Teenagers taking SRE into their own hands

ImageAn excellent interview has been posted here on The Guardian today with Jarrett Chamberlin, an inspiring teenager from Bristol who volunteers with SHARP (Sexual Health Action: Real People) to answer younger teens’ questions about sex that they can’t or won’t discuss at school or home.   It’s wonderful to hear about this project as one issue that we are very concerned about here at Young Sexualities is the quality, politics, and availability of sex education guidance for both teachers and students (a key research topic in our work with the Welsh Assembly Government’s Cross Party Group on Sexualisation).

I found of particular interest the fact that SHARP are welcoming parents to their marquee as well:

For the first time this month we’ve got a space in the city centre where we’re putting up a huge marquee where people can come and ask us questions. This time, we’re aiming to reach parents too – we want to de-stigmatise those awkward conversations parents and children have about sex.  

It is unclear from The Guardian article or the flyer advertising the event (above – full size version here) whether children and teens are being invited to bring their parents along, or if parents would be welcomed unaccompanied.   Either way, this invitation to parents highlights the perceived increasing distance between parent-child knowledges and experiences of sexuality, and the discomfort felt by adults in addressing this issue.  This discomfort is surely not helped by the media (and, unfortunately, the government) sensationalising the sexualisation debates and using ‘lost innocence’ as a motivation for action. When we use this ‘innocence’ discourse we paint children and teens who hold (or want to hold) sexual knowledges as beyond innocence, as lost or corrupt and, therefore, to be feared.

To learn more about this topic I recommend the Gender and Education special issue on sexualisation, as well as a book I reviewed for it, The Importance of Being Innocent by Joanne Faulkner, which explores the adult obsession with childhood innocence.

In the meantime, we wish SHARP every success with their event and future activities.

Jennie

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Young Sexualities Postgraduate Conference (rescheduled)

Details of our forthcoming postgraduate conference (rescheduled to January 2013 due to a change of keynote speaker) are now available here.   We are currently seeking abstracts from postgraduate students from all academic disciplines to contribute to this inter-disciplinary event, as well as researchers and activists with content of specific interest to postgraduates working within the field.  We hope to see you there!

Hello and welcome to the new home of Young Sexualities!

Hi everyone!

This blog is now the new online home of the Young Sexualities research network.   Unfortunately, although the old website looked pretty it was extremely cumbersome to update, painstakingly slow, and didn’t offer easy blogging facilities.  This meant that we simply didn’t have time to update and maintain it.  We hope that with our lovely new Word Press blog that the website is going to live up to its promise without us needing to employ a full time website designer!

We’ve kept things fairly simple to start with and will be adding more resources over time.  For now, you can find upcoming events, comments and general musings here in the front page blog.  Then on the sidebar you can see our Twitter feed, links, the blog archive, a list of affiliated researchers, and special pages dedicated to Young Sexualities events as and when they arise.

We hope you enjoy the new site and we welcome any feedback either here in the comments or at youngsexualities@gmail.com.

Jennie