UN/FILTERED: SEXUALITY IN THE CONNECTED AGE
It’s Almost Here…#HealthyTeen20

Dating apps, sexting, user-generated media, sex toys powered by AI, viral memes, porn…and so much more. Ready to talk about sexuality in the connected age? 

By Janet Max, MPH, CHES

By Rhoda Smith, Board Chair

Novemeber 13, 2020

Back in 2019 (was that only last year?), knowing technology and sexuality have become so intertwined, for #HealthyTeen20, we wanted to explore the theme of sexuality in this “connected age.”

Today (thanks, COVID-19), our theme is more relevant than ever. Just about everything is virtual for most of us these days. And we know that is making a difference for the youth we serve.

We are so very disappointed we aren’t packing our bags right now and getting ready to make our way to Portland to see you all in person. Healthy Teen Network has held a national conference every year, since we were founded in 1979…but this is the first time we’ve ever had to have it virtually.

And so it goes. We adjust. We adapt.  

The good news is that we’re still able to come together, to share our successes and heartbreaks, to talk through some of the current challenges we’re seeing with our youth, and as always, to continue to build our skills and knowledge, so we can be there for our youth.

The good news is that we’re still able to come together, to share our successes and heartbreaks, to talk through some of the current challenges we’re seeing with our youth, and as always, to continue to build our skills and knowledge, so we can be there for our youth. The good news is that we’re still able to come together, to share our successes and heartbreaks, to talk through some of the current challenges we’re seeing with our youth, and as always, to continue to build our skills and knowledge, so we can be there for our youth.

Going all virtual for an event this big is new to us…there are sure to be some hiccups, but we hope you’ll all feel comfortable enough to talk and share. The magic we see at conference happens from the conversations, the connections, the networking, and while it’s going to be different this year, we can still do it. 

Andrea Burrica

Andrea Barrica, sextech entrepreneur and founder of O.school and the author of Sextech Revolution: the Future of Sexual Wellness.

Monday

We’ll kick off conference with Andrea Barricasextech entrepreneur and founder of O.school and the author of Sextech Revolution: the Future of Sexual WellnessFrom sexting, to dating apps, and watching porn, young people are connected to technology and digital media more than ever, and this connectivity is helping shape their virtual and physical relationships with others.  

Andrea will help us start the conversation about how technology will continue to shape how we experience sexuality and relationships, and how we can take advantage of the platform it provides to promote sexual wellness for all, but mostly for sexual minorities often left out of traditional sexual health messaging. 

Next, we jump into a new session for us: showcases, where you can pop in and out, in 15-minute increments, to get fast and essential information about different programs and approaches. 

Tuesday

It’s time for our breakout sessions—definitely take a look at your options, though we know it will be hard to choose just one per session! Please do use the chat box to chime in and ask questions. Then we’ve got our poster sessions, where you can wander in and out to have fast and informal conversations with our presenters.

Porn: A Conversation with Sex Workers and Sex Educators

Wednesday

We’ve got more breakouts, then we wrap it up with our plenary session. Join adult film performer, sex worker, and sex ed workshop leader Mia Little for a provocative, interdisciplinary conversation with sex workers and sex educators. The topic: Pornography. 

They will be joined by panelists who either produce porn, study porn, teach about it, or do some combination of the three: Mani Bleechington, King Noire, Jet Setting Jasmine, Jessica Melendez, Avry Schellenbach, Gillian Silver, and Hilary Towle. 

Few topics are perhaps more relevant for understanding sexuality in the connected age than pornography. With fast connections and ubiquitous smartphones, today’s technologies make it easier than ever to interact with porn—and we know young people are.

Are you ready? We can’t wait! 

Janet Max, MPH, CHES, is the Healthy Teen Network Interim President & CEO and oversees our strategic planning and pursuit of our vision and mission. When not talking about bodies over dinner with her two kids, she can be found working her way through her endless stack of books. Read more about Janet

Rhoda Smith received her Bachelor of Psychology from California State University – Fullerton, MSW from the University of Southern California, and her PhD from Loma Linda University. She has 25 years of child welfare experience in California, ranging from child welfare social worker to child welfare training site director. As a social worker with lived experience as a teen mother and foster alum, she is committed to making an impact in the policy arena for foster youth. She plans to continue research which highlights wellbeing issues for foster youth transitioning from the system while navigating the challenges of parenthood. Read more