On Taking Chances — and a Sexual Health Writing Contest!

Do you remember the last time you took a chance? I’m not talking about trying a new hair color or cuisine. I mean a CHANCE—something out of your comfort zone or unconventional that makes your heart flutter.

I sure do.

A couple of years ago, I decided to listen to the scream nudge in my gut, telling me to “just do something!” with a topic I’d grown increasingly passionate about. I wrote a blog post and boom: Girl Boner was born. Little did I know where it would lead, but the road since has proved my gut right. While much work remains, the brand has helped my journalism career flourish in a desired direction, introduced me to remarkable people, kickstarted my radio show and invited a variety of additional opportunities I hadn’t even dreamed of at the start, including the latest.

Everywhere I roamed, I sensed something was missing...

On September 4th, I’ll be hosting World Sexual Health Day, North America’s annual event in New York City, sharing the stage with Dr. Sara Nasserzadeh, Reverend Jes Kast-Keat and other phenomenal voices in the sexual wellness industry. I couldn’t be more honored! If you’ll be in the New York area, I hope you’ll join us! Regardless, you can participate. All it requires is taking a chance.

World Sexual Health Day, North America is running a WRITING CONTEST, open to anyone 21 or older in North America who has “an active interest in sexuality and sexual health and further seeks to promote and support their efforts for greater global awareness and community outreach” — in other words, most of you! (Yes, you with butterflies flapping in your belly right now included. ;))

WSHD 2014

Some of the perks of entering:

♦ You’ll contribute to the World Association for Sexual Health’s mission of heightening social awareness of sexual health across the globe. (Every step counts!)

♦ Unlike many other writing contests, there’s no entry fee.

♦ You could win publishing and exposure on the WSHD website, a congratulatory certificate and a nifty notch for your resume.

♦ Sharing of ourselves through story is fulfilling, growth-inducing and fun.

Here’s what they’re looking for:

♦ Personal memoir-style essays and poetry related to sexual health, in document or blog post form.

♦ Writing with a strong, clear voice by authors who are daring, original and unafraid to take risks.

♦ There’s no minimum length requirement, but your entry shouldn’t surpass 10 double-spaced pages.

Deadline: August 20th (extended from July 4th)

Prize announcements: The three winners will be announced on World Sexual Health Day in NYC, perhaps by yours truly! In addition to receiving a certificate, winners’ submissions will appear on the WSHD website with a bio and photo.

**If you’re not ready to publicly share what sexual health means to you, I imagine pseudonyms are welcome. As for those of you with no shame whatsoever (*clears throat* Kitt!), keep being you! 🙂

**If you enter as a blogger, send me your link and I’ll share it in my follow-up post!

Maybe you’re all about going out on a limb, or the thought of openly reflecting on sexual wellness only excites you—if so, kudos! Considering how often folks tell me they wish they could be more expressive regarding sexuality, I figured a little encouragement was in store.

You never know where the experience will lead. Perhaps the contest will prompt you to write more, think more or share more. You may touch more hearts and minds than you’ll know. For whatever reason, I hope you’ll consider joining! Regardless, I hope you’re continually finding ways to spread your wings.

For full details and to access the application form, visit the WSHD Writing Contest.

What do you say, will you join? What writing experience has had a significant influence in your life? I love hearing from you! ♥

Leave a comment


  1. I *never* write about sexuality in my own spaces, but the contest is something to consider. Thanks for sharing!

    (I’m just getting around to subscribing to my fellow VOTY readers’ blogs. I look forward to reading your words regularly!)

  2. Reblogged this on Author Dana Ellington Myles and commented:
    Here’s news of a writing contest and a great post of information from a blog I highly recommend you follow :-).

  3. Congratulations! I love your Girl Boner posts I’m so glad you took a chance and went after your passion.

  4. laurie27wsmith

     /  August 6, 2014

    Sadly I can’t enter August, as you know I’m Down Under. My advice? ‘Wash your bits people.’ 😉

  5. Suh-weet! I will be checking out the contest and am so pumped for you to MC the event, August! Kudos and Kegels!

  6. Raani York

     /  August 7, 2014

    This is surely something to consider. Thanks for the information, August. I’m not sure yet I will be able to participate, but I might try. 🙂

  7. Something is gestating in my mind. later tonight, after the house settles in, and I’ve had a hot shower, i’m going to see what emerges.

    I am so, so happy for you, and this opportunity. You are very inspirational to me, and I know I’m not remotely alone!

    Looking forward to meeting you! =D

  8. Wow, that is so cool that you’re going to be the host for this! Congrats, Lady!! I’ll have to give some thought to what I might write for it.

  9. My post is up – next, to officially enter the contest! Here’s a link for you, August! =)


  10. Question for you, August. I wrote a blog post for the contest, and I will submit it to them. I won’t be able to post it on our blog until Aug. 27th, however. I’m assuming that isn’t a problem.

    I’ll send you a link once I’ve got it up. Thanks for letting us know about this.

    On, btw, you are mentioned in the post. Would you prefer to be called, the illustrious, the delightful or the infamous August McLaughlin, creator of #GirlBoner…. ;D (I’m leaning toward the illustrious, although you are also quite delightful!)

    • I don’t think that’s a problem at all, Kassandra. I’d just mention to them that it will appear on your blog on 8/17. The winners won’t be announced until 9/4.

      You’re so sweet. I suppose I’d prefer illustrious or delightful myself, but go with your gut! 🙂 Thanks in advance for the shout out and for entering the contest!

  11. I present “safe sex” talks to middle and high school classes. My initial role was to assess an agency’s presentation to see how effective they were in getting their message across… not very. So we revamped the program and I was roped into going into the classrooms to discuss these issues with grades 5-12.
    Why? 1.) These kids are already sexually active and no one is giving them the facts; 2) They want accurate and truthful information. (If the teacher consents to leave the room, the real picture emerges; 3) Sex can kill if proper precautions are not taken.
    My own kids have been getting an earful of my public health and safe sex “info-mom-mercials” for years. While I do not approve of casual sex, it is going to happen and I’d rather provide safe information than a lecture on behavior.

    • Thank you for doing such important work! Your non-lecturing approach seems a lot more effective that what’s typically available.

      I recall only fear tactics and “just say ‘no'” from my early sex education. While learning about disease and proper precautions is vital, I wish more girls learned about sexual pleasure and to embrace their bodies and sexuality as beautiful.

  12. Dang. I wish I’d had time this season to contribute. Maybe next year. For sure, though, I know you will make us all proud….and I’ll be lending some social media support on various fronts. *hugs*

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