If you want to make a difference and help others while learning about sexual health and keeping yourself safe, then you need to join SMART Youth! You can come to any of our events around the city or come to one of our movie nights or Open Mic events. Check out our schedule to learn what we are doing or e-mail

Friday, January 30, 2015

[Taboo Talk III] Sex-R: Toy Story – Sex Toys

Last week was our third workshop of our Taboo Talk series. The topic of discussion was Sex Toys, so our Sex-R theme was Toy Story, naturally!

We've recently blogged about sex toys in the past, giving the 411 on what they are, their history, and how they can be used. Sex toys can be a great way to explore your own sexuality (re: masturbation), and can also be incorporated in many ways for sex with other people (foreplay, mutual masturbation, intercourse, etc)!

There’s no one way to use a sex toy. As long as the toy is being used safely and hygienically, sex toys can be used anywhere on the body that feels pleasurable. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

[Taboo Talk II] Sex-R: Finding Nemo – Masturbation

Two weeks ago, we had our second workshop for Taboo Talk series! This workshop was dedicated to the safest sex of them all: Masturbation, which is why our Sex-R theme was Finding Nemo.

Just so we're all on the same page, masturbation is the act of touching your own genitals for pleasure. We've talked and blogged in the past about how masturbation and self-exploration are common and healthy behaviors that help us learn about ourselves as sexual beings; yet we often find it awkward to talk about it…and when we do, it’s either in a joking way or in a shameful way. It’s hardly ever spoken about positively. We at SMART Youth want to change that!

Our guest facilitator, Melisa, led a discussion on how there are differences in the way masturbation is perceived based on many factors. Our participants told examples of how, depending on your gender and age, masturbation can be seen differently. When men are younger, masturbation is seen as something that every man does and cannot control. When women are younger, masturbation is seen as something that women just don’t do. As we get older, the societal perception changes and masturbation is seen as something that is done only when someone doesn’t have a sexual partner. We know that these are stereotypes and are NOT true! Not every man masturbates, and a lot of women do masturbate.

We also know that masturbation does not depend on having a sexual partner. Both people who are single or in relationships masturbate, and they’re equally okay! Plus, masturbation and mutual masturbation (when partners pleasure themselves in front of their partner or touch/rub their partners’ genitals for pleasure) can be part of foreplay and sex. If there is no transfer of fluids (or you’re following other precautions like using a barrier or washing hands), there is a suuuuper low risk for pregnancy or STI’s…making it the safest sex of them all!

You don’t only have to use your hands either. One can masturbate or do mutual masturbation with the aid of sex toys as well! We have an entire blog post and presentation dedicated to what sex toys are and how to use them.

One way we can reduce shame and start becoming more comfortable with talking about masturbation is to use better words to describe the act. Many of the phrases we use to describe masturbation include jerking off, diddle the skittle, or choke the monkey, which are either funny or sometimes violent. If instead we used more neutral and even more positive phrases like pleasuring yourself, fingering, or as one youth offered, happy time, it may make talking about masturbation a more positive and open topic!

Thank you to Melisa for taking the time out to facilitate such a fun and important meeting!

Friday, January 16, 2015

[Taboo Talk I] Sex-R: The Incredibles – Polyamory and Asexuality

Last week officially started our new series of workshops called Taboo Talk, where we discuss sexual topics that you normally wouldn't discuss in your traditional sex ed class. The theme of the series is Disney’s Pixar, therefore each workshop is named after a Pixar movie.

We often think of relationships as sexual partnerships that involve only two people…but what happens when a relationship doesn't look like that? Our movie theme for last Friday was The Incredibles and the topic was polyamory and asexuality; two things that many people have heard of, but often do not understand because of the misconceptions and myths about them.

Polyamory literally means “many loves” in Greek. In modern practice, polyamory is the idea of having multiple intimate relationships with different people at the same time. It’s also known as “consensual, ethical, and responsible non-monogamy.” In a polyamorous relationship, the knowledge and consent of everyone involved is mandatory, meaning all people in these types of relationships know that they’re in one and are okay with it.

Polyamory can take many forms, ranging from a person having multiple separate relationships to a group of people having relationships with each other. Polyamory not the same as polygamy; polygamy usually involves one man with multiple wives, but not the other way around. Having another relationship with someone else without your partner knowing is also not polyamory. Like mentioned before, all people involved must know and be in agreement with one another.

On the flip side, asexuality is a sexual identity where someone does not feel sexual attraction to or desire for anyone. Often, people who are asexual prefer romantic non-sexual relationships, but some also may not.

Just because a person identifies as asexual does not necessarily mean that asexual people do not have sex; people who identify as asexual may have sex for other reasons such as pleasing their partner or to have children. Asexual people can also identify with having romantic or emotional attractions to people similar to how a sexual person may identify as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, etc; they just won’t feel a sexual attraction towards them.

There are a lot of misconceptions associated with both polyamory and asexuality for many reasons, ranging from media misrepresentation (or lack of representation) to just having never met someone who expressed that they are polyamorous or asexual. The best thing you can do is to do your research and talk to folk who identify as polyamorous or asexual!

  • To learn more about Polyamory, visit More Than Two at:
  • To learn more about Asexuality, visit Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) at:

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

SMART Youth January & February Calendar

Happy New Year!!
To celebrate, SMART Youth has some fantastic workshops and events coming up for January and February. Join us for our Taboo Talk series, where you'll learn about the stuff you don't learn in school sex ed like fetishes, sex toys, and more! This all leads up to our annual Valentine's Day event! Right after that, we will also have our annual National Women and Girls HIV Awareness Day event. We hope to see you all there!