Kasi Goes to San Francisco
April 5, 2012
Imagine listening to people speak passionately about why they care about teen sexual health and what they are doing to have an impact on it. That’s the experience I had earlier this week at Sex::Tech, the 5th annual conference on new media, youth and sexual health, hosted by Internet Sexuality Information Services (ISIS), in San Francisco, California. The thought of a conference about sexual health and technology may not sound so intriguing, but let me tell you, when you’re sitting there listening to the presenters talk about accepting sexuality as a natural part of life and creating a world where teens can ask questions and get information they can trust, adrenaline starts flowing and you feel like starting a revolution.
At this year’s Sex::Tech conference, Heather Corinna, founder and director of the sexual health Web site Scarleteen.com, said, “Sexual liberation is healthy sexuality.” I had never thought of healthy sexuality as an issue of openness and freedom. But I can now see how being able to freely learn about sexuality and make your own choices (whether it’s deciding to be sexual or not) is empowering. By freely and safely expressing how and when you decide to become sexual, you’re bound to have a healthier approach to sexuality. This idea was a theme that ran through most presentations at the conference. I attended sessions on the sexualization of women in the media, digital mobilization and movement building and using social media and technology to promote healthy sexuality. I also saw a presentation about how harmful adults’ fear of teens having sex can be when it keeps us from getting the information we need to be healthy.
It’s evident that everyone at the conference wanted to make learning about sexuality something positive that we don’t have to be afraid of. And what better way to get the word out about sex ed than through …technology. Groups, like SisterSong, Community Healthcare Network, SPARK, TORCH, CHATpdx and Sex, Etc. just to name a few, are using Web sites, blogs, Facebook fan pages, mobile sites, Twitter and text messaging to educate young people about sexuality.
As a teen who is constantly on social media sites, it’s reassuring that there are adults and health educators who are using technology to connect and work with teens to provide good information about sexuality. Because isn’t that the main goal—not to be afraid of sexuality, but to embrace it as natural and normal?