Holland… what happened next

Since our visit I have been busy working as both part of the group compiling the report of our findings and also part the group that put together the Double Dutch conference. Click here for a taster! Embarrassing seeing myself on film but good none the less!

At the conference I delivered a workshop ‘Be careful you might enjoy yourself’. This was an exploration of how sex and relationship education could be delivered in a sex positive way that moves away from the mere risk centred, reproductive approach that we currently take.

Here’s the blurb!

“Be careful! You might enjoy yourself!”

Aim: To explore the benefits of discussing issues of sex, sexuality and relationships from a perspective of pleasure rather than risk with young people.

The attractions of discussing sex in terms of risk with young people are obvious. Showing them scary pictures of STI infected bits is a sure fire way of putting them off sex ‐ for at least a day or so. But in the real world ‐ trying to put young people off sex by convincing them it is dangerous, or wrong simply does not work.

The commercial industries spend millions of pounds every year using sex to sell products young people should aspire to want. Meanwhile, sports stars and celebrities are splashed across magazines and newspapers discussing their latest saucy secrets or caught in another seedy misadventure. We may not like it, but these are their role models.

So, by trying to tell young people to ignore the hype ‐ sex isn’t what it’s cracked up to be, it’s not big it’s not clever, it’s certainly not cool ‐ flies in the face of everything they know ‐ Wait! Stop! You’re not ready yet… No! Don’t ‐ it’s dangerous…! Keep out! Sounds no better than scaremongering propaganda and will convince no one.

Furthermore, have we not learnt yet that by labelling anything as ‘dangerous’ or ‘risky’ will automatically make it more interesting and attractive to anyone under the age of thirty!

Sure sex can be a risky business ‐ but we must also be prepared to admit that it can be fun, enjoyable and a natural part of a healthy lifestyle.

Let’s face it: scaring kids might put them off for a while, but it does not arm them with the tools to make their own choices and not to follow the crowd.

Indeed, many young people end up having sex because they think they should, not because they truly want to or are ready to.

They enjoy the idea of sex, but do not have the self-confidence or knowledge to take control of their relationships and negotiate what they really want, or are ready for.

Perhaps there is a better way?

Our ethos is that by engaging young people in frank, honest discussion and actively encouraging them to ask the questions that are on their minds we can give them the tools to make their own positive choices. By empowering young people we can help them avoid the dangers and stop them having sex for the sake of being cool or fitting in.

Enabling them to make positive choices in their relationships and enjoy a healthy sex life.

To find out more about the conference click over to the Respect Yourself blog

The conference has come and gone, the report has almost been finished, and now the real work begins…

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