Ars Erotica Foundation is a Budapest based, independent organisation, unique in Hungary to focus on sexuality education in a sex-positive approach.
We believe that sexuality education is a lifelong process of acquiring information, forming attitude, beliefs and values about such important topics as identity, intimacy and relationships. All people should have access to comprehensive sexuality education that addresses socio-cultural, biological, psychological dimensions by providing information, exploring feelings, values and attitudes and developing communication, critical-thinking and decision making skills. Sexuality education nonetheless might attempt to objectify sexuality in the name of health and well-being which is framed by medicine, science, technology. Further, sexuality education, such as medicine, science and technology, is a social practice embedded in and determined by its cultural, historical, local and geopolitical context. We work towards the public acceptance of sexual diversity.
Ars Erotica Foundation offers comprehensive, non-judgmental services to all races, genders, sexual orientations or sexual affiliations.
Sex education is the process of acquiring information and forming attitudes and beliefs about sex, sexual identity, relationships and intimacy. Sex education is also about developing young people’s skills so that they make informed choices about their behaviour, and feel confident and competent about acting on these choices.
The skills young people develop as part of sex education are linked to more general life-skills. Being able to communicate, listen, negotiate with others, ask for and identify sources of help and advice, are useful life-skills which can be applied to sexual relationships. Effective sex education develops young people’s skills in negotiation, decision-making, assertion and listening. Other important skills include being able to recognise pressures from other people and to resist them, dealing with and challenging prejudice and being able to seek help from adults – including parents, carers and professionals – through the family, community and health and welfare services.
Sex education that works also helps equip young people with the skills to be able to differentiate between accurate and inaccurate information, and to discuss a range of moral and social issues and perspectives on sex and sexuality, including different cultural attitudes and sensitive issues like sexuality, abortion and contraception.
Forming attitudes and beliefs
Young people can be exposed to a wide range of attitudes and beliefs in relation to sex and sexuality. These sometimes appear contradictory and confusing. For example, some health messages emphasise the risks and dangers associated with sexual activity and some media coverage promotes the idea that being sexually active makes a person more attractive and mature. Because sex and sexuality are sensitive subjects, young people and sex educators can have strong views on what attitudes people should hold, and what moral framework should govern people’s behaviour – these too can sometimes seem to be at odds. Young people are very interested in the moral and cultural frameworks that binds sex and sexuality. They often welcome opportunities to talk about issues where people have strong views, like abortion, sex before marriage, lesbian and gay issues and contraception and birth control. It is important to remember that talking in a balanced way about differences in opinion does not promote one set of views over another, or mean that one agrees with a particular view. Part of exploring and understanding cultural, religious and moral views is finding out that you can agree to disagree.
People providing sex education have attitudes and beliefs of their own about sex and sexuality and it is important not to let these influence negatively the sex education that they provide. For example, even if a person believes that young people should not have sex until they are married, this does not imply withholding important information about safer sex and contraception. Attempts to impose narrow moralistic views about sex and sexuality on young people through sex education have failed.Rather than trying to deter or frighten young people away from having sex, effective sex education includes work on attitudes and beliefs, coupled with skills development, that enables young people to choose whether or not to have a sexual relationship taking into account the potential risks of any sexual activity.
Effective sex education also provides young people with an opportunity to explore the reasons why people have sex, and to think about how it involves emotions, respect for one self and other people and their feelings, decisions and bodies. Young people should have the chance to explore gender differences and how ethnicity and sexuality can influence people’s feelings and options. They should be able to decide for themselves what the positive qualities of relationships are. It is important that they understand how bullying, stereotyping, abuse and exploitation can negatively influence relationships.
The activities of the Ars Erotica Foundation:
- Provides comprehensive sex education in schools
- Develops sex educational curricula for elementary and secondary schools in cooperation with other educational institutions and NGOs
- Organizes interdisciplinary workshops and training programs for parents, teachers and social workers to teach non-formal pedagogical methods
- Organizes programs for youth on the issues of sexual health and sexual cultures
- Organizes media campaigns for sexual health the for prevention of STDs and supports all similar initiatives
- Provides online counselling and information for the target groups
- Participates in domestic and international interdisciplinary research co-operations and workshops
- Develops an online library and information database of accurate information about sex and reproductive health
- Develops and disseminates leaflets, educational publications
- Participates in international professional networks in order to adapt sex educational best practices from other countries