Sexologist in Seychelles wants comprehensive sex education, sex positive society
Hollanda (right) on one of her outreach programmes on Praslin. (Maryline Hollanda)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychellois society needs to become more sex-positive and embrace sexuality and sexual expression, says Seychelles’ first sexologist.
Maryline Hollanda, who recently joined the Ministry of Health, said sex is an important part of life irrespective of age and social construct.
Hollanda, who returned to her homeland three months ago after studying in Australia, said that she is also advocating for a comprehensive approach to education on human sexuality.
Currently, sexual education is included in the curriculum of Personal and Social Education (PSE) taught in state schools from primary to secondary levels. The subject, which also looks at citizenship and career guidance, was introduced in 1998.
The Seychellois sexologist said that knowledge, understanding and developing attitudes on sexual identity, relationships and intimacy is a lifelong process. She added that the Seychellois society still treats sex as a taboo.
Hollanda said that choosing sexology for a career was not a difficult choice because as a teenager she was a peer counsellor.
“I had the opportunity to broaden my knowledge about sexual reproductive health issues. Eventually, I decided to pursue a career in teaching,” said Hollanda.
After a Bachelor of Education and while teaching at various schools around Western Australia, Hollanda found out that young people have many questions about their sexuality as well as sexual and reproductive health.
“It is the same thing here in Seychelles and these questions were not being answered accurately or positively,” she said.
|Hollanda found out that young people have many questions about their sexuality as well as sexual and reproductive health. (Maryline Hollanda) Photo License: CC-BY|
The sexologist explained that this can result in a lot of misconceptions, myths and misinformation and furthermore, “there were very few teachers willing or comfortable enough to teach sexuality education in schools.”
Hollanda did a Masters in sexology and combined with her teaching degree she is well qualified to become a sexuality educator.
Hollanda said that she will focus on the necessary skills and knowledge needed for individuals to build positive and healthy relationships with their partners and focus a bit more on intimate relationships rather than just the sex act itself.
Responding to questions from SNA, Rosy Denis from the Association for the Promotion of Solid Humane Families, which works closely with couples said, “it will be up to couples to seek for her services.”
The month of September was dedicated to sexual awareness by the Ministry of Health which coincided with World Sexual Health Day on September 4th.
Various activities were organised to mobilise communities and all partners of the island nation, a group of 115 islands in the west of the Indian Ocean, to take action to promote a healthy sexual life.