Sex, sexuality, sexual health and pleasure, the taboo topics in our society are finally finding voice thanks to social media where sex educators have found a platform to spread, information, awareness, and education through their contents.
At Infano, we try our best to create meaningful conversations around the less talked about topics surrounding women’s health. With this in mind, we bring to you our first Masterclass on understanding Clitoral pleasure “Clit Chat” to help people with vaginas, vulvas, and clitoris to experience pleasure.
“Clit Chat” is an experience uniquely designed by Karishma Swarup to get people talking about the clitoris and other parts of the vulva that allow people to experience sexual pleasure.
But who is Karishma Swarup?
Karishma (she/her) is an internationally experienced sexuality educator and advocate who holds an undergraduate degree in Geology-Biology from Brown University and runs a sex ed Instagram page @talkyounevergot. Karishma was recently awarded “Influencer of the Year 2021” by UK’s NHS SH:24 and Brook.
In this interview with Infano, she opens up about the need for sexual education, sexual health and pleasure in the sexual context.
· Tell us about yourself and how your career as a sex educator began?
My experience and learning about this field came from working with an NGO named Planned Parenthood, an organization in the US that offers different sexual health and reproductive health services including sex ed. I was a part of a student organization where we taught sex ed to high school students in the area. Working with them, I got 3 years of field experience. After graduating, I worked as a middle school science teacher in Brooklyn before I began her work in sex Ed. I conduct workshops & online webinars with top educational institutions, student groups, and young adults. And also volunteer for Scarleteen, USA, one of the oldest sex ed websites for young people around the world.
· What do you think is lacking when it comes to sex education in our schools and society?
Everything is lacking in India today, a lot of people have misconceptions around what sex education even means. Sex education is not just the biology chapter in the textbooks, but in reality, sex education is so much more than that. Good comprehensive sexuality education is a more holistic practice that should include STI, consent, pleasure, including gender and identity as well. Some schools have menstrual education classes but there again they may split the boys and girls.
· What education or courses does one need to do to become qualified as a sex educator?
There is no such course in India. People just come at it from different angles like there may be doctors who work for its advocacy. Or some school counselors branch into this work as sex therapists or teachers and parents who are motivated talk about it. People who have worked in the mental health space and have worked with the youth gravitate more towards this as a specialty. Some NGOs too offer training programs like NFOLD, Tata Institute of Social sciences, but for certification, one can choose to take International courses if one wishes and can approach it from whichever angle they wish and facilitate conversations around it.
· Why do you think it is important to talk about sexual health when imparting sexual education?
Sexual health is a very important part of sex education and a lot of fear and misconception comes from not knowing enough about how to be safe and have safer sex. All that people are worried about is unwanted pregnancy and want to know what sexual acts are safe to perform and which ones are not. But we also should expand the conversation to include talking about how to prevent STI transmissions, how condoms work. No one talks much about STIs as there are so many stigmas attached to this topic that many people choose to suffer in silence. So we need to start this topic from a young age. Also, there have to be conversations about consent in both the context of abuse as well as relationships.
· How open do you think society is becoming when it comes to a topic like this?
Society today is much more open than it was five or ten years ago and even more than it was fifty years ago but in pockets of society, this kind of conversation has been happening for decades. There are organizations like TARSHI that have been doing sex education for a few decades. But yes, talking about sex is becoming more mainstream today with the advent of social media as people have access to other people who are sharing this information so I think society is becoming more open to a topic like this. Still, most people are afraid to utter the word sex leave alone talk about sex education in a more holistic, non-judgmental way. So it still has a long way to go
· Do you receive trolling and criticism online / offline for what you do or have people around been supportive?
There is definitely trolling but not as much as I expected. The general response has just questions. People have just so many questions that they need to be answered or want to talk about with a source that they can turn to that it is almost overwhelming at times to see the number of people reaching out to me. Or sometimes it is just a single person with a lot of questions.
· What is that one myth that you think needs to be broken ASAP when it comes to sex?
The fact that older adults think that young people don’t have sex or maybe they choose to ignore the fact that it is happening, is one myth that needs to be busted. People are having sex, outside of marriage and traditional societal structures so this denial and giant myth that seems to exist because of peoples unwillingness to accept the fact that indeed young people are having sex and not providing them the care, resources, and information that they need to be healthy, successful individuals.
· Why is it important to understand about clitoral pleasure and why are you advocating about it? What can one expect from this class with Infano?
According to a research-only 4% of people with vaginas orgasm through intercourse alone, 34% orgasm from direct clitoral stimulation alone and 43% orgasm from direct clitoral stimulation + intercourse! So if people can identify the clitoris and learn clitoral stimulation, the act becomes more pleasurable. This class will teach you ways to achieve pleasure through that. So if you are So if you’re someone with a vagina/vulva, or If you’re sleeping with someone who has a clitoris, then this class is definitely for you.