By Lori Perkins
Prior to the pandemic, I would receive periodic invitations to panel discussions on sex, often promoting various new sex toy products, and offering a panel of esteemed sexperts giving their opinions and anecdotes to liven the product pitch. These evenings (usually after work) would end with a gift bag of product.
This week I was invited by Trojan condoms to one of these events with lunch (delicious by the way) in the middle of the day. I knew one of the panelists (a gay therapist) and I was eager to see if these kinds of events had changed after the past two years.
The panel was moderated by author, speaker, activist and Men’s Health columnist, Zach Zane, and featured Dr. Kate Balestrieri (Licensed Psychologist, Certified Sex Therapist, and Founder of Modern Intimacy), Dr. Joe Kort (Clinical Sexologist and Director of The Center for Relationship and Sexual Health) and Shadeen Francis (Certified Sex Therapist and Founding Expert of the Mine'd App)
The panel promised to explore issues of body sovereignty and advocacy, the rise in STIs, condom usage, and granting yourself permission to embrace your own needs and desires, which it did, but the issue that seemed to dominate the afternoon was, as Zach Zane said in his introduction, “Sex is so different now from 10 years ago, five years ago and even a year ago.”
Shadeen Francis also brought up how sexuality must reflect the changes in our culture over the past two years and how giving oneself permission to reject previous attitudes and mythologies of sexuality was important to embrace their own personal pleasure. She said, “we must constantly question what we’ve been told by calling systems by name or stop blaming the messenger for a systemic problem of sexism, abelism, heteroism, and racism.”
I left the discussion wondering how sex in America has changed after the pandemic and was pleased to be given the opportunity to hear about those issues from such a diverse group of sexperts. And, of course, I was given a wonderful gift bag of Trojan products which included the expected box of Trojan bareskin condoms but also a Trojan branded barbeque set, a lovely branded picnic blanket and bag to carry it all in!