Event review: The Millennial Woman and Sex in the Cyberage

Four fifths of our marvellous panel 

Four fifths of our marvellous panel 

Last week we held a fantastic event with womens sexual pleasure and wellbeing company, Scarlet Ladies. As we are a bit too biased to review it objectively ourselves, attendee Brenda Wong who works for a youth marketing events and research company, has taken the time to put down her top takeaways from the night...

Event attendee and youth marketing specialist, Brenda Wong

Event attendee and youth marketing specialist, Brenda Wong

There aren't many times one could use "#blessed" unironically in a sentence. However, the atmosphere at the recent Scarlet Ladies event 'The Millennial Woman & Sex in the Cyberage' had good vibes to rival that of Woodstock.

It was the perfect recipe. A panel of savvy sexperts and a naturally curious audience came together (sorry, not sorry for that pun) in Covent Garden to talk about how the internet has influenced sex and relationships. Here are three takeaways from the panel:

1. Internet dating apps could do better

From the traditional Tinder and OKCupid to the more obscure Pure and 3nder, hook-up and dating apps are a dime-a-dozen. They often provide exciting and empowering opportunities for women to find what they’re looking for, however, digital innovation has also lead to more chances for people to objectify and harass women. The conversation during the evening revealed that most women receive unsolicited dick pics from men. The unanimous opinion was that these have a 0% success rate in impressing a potential date.There’s been some progress with the advent of apps like Bumble, that give women the lead in app interactions as well as some clever watermarking of pics so dick pics may remain faceless but not nameless however, there was a clear need for women to better be able to make the apps work for them.

2. Everyone has a unique relationship to porn and sexual media and they'd be lying if they said they didn't

There were some fascinating revelations during the evening as the panel and the audience opened up about their relationship with porn. From the age at which they first became interested, how easily accessible porn was with the internet, and how, for most, friends become the no. 1 source of information for all sex advice.

Debate surrounding the merits of so-called ‘female-friendly’ porn yielded some fantastic perspective-changers. Porn websites tend to place what they call ‘female-friendly’ porn in their category list, usually made up of softly-lit, romantic scenarios that are apparently what all women crave. The general consensus was that the branding of ‘female-friendly’ porn was patronising at best. However, panelist Jess mentioned a light at the end of the tunnel: ‘feminist’ porn is on the rise and are making waves with their forward-thinking approach to X-rated media. Ladies Come First founder Sophie says this is an opportunity to vote with your walllets - paying for indie porn, made by women, could encourage the industry to create original content, and improve the welfare of their performers. Sounds like a win-win.

3. You're never too old to get schooled by a sex-health nurse

Alarmingly, we ladies got a much needed reality check from SH:24 nurse Sarah Cox. A quick quiz of the audience proved that we basically know nothing about the HPV virus, and still fall for the same old contraception rumours. It begs the question - are we ever going to get the sexual health education our society desperately needs? SH:24 are part of a coalition of educators, youth organisations and sexual and reproductive health professionals called the Sex Education Forum who campaign for comprehensive sex education to be put firmly back on the curriculum as a statutory requirement.  There are lots of ways to support the Sex Education Forum’s campaigns: visit their website http://www.sexeducationforum.org.uk/ or follow them on social media, Twitter or Facebook