hand touching phone screen | technology
Why do we NEED to talk about technology and sexuality?

We need to update our sex ed to address more questions about sexuality, including the role of technology.

Caricature of Ella Dorval Hall

By Ella Dorval Hall

January 30, 2020

How are young people using technology to tend to their sexuality? How is technology shaping young peoples’ intimacy? And how do professionals incorporate these topics into their work?

Today technology feels undeniably baked into sexuality—dating apps, porn, smartphone-controlled sex toys, social media, sugar daddy apps, virtual reality, gifs, etc. Relationships often start online, and partners can maneuver our sex toys from their phones across town.

Un/Filtered: Sexuality in the Connected Age aims to do just that. The Healthy Teen Network 2020 national conference is designed to give professionals the opportunity to explore some of the most pertinent questions about sexuality today.

But have we had the space to ask questions about how young people are really using technology when it comes to their sexuality? How do they feel about pornography and sexting? What kind of relationships have they started (or ended) on dating apps?

And have professionals been given the education and training to address these topics in the classroom, clinic, or health department? What questions do professionals have about how to do this?

How do I talk about Instagram and Tinder with students or patients?

What kind of skills do young people need to make empowered, pleasurable, and healthy decisions about their online identities, and how do I facilitate this?

We need to update our sex ed.

Un/Filtered: Sexuality in the Connected Age aims to do just that. The Healthy Teen Network 2020 national conference is designed to give professionals the opportunity to explore some of the most pertinent questions about sexuality today.

As professionals, we cannot only react to technology’s connection to young people’s sexuality; we must be proactive in leveraging technology to meet the sexual health needs relevant in real life.

For example, we could learn from professionals who are using virtual assistants to teach us about sex and contraception. Or further explore questions like why young people are watching porn?

What else do YOU want to learn about? What do YOU have to share?

The Call for Proposals is now open and ready for you to share your ideas—what’s worked for you, or not, as you work to better equip young people to develop healthy sexualities in today’s connected age? We invite you to submit your proposal and join us in Portland, November 14-18, 2020.

Ella Dorval Hall was previously employed with Healthy Teen Network as a Capacity Building Specialist.