Celebrating Sexual Health: Join us on 9/4 in NYC or LIVE Online!

What does sexual health mean to you? What springs first to mind? Something celebratory, I hope! Regardless, I hope you’ll join me and the incredible crew of the the 2nd annual World Sexual Health Day, North American celebration in NYC in-person or online this Thursday, September 4th.

Over 30 countries will be commemorating the holiday, which is an initiative of the World Association for Sexual Health aimed at broadening awareness and positivity surrounding sexual wellness, with a definition that goes far beyond the prevention and treatment of disease. I can’t tell you how stoked I am!

I’ll be hosting the phenomenal NYC event, which promises to be an evening rich with music, performance art, inspiring takeaways and captivating conversation. Having attended last year, I can honestly say it’s one of the most inspiring, thought-provoking events I’ve experienced.

If you’re in the New York area and would like to join us at the historic Cutting Room, you still can! For tickets and more details, visit ConnectionsABC.com.

To enjoy the event from your own living room, RSVP via Facebook here or simply start watching via Gander TV on Thursday, 9/4 at 7pm EST here: World Sexual Health Day LIVE STREAM

But wait. There’s more!

Yesterday, I had the privilege of interviewing one of the evening’s star performers, Jeffrey Solomon of Houses on the Moon Theater Company, on Girl Boner Radio. To listen to our chat about his work, the WSHD event and developing healthy attitudes about our own sexuality, stream or download the episode via iTunes here: Girl Boner Radio: Celebrating Your Sexual Health

About Jeffrey:
Writer-Performer Jeffrey Solomon is the co-Artistic Director of Houses on the Moon Theater Company. His solo play MotherSON has appeared Off Broadway, on London’s Off West End, in Melbourne Australia, India, Sri Lanka and the Philippines and is presented widely as an educational and support tool. MOTHER/SON won the Audience Favorite, Best Playwriting and Best Male Solo Performer at the Columbus National Gay and Lesbian Theatre Festival and Mr. Solomon won Best Male Performance at the Absolut Gay Theatre Festival in Dublin, Ireland. His other solo play SANTA CLAUS IS COMING OUT premiered at the Bailiwick in Chicago, ran Off Broadway the Kirk Playhouse and has toured nationally including the Diversionary Theatre in San Diego where it won a StageSceneLA’s Best Of 2010-2011 Award for Best Solo Performance. The play also received the Best of the National Gay and Lesbian Theatre Festival. Jeff wrote the pilot episode and was a staff writer for Jim Henson’s CITYKIDS, an issue based program for youth featuring new muppet characters, which was nominated for an Emmy for Best Children’s Special as well as winning a Golden Rose Award for Outstanding Human Values.
JeffreySolomon1

To stay in the loop regarding the event, follow @sexualhealthday on Twitter and visit the event page on Facebook. I hope to celebrate with you soon!

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! ♥

#WorldSexualHealthDay: An Interview with Dr. Sara Nasserzadeh

“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.

DrSara-photo for profile

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?