12 episodes

Highly commended in the Irish Podcast Awards 2023 – Best Sex & Relationships podcastDo you remember all the family gatherings spent discussing the joys of sex around the dinner table? Or the classes in school where your RE teacher showed you how to put a condom on a demonstrator? No? REALLY! If, like us, you didn’t have those cosy conversations about sex growing up, then this is the podcast for you! Big Sexy Talk is brought to you by Informing Choices NI. It is produced in mini-series format, with each collection of episodes focusing on a different area of sexual and reproductive health. We conduct in-depth interviews with key influencers, and provide information on sexual and reproductive health services. Join us on a journey as we create a culture of openness about sexual and reproductive health and empower people with the information they need to make informed choices. After all this is a sexual health podcast, so it is.

Big Sexy Talk Informing Choices NI

    • Health & Fitness

Highly commended in the Irish Podcast Awards 2023 – Best Sex & Relationships podcastDo you remember all the family gatherings spent discussing the joys of sex around the dinner table? Or the classes in school where your RE teacher showed you how to put a condom on a demonstrator? No? REALLY! If, like us, you didn’t have those cosy conversations about sex growing up, then this is the podcast for you! Big Sexy Talk is brought to you by Informing Choices NI. It is produced in mini-series format, with each collection of episodes focusing on a different area of sexual and reproductive health. We conduct in-depth interviews with key influencers, and provide information on sexual and reproductive health services. Join us on a journey as we create a culture of openness about sexual and reproductive health and empower people with the information they need to make informed choices. After all this is a sexual health podcast, so it is.

    2.01: (Mary Crawford) - 'Mummy said here’s a letter for you'

    2.01: (Mary Crawford) - 'Mummy said here’s a letter for you'

    The opening episode of series two contains an in-depth interview with Mary Crawford. Mary was the CEO of the Brook Advisory Clinic in Northern Ireland for 25 years, and oversaw the organisations transition to Common Youth before retiring in 2018. She is a veteran pro-choice campaigner, and a Trustee of Informing Choices NI.

    Mary reflects on the sex education she received growing up; being involved in abortion rights campaigns as a student in the 1970s; running personal development courses at Youth Action; the opening of the Brook Advisory Clinic in Belfast in 1992; the impact of protests and being targeted within her local area; meeting with former Northern Ireland Secretary of State Mo Mowlam MP; delivering relationships and sexuality education (RSE) programmes in community settings; providing sexual health services to young men; the decline in teenage pregnancy rates; and what constitutes good RSE.

    If you would like support around a sexual health issue you can call the Sexual Health Helpline on 028 9031 6100.

    Useful links
    https://informingchoicesni.org/
    https://commonyouth.com/

    Resources
    An Early Day Motion from 1991 regarding the proposed establishment of a Brook Advisory Centre in Belfast

    News articles
    A BBC News article regarding the firebombing of the Ulster Pregnancy Advisory Association which references the letters sent to Mary Crawford's neighbours

    A Belfast Telegraph article regarding the provision of young men's sexual health clinics by Brook NI

    A Guardian article regarding relationships and sexuality education in Northern Ireland

    A platform piece by Mary Crawford in the agendaNi publication regarding sexual health in the 21st century 

    • 1 hr 8 min
    2.02: (Professor Dirk Schubotz) - Conducting sexual health research with young people

    2.02: (Professor Dirk Schubotz) - Conducting sexual health research with young people

    This episode contains an in-depth interview with Professor Dirk Schubotz. Dirk is a professor in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work at Queen’s University Belfast and has conducted vast amounts of research in the areas of sexuality, sexual health, and gender. He is a member of ARK, Northern Ireland's Social Policy Hub, and has directed the annual Young Life and Times survey of 16-year-olds since 2003. He is also a Trustee of Common Youth.

    Dirk reflects on growing up in East Berlin before the fall of the Berlin Wall; his background in youth work; attending the first Pride parade to take place in Belfast; producing the first large scale study into the sexual attitudes and experiences of young people in Northern Ireland; interacting with schools on conducting a survey regarding young people's views on homosexuality and abortion; young people's experiences of relationships and sexuality education (RSE); findings from the Young Life and Times Survey; working with the Belfast Youth Forum to produce their 'Any Use?' report on RSE; and his aspirations around sexual health in Northern Ireland going forward.

    If you would like support around a sexual health issue you can call the Sexual Health Helpline on 028 9031 6100.

    Useful links
    https://informingchoicesni.org/
    https://www.ark.ac.uk/ARK/ylt

    Resources
    Any Use? report: Young people’s opinions on Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) in Belfast

    Sticks and Stones?  Violence experiences of 16-year olds in Northern Ireland

    Sexual risks and capacities: Developing a peer-led educational resource to address sexual risks among young people 

    Relationships and Sexuality Education and Homophobic and Transphobic Name Calling

    • 46 min
    2.03: (Ellen Taylor) - How do you get rid of a stigma?

