Anna (21): I dare to set my boundaries, regardless of what other people think – #IDECIDE4MYSELF

This week we’re sharing young people’s stories from all over the world, in which they tell us about their sexual experiences and the role of self-empowerment. Anna (21), from the Netherlands, has learned to set her boundaries: “I used to be more affected by what other people think, but I’ve learned that I’m me and I’m following my own path.”

Talking about sex

My parents know that I’m on the pill. My sister is two years younger than me. She had already started taking the pill before me, so it wasn’t hard for me to speak to my mum about that. There are also things that I’d rather not share with my parents though. I recently had to buy a pregnancy test – I found that a bit scary. I turned bright red when I was in the shop. I find it uncomfortable to talk to my parents about that, even though I know I could, because they’re very open.

I can talk about sex with my boyfriend. I’ve talked to him about the pill, and we talk about who’s going to buy condoms.  When I was 16, I would do that together with a friend. I also talk to my boyfriend about our wishes and desires, so we know both know about each other what we like. Practice makes perfect haha.

Personal experience

There was one time where a couple of boys wolfwhistled at me and my friend, and then started following us. That really frightened us. I told my parents about that immediately; I came home crying. They comforted and supported me. I now know that wolfwhistling is commonplace in the neighbourhood where I live in Rotterdam.

My story of self-empowerment

It’s good to know that I can always get help if something goes wrong. That isn’t a given in other countries – I find that shocking. I can’t imagine what it’s like as a girl to be seen as worth less. I’ve gotten better at setting my boundaries. In the past I was more affected by what other people thought, but I’ve learned that I’m me and I’m following my own path.

Are you inspired by this story about sex and empowerment?

Research shows that young people who feel empowered are more able to make positive sexual choices. That is why Dance4Life offers an innovative curriculum co-created with young people for young people: the Journey4Life. A journey in which they increase their confidence and feel enabled to make healthy choices about their sex lives and relationships. Dance, music and personal stories are important elements.