Sex, School and Social Media: an interview with Issy Gosse
Tell us a little bit about you!
Hi, I’m Issy and I’m in my second year of BSc Psychology at Goldsmiths, UoL, and I’m interning on the Against Sexual Violence Online Training at Goldsmiths over the summer. I’m currently working with the SH:24 team on a short term placement, and I’m assisting the Communications team with social media and blog. I’m super passionate about sex education and sex positivity - I’m really eager to go into a career embodying this to make the world a sex happy place!
How was your sex education at school?
My sex education at school was pretty awful. From what I can remember it involved a lot of condoms on bananas and scare tactics of being told to google images of STIs! In hindsight, I feel really let down by the sex education I received, as sex was framed to be avoided at risk of pregnancy or infections. There was no discussion on consent, orgasms or sexual violence, and by the time we received our classes on sex education we were 16/17 years old. This all just felt too little and too late.
What do you think are the problem areas are when it comes to how we learn about sex?
The problem areas really are within education and that classes are given far too late. Education is vital for how we learn about sex. People will always find a way to learn about sex, and sometimes these may not be accurate representations and can skew peoples ideas on sex if not taught properly. Framing that puberty starts for people with male organs at first ejaculation whilst puberty begins for people with female organs at first period seems to overlook female pleasure, and in my experience sex was often taught as for reproduction and not for pleasure. More information on sexual violence is also needed and consent, not just for sex but for everything, should be taught from a young age!
“If you can’t be good, be careful”
Which sexual health issues feel most important to you your/ friends?
The biggest sexual health issue that is most important for me and my friends is safe sex! It is so important to use protection, and get yourself regularly tested. Condoms are your best friend, particularly when with a new partner. As my mum used to say “if you can’t be good, be careful!”
Where do you go for sexual health information?
For sexual health information I usually use SH:24 forum as I find it so helpful to see other people’s experiences and questions, which are often very similar to experiences I have had! The NHS website is also very useful for all the medical and very formal knowledge so it’s good to tie the forum as well as the NHS website together to get a good idea on what you’re looking for.
Have you used an online sexual health service?
Yes! I used an online sexual health service when ordering a home STI kit. It came so quickly and discreetly in the post and had clear instructions which guided me through the steps to collect my swab sample and my blood sample. It fit neatly in the post box and I received a text informing me of my results not long after. I cannot emphasise enough how easy and important it is to get yourself tested! There are free tests online from SH:24 for certain areas of the UK or you can pay for a test from Fettle where all profits go back into improving health services.
How did you find SH:24?
I found SH:24 by chance on Instagram (@sh24_nhs). I follow a lot of sex positive accounts and it was in my recommended to follow. I absolutely adored how the Instagram was styled with it looking good but also being so informative. I attended the Pizza, Prosecco & the Pill discussion back in May, and that's when I learnt about the forum (that I can’t live without now!)
What have you been up to during your time at SH:24?
During my time with SH:24 I have been working with the Communications team. This meant that I was working on @sh24_nhs Instagram posts and stories, working on the blog, creating posters and advertising events. My time at SH:24 has really shown me how important team-work is and how everyone working collaboratively really allows new and exciting ideas to arise. As I am coming to the end of my time, I’ve been working largely on preparation for the Contraception Conversations event.
Are you interested in working in sexual health?
Yes! Sexual health is so important and I would love to go into a career that embodies my sex positive attitude. I’m still not sure exactly what I want to do but I’m eager to try out new things and see what happens.
Which sex positive social media accounts should we follow?
There are so many! I’d say my favourites are @killerandasweetthang (and their podcast Pillow Talk), the podcast Project Pleasure (instagram: @pro_pleasure), and of course @sh24_nhs on Instagram and their blog.