Over the weekend I attended one of the best events I think I've ever been to: a training weekend focusing on sex education, run by a group I'm involved with and containing various workshops on subjects relating to sexuality and sex ed... mostly with the focus on reaching out to young people. This included a session run by me (which wasn't really my intention to begin with, but it turned out being really fun) and plenty of discussion and games.
Oh, and genital cupcakes.
I didn't live-tweet the event as we were in a wireless black spot (although I managed to get a couple of pictures on Twitter), but I took plenty of notes. I don't think replicating the notes verbatim would be much help here, but for those of you who are curious, here are some of the things I wrote down which I felt were particularly inspiring, sub-categorised according to the workshop in which I took the note.
- Consenting adults are defined by capacity (and the ability to consent) - under-13s cannot give consent. 16 is a (vague) age of consent for all genders; 30% are active before that age
- Countries with lower ages of consent have an older average age of sexual activity for various reasons including improved sex ed
- Child protection has very little to do with consent; two consenting 14/15-year-olds having sex is not strictly illegal unless one is not ready. CSA doesn't happen as much as Daily Mail says
UK Law on Confidentiality
- Everyone has a right to confidentiality of any age
- Parents are the last people who ought to know; if you believe a child is at risk, you can't really be confidential about this, but try to involve people before the parents are involved... if at all!
- Children are sexual: we all have our own bodies, including children, who are curious
- There is NO law on what you can and can't talk about, so take advantage of that
Sex and Religion (my workshop)
- Religion is a sensitive topic and Sex is an important topic, and vice versa; there is a crossover in every case
- "Don't they all disapprove?" Answer: No
- Those who feel stigmatised by the more conservative aspects of their religion should be able to find more liberal outlets with like-minded people: the internet is a resource to do this, as are meetups of those (cf. Spiritual Space)
- Faith in God should equal faith in oneself due to the belief in a creator; faith in the environment (eg. Wicca) should be the same as we are constructs of nature
Mental Health in Young People
- Mental health well-being links to sex education and sexual health well-being
- MH happens on a chemical, emotional, physical, social and spiritual level; an imbalance can cause a reaction and be labelled a "syndrome" - not all terms for MH problems are helpful
- Our aim is to make sure young people feel they have the ability to access the help they need, as opposed to feeling helpless and hopeless (YOU ARE NOT ALONE)
- Stigmatisation happens through lack of care: de-stigmatisation is a good aim
Queer Question Time
- Sex is your physicality, genes, etc.; Gender is a social construct, assigned to you at birth
- Trans used with a * as a wildcard character to be able to be inclusive of all trans* people
Eating disorders, body image and confidence
- Body positivity: think about famous people vs. people you actually know / compare people in magazines, football WAGs to rugby WAGs who were lambasted for "dressing down"
- My mum doesn't look like a Disney princess, and neither does yours
- Finding positives in yourself, rather than your ideal: use bits you are confident with!!!
Plenty of stuff to chew over there, maybe some stuff some people wouldn't agree with, I know. As I said, this is only a snippet of the stuff I got: it was a massive event for something lasting only a day and a half. But a lot of these things I found useful, so I thought sharing them on my blog would be the right thing to do.
And the sharing of opinions is always good.