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. Noam (19), from the netherlands, is good at setting his boundaries. He does not want to have unsafe sex. This meant on one occasion that he had to refuse sex when neither he nor the girl had a condom.
Talking about sex
Noam had sex education in high school, but that didn’t work out well for him: “I still remember our sex ed. classes very well, because they really scared me. They really hammered in the message that we shouldn’t have unprotected sex because of all the horrible infections we could catch, but they never told us what to do if we did have unsafe sex. Now I’ve found out more about it by finding information online, so if something happened I would talk to my brother about it and call my G.P. straight away. I never talk to my dad about sex, I find that uncomfortable.”
I’ve never had an experience where a girl crossed my boundaries, but I have had to deal with men behaving inappropriately. When I was 15, a friend and I had a job working at Pride, and a drunk old man asked us to go back to his hotel with him. I’d just thought it would be fun working at Pride; I wasn’t prepared for those kinds of situations at all. We were really irritated by it. We said no, and then tried to ignore him but he kept on. In the end we walked away ourselves.
My story of self-empowerment
I feel comfortable with the idea of talking about sex with my girlfriend when I have one, even though I don’t think I know that much about it. I would talk with her about what we do and don’t want to do. If a girl said no to something, I would respect that. I’m also always very clear about it myself if I don’t want to do something. For example, I absolutely refuse to have sex without a condom. I was laying in bed with a girl once and it turned out that we both didn’t have any condoms. She was older and more experienced than me and wanted to take the risk, but I said no. She thought that was very grown-up of me. I also once said no to a girl who had a fetish, because I just absolutely didn’t want to do that.
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.