This week we’d like to introduce our Graduate Business Associate, Jess Bolton. In true start-up up style, Jess works across a lot of our operations, from looking out for new partnership opportunities and going to events about new sexual health services to working on our communications and running stands at colleges and universities. Let’s find out a bit more about her.
You’re a recent graduate. Did you imagine doing this while you were at university?
I studied French and Spanish at uni so I suppose it’s a bit of a surprise to find myself working in sexual health. I’ve always been interested in sex, sexuality and gender so it’s a good fit and I’m really enjoying myself - it’s nice to feel like you’re doing something worthwhile.
What do you like most about working with SH:24?
I love writing blogs, it’s so much fun. SH:24’s messages are completely aligned with my own personal beliefs so I couldn’t be luckier. The reason I’m able to talk so openly about my own sexuality is because I’ve seen other people do the same. The more people can talk about these things, the more informed they become. It’s not just that people are better able to self manage their sexual health, it’s that stigma decreases and people are happier and more free. We shouldn’t have to be ashamed of our bodies, our identities or our sexuality, and when society makes you feel that way it’s important to push back if you can.
Another great aspect of my job is seeing the new service developments, and even being a guinea pig to test out things like the upcoming web chat service (watch this space, launch is imminent) and the chlamydia treatment order process. On Thursday I arrived home to a chocolate brussel sprout masquerading as chlamydia treatment in the post.
What’s the most unusual thing that’s happened to you in this job?
The other day I was handing out condoms at a sixth form college and explaining to people how the service worked when a young man came up to me and asked me whether there were girls on the website. He must have seen the condoms and assumed I was a sex worker. We also got given some free nipple tassles at the Sexpo exhibition, which was weird but wonderful.
Who are your sex positive heroes?
Erika Lust is a producer of adult films who is opening up the market to female voices. I love seeing women like Erika, Anna Span and Petra Joy emerge as champions of inclusive porn. Mainstream porn tends to be unrealistic, homogenous, sexist, racist, cisnormative… the list goes on. Erika Lust is creating porn that is empowering. It promotes body and sex positivity and I reckon we could all do with a bit more of that!
The cast and creators of Orange is the New Black are pretty cool too. Laverne Cox is doing amazing work for trans women of colour but the rest of them are all out there too smashing the kyriarchy and instagramming themselves fabulous in the process.