Tackling the role and meaning of sex during the lockdown, Doortje and I speak about the meaning and role of sex in times of high anxiety and despair. Working with couples across the world over the past two decades, I’ve noticed that sex is one of the main ways people cope with and manage their stress of various nature.
Especially in times like these, we are driven to consider basic needs of feeling safe, loved, and achieving agency over our bodies and lives. Some look at sex as a way to be reminded that they are alive, they can still find pleasure in life, and create comfort in the idea that there is one area that they can still control about their bodies and their intimate relationships. Some others refrain from it and need to feel safe first before allowing physical connections as such.
Doortje draws from her experience of 3 decades as a leader in the field of sexual health and wellbeing by sharing lessons learned from community education, the #MeToo movement, history and experiences of shame. She offers the idea that kindness can serve as a lens through which healing can be achieved. She encourages us to be more compassionate, towards ourselves and others, around our need to express ourselves sexually during this time and have sexual connection as a primal need, a form of coping for many. She reminds us that sex is not just about orgasms but a range of physical touch that could bring one joy.
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About Doortje Braeken van Schaik
Doortje Braeken van Schaik has more than 35 years of experience in adolescent sexual reproductive health and rights, 25 of which with the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the largest sexual and reproductive health and rights organisation in the world, with expertise grounded in youth, gender and rights issues. During her career she has strived to include sexual rights and sexual wellbeing in her work, especially in sexuality education and services for young people. She initiated and is the co-author of a series of documents on youth participation, CSE including IPPF’s framework for comprehensive sexuality education. After her retirement in December 2016, Doortje has continued to work as a consultant for UN and international NGOs. She is the co-author of the recently published International Sexuality Education Guidelines by UNESCO. She is Honorary Fellow, University of Brighton, Department of Education, board member of the Global Advisory Board on Sexual Health and Wellbeing and received the golden medal by the World Association for Sexual Health for her contributions to Comprehensive Sexuality Education, in 2014.