Tue | Sep 26, 2017

Let's talk about sex

Published:Monday | September 12, 2016 | 9:00 AMJanelle Oswald
Alisia Jarrett
Caleen Diedrick
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Two entrepreneurs are calling on the health and gender ministers along with corporate Jamaica to assist them in holding an annual island forum about sex.

Marketing director of Living Well Natural Care, Alisia Jarrett, and founder and CEO of Fervida, Caleen Diedrick, have joined feminine forces to bring the nation together to discuss the 'birds and the bees' in order to ensure that Jamaicans have a healthy sexual appetite and broad perspective about it.

Having organised various workshops including successfully launching the Caribbean's first arts and sex expo, the women also host popular radio shows on RJR discussing sexuality and relationships. They explained to The Gleaner why Jamaica is ready to open up about the once-taboo subject.

"We wanted to break the silence, end the taboo on sex and get rid of the negative connotations surrounding the word," said Jarrett, who is married and the mother of five.

"We wanted to start a positive conversation to educate and empower couples, singles, parents, families and young adults about sexual topics which are not being discussed. Failing to have these discussions continues the negative distortion in the nation and, in return, will affect the next generation. Our aim for the expo was to summon professionals and inspirational persons to come and speak openly, and we succeeded."

GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY

Echoing Jarrett's sentiments, Diedrick added, "Artsexhibition was the golden opportunity to open up the discourse about sex and pleasure. It was a chance to showcase all things around sex held in a one-stop shop, offering patrons a wealth of information from the experts in the field of sex and sensuality.

"As a society, it is fair to say, most of us are prepared to have a dialogue about sex - albeit there are still persons of the mindset that the topic is not suitable for public consumption. Nevertheless, as Jamaicans, we must talk," Diedrick said.

Continuing, the transformational sensuality coach/motivational speaker said, "One of the by-products of the Information Age is that it has brought sex and sexuality to our attention forcefully; some people have risen to the occasion by edifying themselves, while others still approach the subject with scorn. The more persons talk about sex and the more information flows, the more positive recognition there will be that it is imperative to learn about it.

"Access to more information on sex and relationships will help to reduce teenage pregnancy, STIs and domestic violence, which is why we are calling on the two politicians' involvement," she said.

"Having support from Olivia 'Babsy' Grange and Dr Chris-topher Tufton means we can increase our outreach and implement other programmes that promote responsibility and a healthy sex life and love relationships.

"The obvious reason is to start more open workshops and make educational materials available to young adults, including primary school [students]. We need to stop being so bashful about sex and lift the negative stigma surrounding it. The biggest misconception about sex is persons do not see it as an art form, it is only viewed for procreation. Sex is necessary, it is fulfilling, it is liberating; however, sex is incomplete without passion."

Jarrett believes that an Artsexhibition should be one of many around the island that makes school tours and enables Jamaicans to speak about sex at any age. Both women are urging corporate Jamaica to support their efforts to begin having open sex conversations.

Plans are already under way for Artsexhibition 2017 and with demands for the expo to be held in Montego Bay, Jarrett tells The Gleaner how she could use sex and art to make positive influence in Jamaica. "I would change the way guidance counselling is taught in schools. I would introduce a new curriculum on just sex education, with different levels for different grades, starting from primary up to high school, because what is currently being taught is not enough."

Diedrick adds, "The more we talk, study and work at sex as a community, the better we will become as a nation." Let's not be afraid anymore. Let's talk about sex."

janelle.oswald@gleanerjm.com