Healthy sexuality is in bloom

Sunflower close up Sexual assault awareness month has passed, but the topic of healthy sexuality is still in full bloom. Call it Spring fever, but everywhere I turn I’m finding people are talking about sexual identity and development. I’m very excited to share my recent explorations in the wonderful world of human sexuality.

Adolescent sexuality conference

At this conference, I had the privilege of sharing about SAAM 2014 right in the midst of our April campaign on healthy sexuality and teens.  Perfect timing! I was also floored to participate in one of the coolest conferences I’ve ever attended, where young people and adults came together to learn and connect. Inclusivity was a major theme, and it showed in the participation, topics and resources. One favorite from my time at this conference in Oregon was a keynote by Cory Silverberg, author of the radically imaginative “What makes a baby” book. 

PCAR’s LGBTQ summit

As our resident feminist captured in her recent recap, this Pennsylvania summit created a vital space for advocates and allies to explore the amazing identities, experiences and stories connected to the letters L-G-B-T-Q (and beyond). Identity and orientation are foundations of healthy sexuality. Affirming the diverse ways we experience sexuality and identify is vital to inclusive prevention and support. I was excited to meet the incredible michael munson of Forge who led a moving workshop on supporting trans survivors of sexual violence.  It was a day packed with learning and creativity. 

NSVRC Staff Diversity Training

Whenever I share about NSVRC’s healthy sexuality efforts, I am always sure to let folks know this has been a journey for our organization. Healthy sexuality is a topic that can be a little intimidating, and I think it makes people more comfortable to understand we didn’t get there overnight (and there is a long road ahead of us too!). One incredible tool along our journey has been training our staff on human sexuality and development. Yes, all those classes you may (or may not) have taken in high school revisited in an engaging way that connects to our work in sexual violence prevention. 

Last week, an incredible trainer and Planned Parenthood Keystone partner Alison Bellavance led everyone on our team in a discussion of the human sexual response cycle and sexual development across the lifespan. She also let us ask her all of our burning questions not answered in Sex Ed classes or internet searches of yesteryear. It was such an informative day and safe learning environment. I heard staff in many different roles talk about the relevance of healthy sexuality to their life and work. 

Changing seasons

Spending the past year enveloped in the topic of healthy sexuality and young people as the third installment of our SAAM work in this area has been incredibly enriching. As the process of developing our next SAAM campaign begins, I’m so glad to see healthy sexuality further integrated into the sexual violence prevention movement. Yes, this means new topics and materials are on the way for SAAM 2015. But for now, I’m sticking around to breathe in the season.  

What are some of your favorite healthy sexuality resources and tools?