Tag Archives: sexual health

And So They Took My (Demonstrational) Dildos

It’s hard to believe that my time at Masakhane has come to an end. It feels like just yesterday that I showed up in Newark. Never in my life has three months gone by so quickly. I’ve learned an incredible amount about sexuality, facilitation, and the Newark community. The skills I’ve acquired are vast, and not all of them are quantifiable. It’s difficult to explain all of the awareness I’ve gained – from just reading participant emotions to understanding that cultural biases are something easily overridden.

My experiences this summer have been invaluable to me. They’ve helped to shape my professional aspirations in a way that I was not expecting. I always new I wanted to work in a field of public health, preferably related to child and maternal health, but now I am much more sure that I want to be working in the field of sexual health and sexuality. I also never truly considered teaching as a career option, but now it’s on the table. Teaching was an incredibly rewarding experience (though difficult at times). Even if I’m not teaching in the “traditional” sense, I would really like to be involved in some form or other of education. I’d like to continue teaching in a more alternative setting throughout the rest of my time at Tulane (perhaps as a doula – otherwise known as a labor specialist).

For anyone who is interested in sexuality or sexual health education, I would encourage them to read anything and everything they can get their hands on. Read as many differing opinions as you can. Inform yourself on current events related to sexual health, but also dig deeper. Don’t just use Facebook, reading click bait titled “The Truth About Being Transgender,” – look harder. Be critical, but also be sensitive. Recognize your own truths and biases. It’s easy to get angry and worked up when reading intentionally inflammatory arguments on the Internet. Avoid as much Internet fodder as possible, or you will burn out. Sexual and reproductive health in America are such hot button topics, it’s easy to get mired in the thousands of voices shouting at you that what you believe is wrong, your sexuality is wrong, and that your reproductive health is not yours to control. But sexual health education is so important, so valuable, and so misunderstood; giving up isn’t really an option. At the end of the day, when a participant thanks you, and says, “I can’t wait for next week” – it’s all worth it.

And no, I didn’t get to keep any of my demonstrational sex toys

That's me scarfing shake shake while other interns look cute in Madison Sq Park after visiting the Sex Museum together.

That’s me scarfing shake shake while other interns look cute in Madison Sq Park after visiting the Museum of Sex together.

 

How To Use A Condom

My name is Layla Entrikin, and I’m a sophomore studying public health. I recently re-watched the film Mean Girls, and laughed just as hard as I did the first time at Coach Carr telling students “Don’t have sex – you will get pregnant, and you will die.” It’s these kinds of myths and untruths I hope to help dispel this summer as sexuality educator for the Masakhane Center, in Newark, NJ.

The Masakhane Center aims to provide youth with sex-position education (meaning no shaming, hiding, or flat out lying). Everyone has the right to happy, health sex life. The Center provides workshops and trainings on a variety of topics, ranging from first-time sex to pregnancy options (as well as the more traditional STI & STD prevention).

As a sexuality health educator, I’ll be working with other interns to not only run a workshop series, but to also help create some of the curriculum. We all get to work on a project of our choice for the center, to be determined with my supervisor. For the first couple of weeks, though, I’m doing some intense intern training. I’m excited to see what we have in store.

I found my internship through Idealist.org, randomly enough. I sort of excepted to have to do some kind of finagling with personal connections, but I honestly just read the description and sent in my resume. My supervisor contacted my within 48 hours. We did a phone interview, and it was basically a done deal (to be fair, sex-education is right up my ally).

I hope that this summer I can really hone in on my teaching skills. I’m excited to be able to work with kids of varying ages. I think sexual health education provides individuals with some of the most empowering knowledge. In order to walk in the world with confidence, you need to feel comfortable in your own skin and understand your own body. I really hope to make a positive impact on these kids. I want to give them the tools to understand their wants, needs, and desires – and then to use those tools to make healthy choices.