When I was young, I grew up in a relatively sheltered and conservative environment.
My parents weren’t strict to the point where I wasn’t allowed any freedom of any sort, but I was often protected from information that I could, in hindsight, really have benefited from.
There may be a lot of gaps in my memory, but one of the few things I remember my mother talking about is my period – and that’s only when I ran to her in a blind panic about the brownish-red spots I first saw in my underwear when I was 12 years old.
She had to tell me about it because she couldn’t avoid the evidence she was confronted with.
Of course, my parents are far more relaxed these days – and I think one of the things my mom certainly regrets now is not leaving me in a position to find out more about my body in a safe environment.
READ MORE: Here are 12 things your medical practitioner wishes you knew about your sexual health
And while I am pretty sure that I was given books around the topic, how much I really understood about my own body’s inner workings has always felt like navigating a labyrinth without a sense of proper direction.
So yes, I lament that most of my sexual health education came from school and sneakily read raunchy novels under the covers (I was also curious about pleasure). I not only wanted to have someone to talk to about my body’s changes, but I also wanted to understand what was happening to me in terms of all my bodily functions relating to both hormonal changes and growth spurts.
I was super uncomfortable with being an early developer and my big breasts quickly became a source of amusement for the kids in the playground – something that eventually led me to undergoing a breast reduction.
When I think of what I’ve come to know and understand about my body today, I know now that I would have wanted someone to have a proper sit down with me. Not just in terms of school education, but from a more personable level.
Of course, it’s easier said than done, because when it comes to body and sex issues, not everyone feels comfortable enough talking about what they’re experiencing.
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Which is exactly where the Real Talk App comes in.
According to reports from Teen Vogue, this app is a safe community space created for teens who want to talk about and be more informed about sexual health and sex education.
It’s an app that has been designed to create an environment where teens can not only freely talk about issues they don’t quite understand, but it also provides them with a list of easily accessible health resources.
After doing a quick search, we discovered that it’s currently only available on iOS devices for now, but hopefully it will expand across to android as well so that even more teens could access this handy resource. Especially since android devices are more affordable.
The app features stories by and from teens and deals with a range of topics that discuss everything from gender identity, sexual attraction, to relationship issues. It's user friendly and, more importantly very supportive and inclusive towards the LGBTQIA community.
The user-friendly format looks like you’re receiving a text message from your friend. Each personal story is paired with a health resource so that users have the benefit of not only relating to a dilemma in question, but being provided with information rooted in medical fact and information.
Users can browse through different topics they’ve never felt comfortable asking someone about. Without judgement.
The women behind the app, Vichi Jagannathan, Liz Chen, and Cristina Leos wanted to bridge the gap in sexual education and bring a more human element to their app by crowdsourcing stories that would allow teens to not only feel heard but would tell that kind of stories that go beyond the taboo.
And in doing so, an app like this sends out the message that there is a safe space to talk about sexuality, one where you can do so without being ashamed of questions you’ve always wanted answered.
Most importantly, Real Talk certainly aims to tell teens that they’re not alone in their journey and that there is no need to feel awkward about the things they go through especially tied to questions around their body, sexuality and identity.
I know I certainly would have benefited from an app like this.
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