but he declined to name the challenger. Asked to confirm that it was Oatley, Tom Ehman of the Golden Gate Yacht Club refused to comment. “I’ll announce early next week, possibly Monday,” he said in a text message.

Two sources who requested anonymity confirmed to Reuters that the Hamilton Island Yacht Club is the challenger of record. Oatley could not be reached for comment.

Oatley made a fortune first as a coffee trader and then as a vintner, and bought Hamilton Island in 2003. A long-time competitive sailing enthusiast, he is described on a website for Robert Oatley Vineyards in northern California as being “as famous for his wine as he is for sailing.”

A series of his super-maxi yachts, all dubbed Wild Oats, have won the Sydney-to-Hobart race.

A website for Oatley family wines boasts about the latest version of the yacht, Wild Oats XI. Iain Murray, an Australian who served as the regatta director for the just-completed America’s Cup races in San Francisco, crews on the boat, the website says.

Forbes ranked Oatley as Australia’s 25th richest with just under $1 billion. Ellison is the world’s fifth richest man with $US43 billion ($46.2 billion).

An Australian boat sporting an innovative winged keel broke a 132-year U.S. chokehold on the famous sailing trophy in 1983. But the U.S. won it back in 1987 and Australia has not been a player in Cup competitions in recent years despite a strong sailing tradition. The skipper this year’s winning Oracle team, Jimmy Spithill, is Australian.


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Nov 10

Orange-free state of concentration gives Link something to build on

Not going anywhere: much as Stephen Moore’s Wallabies found it hard to make ground at the weekend, Ewen McKenzie also had his troops staying put at half-time. Photo: Gallo ImagesThere were no orange pieces but it was definitely old school.

The Wallabies stayed on the field at half-time at Newlands on Sunday, soaking up the fortress atmosphere while the neon scoreboards blinked “23-3” at them from both ends of the stadium.

Coach Ewen McKenzie had been worried about the team’s tendency to fade away in games and wanted to keep his players charged and alert.

He wound the clock back a couple of decades and asked to keep his team on the pitch during the break.

“There are some functional aspects to it but fundamentally our weakness has traditionally been in the second half and I felt we were going into the dressing room and coming out maybe relaxing too much,” McKenzie said.

“I don’t know if it will work forever but I thought it was good given where we were at as a group. It’s not going to win or lose you the game, it’s just about keeping players in the atmosphere of the crowd and the game rather than going inside, going silent, when everyone relaxes and you have to start again.”

It didn’t arrest the slide but it worked to an extent, combining with player substitutions and a new game plan to produce the first occasion in the match that the Wallabies looked competitive with the Springboks.

McKenzie said they will use the same approach this weekend against Los Pumas in Rosario, when Australia faces a team famed for emotion-driven performances at home.

“It’s a soccer stadium, so inevitably the dressing room is four levels up and a three minute walk into a tunnel. You take the three minutes to go in and the three minutes to get back and most of your half-time is gone,” McKenzie said.

“We were doing it [in rugby] for maybe 100 years and it’s only in the last 10 or 20 we’ve gone inside. AFL does it at three-quarter time. I enjoyed being out there, we stayed in the atmosphere, guys could hit pads and do different things.”

McKenzie is digging deep for things that will help a struggling squad gel and build belief.

“Rugby’s a chaotic game … as it happened the Springboks came out and did things they hadn’t done before and we want to have the flexibility to be able to play with surprise too,” he said.

“The kick-run balance is really important because you can be shifting it one way and the other and then you’ve got some little tricks that you can keep up your sleeve. We’ve got some good guys at that, some of the best exponents of it, but at the moment we’re oscillating a bit too much, we need to centre our thinking a bit.”

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Nov 10

No silver lining for straight shooting McKenzie

There are no “silver bullets” for the Wallabies’ woes and Ewen McKenzie knows it.

He cannot cull half his starting side and reach for shiny new players after the their demoralising 28-8 loss in Cape Town at the weekend.

He has to get more out of the squad he has assembled and, most importantly, coax them back to confidence after a horror Rugby Championship campaign.

“What I did say in the dressing room [after Sunday’s game] is that the solutions to our problems are in the dressing room, right there,” McKenzie said. “Getting the right mix of players and getting the right game mix is still our challenge and the answers are in the room.

“Tell me who the other people are who are going to break the game open and give us the silver bullets. I think we’ve got the best group of players here, in the squad. There are a few others around the edges who could be here if we had a bigger squad, but fundamentally we have the best guys available.

“There’s a good chance we’ll spend the week sorting out a way to get it done.”

McKenzie would not be drawn on the selection of his starting halfback against Argentina in Rosario this weekend.

Nic White had a difficult night at Newlands, failing to tweak the team’s original kick-first strategy when it appeared more running was needed.

His half-time replacement, Will Genia, made an immediate difference, leading the Wallabies’ improved second-half effort with his trademark running game.

But McKenzie defended White and appeared to signal he would continue to select his starting halfback based on tactics along with form.

