As a proud partner for the inaugural Sugar & Spice Festival that’s happening this 1-15 August 2020, we are bringing you this series of interviews with presenters so that you get to know them better and their workshops.
Today, we speak to Jasmine King, a sex-positive advocate from Malaysia, who will be presenting the workshops “Dating In The Digital Age: Exploring Boundaries and Self-Worth” on the 13th August and “Vulva Pleasure 101” on the 10th August. We ask her some questions about the workshops and her background. Please enjoy and do sign up for the festival!
Q: Now that we are in the middle of a pandemic, what trends do you see in the online dating scene?
At the beginning of the pandemic, there was a huge soar in the usage of dating apps. Tinder, for example, recorded more than 3 BILLION swipes on their app on 29th March – the most swipes on any single day in history! So many months have passed since then, but I definitely don’t see online dating slowing down anytime soon. The lockdown regulations, especially in Malaysia, have definitely relaxed recently and people have since started going out, so real-life dating would definitely be an option now but with extra precautions. I know friends who decide to opt for house dates instead of going to restaurants just for that extra safety measure. Or some would even opt to get off online dating altogether until they know for sure that it’s safe to meet new people again.
Q: What lessons do you want for both men and women to draw from in your Vulva Pleasure workshop?
I would love for participants, especially vulva owners themselves, to know that their bodies are not ‘flawed’ just because they take a ‘longer’ time to have an orgasm. In actual fact, we don’t take long at all, it’s just that we’ve been fed with unrealistic sexual expectations from movies and porn where they depict women’s sexual and orgasm experience to be the same as men’s which is completely false.
Q: What are some of the most crucial sexual health issues you encounter in your work?
Medical issues aside, I would say culturally, there’s still a big discrepancy between us and Westerners in asking for what you want – fulfilling needs or acknowledging boundaries. As Asians, I feel like we are afraid to say what we think or want, fearing that we would come off too strong, rude or insensitive. As such, we keep our needs or displeasure to ourselves, which isn’t the most healthy, especially if you’re in a long-term relationship – or any relationship really.
Q: Tell us about your journey in working as a Positive Sex Educator.
I have always been passionate about sexual health ever since I was a teenager. As a teenager in the 2000’s, that was when the Internet and mobile phones became extremely popular and accessible to everyone, especially to us teens. Back then, while porn and sexualised media weren’t as widespread and varied as they are today, the fact that they were just a click away on the Internet and could be easily shared by everyone via phones was a huge thing. Nonetheless, I was puzzled by the fact that even if that was the case, there was still a huge taboo and stigma surrounding sex and sexuality.
Thus, I decided to educate myself and share what I’ve learnt to my friends, and the interest just peaked since then. It wasn’t until 2 years ago where I decided to pick up where I left off with sexual health and started to seriously look into creating a platform (Ohheymissking) where I could dedicate myself to raising awareness about sexual health and intimacy, whilst breaking taboos and stigma, and sparking conversations on the topic.
Q: What are some cultural or religious sensitivities you have to face when discussing about sex in Malaysia?
I personally feel that there is a huge emphasis on being a virgin and how it relates heavily to being ‘pure’ and ‘worthy’, especially for women and girls. It’s definitely heavily tied in with religion and cultural values here, so much so that if a woman (or underage girl/teen) had an unwanted pregnancy whether by accident or unwanted sex, they are forced to get married to their partner or perpetrator in order to ‘cover’ the shame faced by the family and to ensure that the girl is not seen as ‘impure’ or ‘used’. It’s really problematic, but this has unfortunately been heavily ingrained in the society, especially in the one that I grew up in. I would imagine that this doesn’t just exclusively happen in Malaysia.
To sign up for Jasmine’s and other presenters’ workshops, do sign up for Sugar & Spice Festival at www.sugarandspice.asia.
Images: Jasmine King