Hi pleasure explorers!
The new intern over at the Pleasure Project.
My experience… When we call ‘sex’ everything else other than sex, we are missing the point, particularly with the young. Sex is fun and safe sex can be erotic. This is exactly why I am working with the Pleasure Project – to learn how to refer to safe sex in a sexy, pleasurable and fun way. And to advocate for the capacity of this approach to influence behavior change, lowering teenage pregnancy rates and STI transmissions among youths.
With over 5 years of sexual reproductive health advocacy and programme development around youth engagement, engaging youths in a discussion around safe sex has been my focal point. Prior to my shift to London’s UCL as a candidate for an MSc in Global Health and Development, I worked in Zambia. First, in a small Bemba village in Northern Province where I worked at the grassroots level with adolescents. Together, we had frank and open conversations about what sex is and how to prevent pregnancy, HIV and other STIs. I learned that a lot of the misconceptions and myths about sex that exist among Zambian adolescents are the same for youths in the America and other developed countries, regardless of wealth and ethnicity.
From there, I worked for the Zambian branch of Marie Stopes International (MSI) and then a local NGO called CHAMP in youth program development and management. During my years with both, I quickly learned that Zambia and the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa are eager to lower their teenage pregnancy rates and address their high burden of HIV among youths. But, at the same time, we continue to run in circles as a global health community by focusing our sex-talk on all the risks of having sex; rather than demystifying it to promote a delay in early sexual debut and making safe sex sexy to encourage behaviour change.
I am EXCITED to work with the Pleasure Project to advocate for a pleasurable approach to safe sex education. Let’s turn it up and turn them on to give our safe sex education a Luther Vandross and Barry White voice, and stop making sex a basic biology and epidemiology lesson that youths want to painfully escape from.