In November 2019, before we launched OHT Stockholm, we had the pleasure of visiting one of OHT London's event and were fascinated by the topic they had: should technology play a part in our sex life?
Inspired by our friends in London, we wanted to bring the discussion to Stockholm. And fast forward to June, we welcomed four brilliant speakers to our stage (remotely, due to Covid-19), where we talked about all things related to our sexual health. Most importantly, we wanted to address how technology can empower us and allow us to take control of our sexual health.
Why sexual health?
First of all, it's (in my opinion) such an intriguing topic with many levels of depth! It is a topic relevant to all of us, regardless if you work in health-tech or not. And especially in light of social distancing and isolation during the pandemic, we wanted to understand how technology can help us in supporting our mental and sexual health needs.
We also connected with Natural Cycles at our launch event in February and saw this as the perfect opportunity to collaborate with them.
The other area we wanted to bring focus to was, of course, how can we raise awareness and promote inclusion for people of different genders, cultures, or those in different kinds of relationships. So often, the talk about sex, fertility and sexual health for centres around heterosexual couples, we end up missing a big chunk of what these mean everyone else.
Remote community and panel
Like many others, we had to pivot from planning a physical event at Natural Cycles's office to a remote one, and it made things difficult for a new hub like ours!
The problem to solve was, how can you duplicate the real-world "casual networking" that comes about naturally in physical meetups – where you wander and mingle during breaks – in a digital setting? Luckily, between a persistent team, a combination of digital tools and Natural Cycles as a great sponsor, we were able to pull it off.
The event itself
From lessons learned from our launch event back in February, we tested the heck out of everything, and managed to go through the evening without any major hiccups!
We kicked off the panel with Mitchell Isakka, Co-founder of Endometrix. He shared his thoughts on the challenges of diagnosing endometriosis, and how his company, Endometrix, hopes to bring more awareness and allow patients to understand their body and receive better quality care and treatment.
Charlotte Makboul, Sexologist at Närhetsakuten talked about the importance of sex education in destigmatizing the topic, and how closely our mental health is related to our sexual health.
Anna Nielson from Karolinska Institutet walked us through results of her clinical study, where they tried to increase condom usage amongst youth and reduce the risk of Chlamydia infection.
And lastly, Katarina Persson-Thomas, Senior product designer at Natural Cycles, rounded the panel off with her views on how tracking your periods and your cycles can lead to a better understanding of our bodies and reducing the uncomfortableness that traditionally surrounds this subject.
We had some very eye-opening discussions around why there is such hesitation when it comes to discussing the topics around our sexual health openly and honestly. One big reason is the lack of appropriate education, particularly when it comes to sex education in schools.
"[Sex education is] compulsory in Sweden, but teachers have little time. Teachers might also not have enough knowledge about the topic." – Anna Nielson
Cultural and societal pressure can also affect our ability to share our opinions openly. For example, it's still a social norm that every couple should want children. But the more we push for conversations like this, the easier it becomes for us to challenge and change the status quo, and technology has played a big part so far.
"In some cultures, we giggle and make fun of the issue to avoid the sex topic, but I believe if we talk more about it, then more normal it will be." – Katarina Persson-Thomas
As we sail into the summer here in Stockholm, the OHT Stockholm team will be taking a break. We will be back in full swing after the summer with more events (hopefully we can be together physically by then) and workshops!
But we also need your help: what do you feel is currently missing? What do you want us to do? You can share your ideas with us in this form: OHT Stockholm community board.
OHT Stockholm co-curator