The somewhat delayed arrival of the British delegation at the Venue for NECSE13 in Denmark was due to a plethora or reasons but after some frantic dashing through stations and cancelled trains we finally made it to a tiny country station by the Danish north coast of the Jutland peninsula. Having been picked up and taken to the scout camp that was to be our home for the next 4 days we had the delegation presentations. This was the introduction of each country’s teams to the rest of the conference. After this there was a round of ‘speed dating’ to start the mingling process.
Starting at 0800 on Firday was a chance for us Brits to demonstrate our sporting prowess with a morning run. A nice 30 minute jog along the sandy, but covered in snow, beach was an extremely surreal experience. The beautiful coast followed but the mysterious forests on the return leg dotted with IKEAesque houses was a perfect start to the morning. Followed by breakfast, continental of course- the Danish bacon was saved until the last morning!
Then the method exchanges began- the real reason we were all there. Each country was given 50 minutes over the course of the conference to showcase some new and innovative methods for teaching Sexual Health. This extend to all areas of the subject from porn to body image, from relationships to STIs.
Sweden kicked us off with some methods to challenge our preconceptions and society’s norms and prejudices which prompted discussions about heteronormativity and sexuality. They finished with a fun game to get us all running around like crazy 10 year olds!
This was followed by Estonia’s exchange, they never fail to find new and exciting things to show us and also had put together a presentation showing what they had been up to in their own peer teaching programme back home. The girls (we have never seen an Estonian man at NECSE) showed us as broad range of methods, including some which were useful for more mature age groups and one in particular to do with the huge range of sex toys available now was made to challenge the attitude ‘I already know everything about sex’ which can be an issue with that type of audience.
After a lunch cooked, as always, by the Organising Committee, we had a very informative talk from Nicholas Barbano. Nicholas is a Danish film director and is an expert on the pornographic genre and its history, having produced several films himself. He gave us a history of porn and challenged our preconceptions about this genre, as well as showing us some of his work and some iconic scenes from early movies.
Unfortunately the Polish were not able to make it so we moved on to the German exchange which included a method to tackle homophobia by challenging the group ‘how do you know you’re straight?’ A particularly interesting method was called questions to the other sex where the room was divided into males and female and each group had to opportunity to write down several questions about the others that they really wanted the answers for! These were then answered honestly by the appropriate groups.
The afternoon activity consisted of a massive game of Danish Baseball, which seemed to translate to us Brits as rounders. That said, it was a great run around and a fun bit of NECSE spirit building.!
After dinner we had a ‘Fairy-Tale Mania’ themed party where we were all assigned different teams (Princesses, Trolls, Witches, Kings etc.) and had to compete in various party games, apple bobbing, ballroom dancing and even signing with a potato in your mouth! A fantastic time was had by all, with a victory for the Princesses and Trolls!