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This is Anna. She is our new sexual health, sexuality and relationship expert. Holding a Masters from DCU in Sexuality Studies, Anna has delivered sex education programmes to young people all over Ireland, and for some reason always has a banana with her….

If you have any questions, please send them on, this woman is unembarrasable…. (yes that’s a word, yes we just made it up).

Anna, tell us more about why you do what you do it?

For me its really important to try and have open conversations about sex, sexuality and relationships. I have never been the type to shy away from any type of chat so I felt I could use that for the good of others and try to teach about these important topics. I don’t claim to know it all but I feel that if we can get more comfortable talking about these things to our friends and family then it will enable us to find the right information for us, no matter what stage we are at in life. Plus its nearly always a giggle and I get to know so many different people and hear their stories, which I love 🙂 

Why did you decide to join The Shona Project?

When I saw the Shona project online I just fell in love with the idea of young people being given the confidence to be themselves and having a platform to not only learn from but contribute to also. Seeing posts/blogs/videos that celebrate young peoples talent and allows them to express their true selves is really inspiring. I also have 4 little nieces who I hope will grow up in a world where spaces like the Shona project are available for them to shine too 🙂 

What would you like to say to our readers that you wish you’d known as a 15 year old?

Where do I start?! 🙂 For me I suppose the first thing would be to appreciate the relationship that you have with your family. Be it your mother, father, grandparent, guardian, whoever it is that is looking after you, they really are looking out for your best interests and the better the relationship you have with them the easier life can be. I wasn’t the nicest teenager to get along with and me and my mam went through some hard times but I wish now that I hadn’t wasted all that time fighting with her. Now I can see her for the amazing woman that she is and I only wish I had seen it sooner. 

I also wish that someone had of just told me that everything will be OK! I know that seems very simple but when I think back now to the things I would have worried about, like how my hair was frizzy or my voice was deep or some boy not liking me, I really wish I hadn’t of let myself get so worked up over those things. Your confidence will grow as you get older and the feeling of not being bothered by what others think of you WILL come and its so freeing! 

And finally I wish someone would have spoken to me about communication and expressing myself. I was always an outwardly confident person but obviously I still had my insecurities and I wish that I could have been able to express them better. Particularly when it comes to peer pressure. Its OK not to want to do what “everyone else” is (supposedly) doing. If you don’t want to kiss someone, or smoke a cigarette or drink a can, that’s OK. And if anyone has a problem with you having your own opinion then they probably aren’t the type of people you want to be hanging around with anyway.

You can follow Anna on Instagram at @sex_ed_is_bananas.

If you would like to book Anna to deliver a workshop or speak at an event, please email info@shona.ie