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Yarning as a method for building sexual wellbeing among urban Aboriginal young people in Australia.

Bryant Joanne, Bolt Reuben, Martin Kacey, Beadman Mitchell, Doyle Michael, Treloar Carla, Bell Stephen, Murphy Dean, Newman Christy, Brown Annette, Aggleton Peter, Beetson Karen, Brooks Megan, Wilms Jessica, Leece Bronwyn, Stanbury Linda, Botfield Jessica, Davis Ben, Graham Simon.

  • Published 11 Sep 2023

  • Volume 23

  • ISSUE 1

  • Pagination 1-16

  • DOI 10.1080/13691058.2023.2258948


This paper describes the strategies used by Aboriginal young people to build positive relationships and sexual wellbeing. It does so to counter the risk-focussed narratives present in much existing research and to showcase the resourcefulness of Aboriginal young people. We used peer-interview methods to collect qualitative data from 52 Aboriginal young people living in western Sydney, Australia. Participants reported a strong desire to stay safe and healthy in their sexual relationships and to achieve this they relied heavily on oral communication and yarning strategies. Participants viewed communication as a way to gain or give advice (about bodies, infections, pregnancy, relationships); to assess the acceptability and safety of potential partners; to negotiate consent with partners; to build positive relationships; and to get themselves out of unhealthy relationships. Participants also discussed ‘self-talk’ as a strategy for building sexual wellbeing, referring to narratives of self-respect and pride in culture as important in establishing Aboriginal young people’s positive views of self and as deserving of respectful and safe sexual relationships. These findings suggest that future programmes and interventions based on yarning could be well-regarded, given it is a cultural form of pedagogy and a strategy Aboriginal young people already use to build positive relationships and identities.