“Clearly if we’re playing running footy Will’s our best exponent, [and if it is a] kicking game, Whitey is our best exponent, it depends on how you want to pitch the game,” he said.

“We probably didn’t get the result we wanted but in terms of just being an out and out kicker I haven’t seen anyone better [than White] in terms of power and distance.”

He did not rule out starting Genia but stood by his decision to drop a player who has long been considered one of the best No.9s in the world.

“Everyone knows the capability of Will, I know him better than anyone, I coached him since he was 21, so I know exactly where he is,” McKenzie said.

“You’ve got to make decisions based on what’s going at that point in time. We made changes because we weren’t happy with where we are. We’re still not happy with where we are, we’re still going to keep looking at what the best mix is. No one’s in or out.”

McKenzie praised the contributions of replacement blindside flanker Ben McCalman and starting outside centre Tevita Kuridrani, as well as the impact made by returning forwards Benn Robinson and Sitaleki Timani. Expect more selections designed to use experienced Test players at the back halves of games.

But it appears confidence is emerging as the Wallabies soft underbelly, six losses into a difficult season. The road becomes tougher each week; Argentina at home is an entirely different proposition to the team Australia held out in Perth.

A third Bledisloe Test looms on the horizon before the squad heads north for five weeks in Europe.

Tests against England, Ireland and Wales were always going to be tough. But if the past few weeks’ results become the norm this year, Scotland and Italy become potential death traps too.

“You try to get it right but you don’t get any easy games,” McKenzie said.

“You’re not out there blowing the cobwebs away, you’re actually playing the best players and teams that are in top form. But from all that, from adversity, you’ll find a way out.”

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Nov 10

Rooster or Chief? SBW guessing game

In demand: Sonny Bill Williams has been courted by NRL boss Dave Smith to keep the Roosters star in the game. Photo: Anthony JohnsonExpect plenty of speculation in the lead up to the grand final about where Sonny Bill Williams will play next season, but unless Channel Nine really can broadcast his inner thoughts as they made out in his NRL return, it will be pure guesswork.

Sydney Roosters supremo Nick Politis does not know, New Zealand Rugby Union bosses do not know, Chiefs coach Dave Rennie does not know and possibly even members of Williams own family do not know what he plans to do.

Politis and the Roosters are desperate for the 28-year-old superstar credited with lifting home crowds by 54 per cent to stay but the NZRU want him ahead of their Rugby World Cup defence in 2015 and are using the 2016 Olympic Games as a lure.

While it is unlikely he could resist the opportunity to win a second world cup and an Olympic gold medal, Williams plans beyond the grand final are a mystery and after making a seamless return from his five year NRL exile he would have no fears about switching codes again in 2015 rather than next season .

So uncertain is Williams immediate future that his agent, promoter and close friend Khoder Nasser hasn’t yet organised an off-season fight for the dual international, who is expected to defend the WBA International heavyweight belt he won against Francois Botha just weeks before the round one clash with South Sydney.

Since quitting the Bulldogs in 2008, Williams has only signed for one season at a time but his stints in French and New Zealand rugby union lasted two years each.

NRL chief executive Dave Smith regularly texts or phones Williams to let him know how much he is valued by the game’s hierarchy and has been working with Politis in a bid to ensure he stays beyond this season.

But Roosters supporters looking for a clue as to whether the grand final is Williams’ farewell appearance before returning to New Zealand rugby union or he will stay should know that his decision won’t be dictated by money.

Public adulation and private backslapping are unlikely to sway him either as he walked out on not only the Bulldogs but also the All Blacks at the peak of his popularity to take up a new challenge in a new code and a new country.

While some Canterbury fans may never get over Williams departure in 2008 while still under contract, much as Ricky Stuart has recently done at Parramatta, it was a brave decision to turn his back on all that he knew and switch to rugby union in France.

Not only did the then 22-year-old risk his reputation but his financial security as he paid the Bulldogs $750,000 to release him from his $400,000 per year contract and effectively played his first season with Toulon for nothing.

At the time, the move was a huge gamble as he battled injury, homesickness and negative headlines from those willing him to fail but after his second season Williams was being offered $2 million per year and the France No.12 jersey at the 2011 Rugby World Cup if he stayed.

Again, Williams chose to move outside his comfort zone and put financial security and a guaranteed World Cup spot at risk by returning to his native New Zealand to pursue an All Blacks jersey amid enormous scrutiny in a country where rugby union is a religion and he was an outsider.

Williams never really fitted in at the Crusaders but he helped qualify for the Super Rugby final against Queensland in a debut season in which he finished No.1 for offloads and No.2 for line-breaks before leaving to spearhead the Chiefs’ charge from 13th place in 2011 to last year’s title.

Along the way, he cemented his place in the All Blacks side and was described by former England forward Paul Ackford as “the greatest rugby union talent operating at the moment”, and boasting the skills of a Lionel Messi and marketability of David Beckham.

Yet Williams turned his back on it all to honour a handshake deal with Politis and is now one win away from an NRL premiership.

Then he will announce his plans for next season.

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