    2.03: (Ellen Taylor) - How do you get rid of a stigma?

    This episode contains an in-depth interview with Ellen Taylor. Ellen is the Vice President and Community Relations Officer of the Secondary Students’ Union of Northern Ireland and chair of the Newry, Mourne and Down Youth Council. She is starring in season 2 of the CBBC sci-fi adventure series Silverpoint, and is currently studying her A-Levels.

    During the interview Ellen reflects on school life during Covid-19; her involvement with the Secondary Students' Union of Northern Ireland; establishing a Feminist Society; producing a report into sexism and sexual harassment in schools; counselling services in schools; her experience of RSE and preferences on how it should be taught; the provision of information on sexual health services; social media and the influence of Andrew Tate; and her aspirations for sexual health, rights and education going forward.

    Useful links
    https://informingchoicesni.org/
    https://ssuni.org/

    Resources
    SSUNI Sexual Harassment and Sexism Survey

    News
    DUP's Jim Wells criticised for response to teenager who used 'The North' in email

    Period poverty: No free tampons in school 'adds stress to families'

    Students tell of anger at cuts to NI education services

    The Good Friday Agreement changed everything for Northern Ireland's young people - so teach them about it

    • 50 min
    2.04: (Yas Rodriguez) - A deafening roar of information

    2.04: (Yas Rodriguez) - A deafening roar of information

    This episode features an in-depth interview with Yas Rodriguez. Yas was born and raised in Cuba, before moving to Northern Ireland in her 20's, and has now lived in Belfast for the past 25 years. She is a parent, and a teacher, and is involved in several local community campaigns.

    During the interview Yas reflects upon her childhood in Cuba; the messages she received around sexual health and relationships; the process involved in establishing a new Code for Families; accessing sexual health services in Cuba; her experience of living in Northern Ireland, and the difference in attitudes around sex and relationships; her views on how RSE is taught in Northern Ireland; what issues the teaching of RSE raises for her as a parent; her views on how best to support parents to engage with their children around RSE; and her aspirations for sexual health, rights and education going forward.

    Useful links
    https://informingchoicesni.org/

    News
    Cuba Family Code: Country votes to legalise same-sex marriage

    • 45 min
    2.05: (Joe Harris) - It's more than a condom demonstration

    2.05: (Joe Harris) - It's more than a condom demonstration

    This episode features an in-depth interview with Joe Harris. Joe has worked in the field of sexual health for almost 30 years, during which time he has been employed in both the community and statutory sectors. He worked for the Family Planning Association in Northern Ireland as a Project Officer before joining the Belfast Trust Sexual Health Training Team. Joe is the sexual health lead for the Health Improvement Team within the Belfast Trust, and organises the Annual Regional Sexual Health Conference in Northern Ireland. He is also a Trustee of Common Youth.

    During the interview Joe reflects on the messages he received around relationships and sexuality growing up; his early career and journey into the field of sexual health; working with young men and the issues they faced; providing RSE training to teachers; changing attitudes towards the teaching of RSE; the recent changes announced to the education curriculum by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland; involving parents in the teaching of RSE; the upcoming Annual Regional Sexual Health Conference; and his aspirations for sexual and reproductive health going forward.

    Useful links
    https://informingchoicesni.org/

    Legislation
    The Relationships and Sexuality Education (Northern Ireland) (Amendment) Regulations 2023

    Consultation
    Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) Consultation

    Research
    Any use? report

    A thematic evaluation of the preventative curriculum in schools and EOTAS centres

    Relationships and Sexuality Education in Post Primary Schools in Northern Ireland: A Compelling Case for Reform

    • 50 min
    1.01: (Georgie McCormick) - Abortion in the Yellow Pages

    1.01: (Georgie McCormick) - Abortion in the Yellow Pages

    This episode contains an in-depth interview with Georgie McCormick. Georgie joined the Family Planning Association (FPA) in Northern Ireland in 1986 and is an experienced trainer and facilitator in all areas of sexuality.

    Georgie discusses delivering sexual health workshops in community settings in the 1980s and 90s; the impact of the conflict in Northern Ireland on reaching out to groups; working with men on sexual health issues; the advancements in pregnancy testing; the formation of FPA's pregnancy counselling service; the barriers facing women accessing abortion services; the importance of non-directive information and support when discussing pregnancy options; interactions with healthcare professionals; and her aspirations for sexual health going forward. After the interview the host and co-host discuss some of the key issues raised.

    If you would like support around a sexual health issue you can call the Sexual Health Helpline on 028 9031 6100.

    Useful links
    https://informingchoicesni.org/pregnancy-choices-counselling
    https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/abortion-services

    Resources
    Directions from Northern Ireland to an abortion clinic in the Netherlands - FPA NI information sheet which was provided to women travelling from Northern Ireland to the Netherlands to access abortion care.

    • 45 min

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