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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jewett


Updated: Oct 18, 2019

Standing against a backdrop of slogans like “Vulva & vagina are OK to say” and “Only 1% of parents use the word vulva” at this year’s Eve Appeal panel-discussion event, CEO Athena Lamnisos says: “Sex education is important through the ages – we need to talk our mums, grandmas, colleagues and friends.” 

#TalkingTaboos: this year’s Eve Appeal panel discussion event

Insights from the clued-up line-up include (from left)…

  1. "If you can say elbow, you can say vagina… Incidentally there is no ‘masculine hygiene’ aisle in supermarkets” Jane Garvey (Woman’s Hour)

  2. “Don’t worry if you get it wrong trying to talk openly with your children. Think about how we form our sex-ed views culturally – and listen more. But unless we give children facts, they’ll learn from Dr Google and porn. Because of porn, young women don’t know what’s normal. It’s damaging” – Dr Naomi Sutton (E4’s The Sex Clinic

  3. “I learned most of the stuff I know from online, not from my parents. I’m comfortable talking about sex, bodies and relationships, but not everyone is. So I thought: this is my area. For some young people, because heteronormative society has failed them horribly, porn is the only place they can see themselves as a sexual being with their identity represented” – Hannah Witton (Doing It podcast + book)

  4. “It’s challenging when I talk to young people but we have to use correct names for body parts and talk to them about periods, about the side effects of having sex for the first time. I wasn’t prepared” – Nadia Deen (AM: Appointment podcast)

  5. “We can’t expect young people to not watch porn or blame them for being influenced by it if we as adults are reluctant to talk about the context – about the mainstream industry and the reality of porn. We’re also not taught that pleasure is an integral part of education for girls and women” Ruby Stevenson (sexual-health charity Brook)

  6. “Sex ed needs plain speaking. My mum would talk to us while peeling the potatoes. People underestimate the number of parents who were sexually abused – and that means a lot of them need help in talking with their children. Many parents have had a hard time with the word vagina but they can cope with it, they’re moving on, they’re realising it’s OK. We have to take the parents with us” – Lynnette Smith (BigTalk)

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