“Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences.” — World Health Organization
What pops first to mind when you hear the term “sexual health?” Your last pap-smear? STD prevention? A satisfying sex life? How about a worldwide celebration?
Many Americans associate sexual health with disease control, but there is so much more to sexual vitality than that. In fact, much of it is downright party-worthy. (But I don’t need to tell you Girl Boner veterans that! ;)) This September 9th, World Sexual Health Day 2013, people around the globe will be celebrating sexual health in empowering, arguably groundbreaking ways. I’m honored to be among the press slated to attend the North American premiere celebration in New York City and to introduce you all to the dynamic chief organizer of the event today.
Sara Nasserzadeh, PhD, known to many as Dr. Sara, is a New York-based social psychologist and award-winning sexuality expert, coauthor of The Orgasm Answer Guide, public speaker, global consultant and chairperson of the World Sexual Health Day of North America. She carved time out of her busy pre-event schedule to answer my questions about the event. We’re so fortunate to have her!
Dr. Sara on Sexual Health and A Potentially World-Changing Party
August: First off, congratulations on this wonderful event! You must be thrilled.
Dr. Sara: Thank you. I am indeed excited since this is the first time we are organizing an event of this magnitude in celebration of the World Sexual Health Day, which has been celebrated for the past 3 years around the world and in more than 35 countries.
August: One thing I greatly admire about World Sexual Health Day is its emphasis on positivity and pleasure. Why do you feel that positivity is a vital component of sexual health?
Dr. Sara: Because it seems all we hear or talk about in North America is either the sassy and rather commercial side of sex, or the horrifying health consequences of unprotected sexual encounters—two very extreme concepts. We need to come down from this extreme and allow for a middle ground to talk about sexuality as a natural part of human life and identity. Right now everything we hear has a hidden agenda behind it, either to sell more of something or to promote a political agenda towards suppressing a natural and potentially powerful force in a human being’s life.
August: What can attendees expect at the celebration in New York?
Dr. Sara: The evening has a light tone to it. I wanted this to be a group effort not a one women show because in real life you need to be surrounded by amazing and like-minded people to make this life worth living. On that note, I reached out to my network and secured amazing people to take part alongside myself to make this event happen.
Talented dancer/activist Oceane Hooks-Camillieri will open the event with her powerful dance accompanied by lyrics that she will perform. The amazing Millana Snow (from Project Runway and the founder of SERENE Social) will be hosting the event. Then we will have a panel of experts speaking about their take on sexual rights with give-away messages to the audience.
We have amazing guests, including distinguished speakers, who will share their definition of sexual rights. J.P. Jofre ‘s Hard Tango Chamber Band will bring sensuality to life with their mesmerizing Argentinean tango music. We also have raffles and the guests will go home with a bag full of sexual gifts that are generously donated by Lelo. We will end the event by a group meditation and release positive energy to the world for a sexually healthy and satisfying world for all.
August: What will you be speaking about? Are you nervous? Excited? Both?
Dr. Sara: I will share the Declaration of Sexual Rights that is devised by the World Association for Sexual Health with the audience and explain the 9 flames in this year’s logo that represent these 9 rights. I will also take part in a panel of experts with distinguished colleagues Esther Perel and Dr. Jane Greer to discuss our perspectives of sexual rights and how each individual could ensure autonomy and fulfillment on their own life. We will cover a range from sexuality in the bedroom to the much larger sphere.
I am actually very excited because people who take part in such events already have high level of awareness, in my opinion. I can’t wait to greet them all and welcome them to the event. We have an amazing team of volunteers Including Eilecia Bovard, Lauren Brenner and Christina Weber the founder of Feminine Weapon working with me on this so I am hoping everything goes smoothly and the audience will have a one of a kind experience.
August: How can people unable to make it to the NYC participate or learn more about the cause?
Dr. Sara: The event will be live online after the event—at least the main clips. All of the news about this event and the rest of the events from all around the world could be seen and followed on our global Facebook page: www.facebook.com/4sept.
I will be organizing this event every year in the U.S. and Canada, so if anyone is interested in participating in next year’s event I encourage them to get in touch with us and nominate themselves and their skills and talents. We are only growing bigger and more amazing from this point onward so we welcome anyone who would like to join us.
August: If you could wave a magic wand and cause one change regarding world sexual health in an instant, what would you choose?
Dr. Sara: I would wish for sex to be considered a normal part of a human’s identity…and for noncoercive, meaningful sexual encounters for all.
Isn’t she spectacular? How excited are you all for this landmark day? If you aren’t able to celebrate with us in person, I hope you’ll stay tuned via the web and consider honoring sexual health in some way on your own—on September 9th, and continually.
For more information on the World Sexual Health Day Celebration in New York, visit the Cutting Room. To stay tuned to Dr. Sara’s wonderful work and insight, “like” her Facebook page and follow her on Twitter: @Dr_Sara_. Trust me, you’re in for a treat! I’ll be sharing my own World Sexual Health Day experiences on the Girl Boner Facebook page and Twitter: @AugstMcLaughlin (#GirlBoner).
We’d love to hear from you! Any thoughts or questions regarding World Sexual Health Day? If you could wave your own magic wand regarding sexual health, what would you make happen in your own life? What makes you feel sexually healthy?
Gloria Richard Author says
August, I’m certain you have some sense for how much I crave the ability to be there and witness this event. Witness? Hell, participate is more appropriate. I suspect the event will encourage open dialog and active participation in debunking those debilitating social extremes.
I experienced a phew(!) when the question was asked and answered about how those of us who can’t attend can still connect with the event.
Off now to order The Orgasm Answer Guide.
I was the not-so-nerdy, but fascinated kid in school who never let a math or chemistry or logic problem beat her. I apply the same enthusiasm now to discovering my sensuality.
Mind if I send you an off-loop email about a sticky wicket question I’d rather not discuss in a public forum?
August McLaughlin says
You’ll be there in spirit, Gloria! Thanks so much for he support. I hope you enjoy Dr. Sara’s book – and strongly suspect that you will.
Of course! Email away.
Cheers to World Sexual Health Day!
August McLaughlin says
WSHD, at last something to clap about.
Sorry August I couldn’t let that one slip by. I wholeheartedly support this event, (can’t get there though) anything that highlights the need for sensible, adult discussion on the whole gamut of health issues is long overdue. For too long society has moralised over STD’s instead of preventing the spread of them by informing people, especially teens about the effects of and methods to counteract the various diseases.
(There, I can stay serious)
August McLaughlin says
Thanks so much for the support, Laurie – and for the laugh! I absolutely agree about the erroneous focus of most sex ed courses and society as a whole. It’s refreshing to see some changes in the works, and an honor to be involved in any way. I’ll be sure to share highlights!
You’re welcome August, just because a disease is in the area of sexual health it shouldn’t be looked at differently.
Kitt Crescendo says
What a fantastic day! Like Gloria, I wish I could be there in person to join in the festivities…and Argentine Tango music? Fabulous! Dr. Sara seems wonderful and knowledgeable. I’m going to head off to follow her on Twitter.
August McLaughlin says
I selfishly wish you could join us, too! I promise to take good notes. You’ll enjoy Dr. Sara’s messages – she’s fabulous – like you!