This article by Harmony Birch originally appeared April 4 in the Brattleboro Reformer.
BRATTLEBORO — It took Sierra Dickey, a member of The Women’s Action Team, until she was in her early 20s to realize that sex could be pleasurable for women.
“I did not know how to own my pleasure,” she said, crediting her lack of agency to poor experiences she had with sexual education.
That’s one of the reasons she and other team members decided to host a sexual education workshop for local teens. “Consent & Cookies: A Confidence-Building Workshop for Teens” will take place Sunday from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at the Headroom Stages, 17 Elliot St., in Brattleboro. The workshop is free and open to all genders ages 14 through 18.
The workshop is being led by Yana Tallon-Hicks, a sex and consent educator and writer and a couples and relationships therapist based in Western Massachusetts. She just opened a private practice in Brattleboro.
Tallon-Hicks’ workshop won’t be just about agency, but about how people of all genders can negotiate interactions in their lives sexually and nonsexually.
And she will be teaching about consent through cookie decorating.
“By partnering up and building each other frosted cookies with a variety of candy toppings, students learn strategies for asking questions, listening to their partners, seeking permission, how to avoid coercion, what to do when communication feels muddled, and how to explore and express their enthusiastic “yes[es],” she wrote.
Tallon-Hicks believes that the basics of sex are already understood by most teens.
“Google and smartphones have changed the game when it comes to the amount of sex education and sexual content available to youth. The average age of first exposure to internet porn in the U.S. is 11 years old,” she wrote. “Adults are foolish to think that they can control the messaging available to young people and then simply remain silent about it. Instead, we should all work harder to help young people find and utilize accurate information and develop their own abilities to think critically about the sex ed they’re consuming.”
Read full story at the Brattleboro Reformer.
(Fair use with written permission from the New England Newspapers Inc.)