Why I Can’t Wait To Attend This Weekend’s First-Ever Sexual Wellness Festival in Singapore – By Expat Andrea McKenna Brankin

This weekend marks the launch of SPARK Fest, billed as Asia’s first sexual wellness festival.
18 May 2018

This Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., the first-ever SPARK Fest, a gathering touting sexual consciousness, health and wellness at the Hive. Lavender.

For $35, you can hear speakers talk about topics such as “Having the Talk: Dos and Don’ts when talking about sex with your children”, “Do You Think You’re Man Enough?: A Look At The Evolution of The Modern Man” as well as “Breaking Taboos: A Look at The Female Sexual Revolution in China”, among others.

You also can eat tasty food and listen to groovy tunes while browsing mind-provoking art and products.

So, what’s up with a sex fest in Singapore? Well, it’s not like that. Organizers say the goal is to create a more open dialogue about sex. The aim of the festival is to bring more awareness to sexual wellness and to normalize sex, in general.

The hashtags for the fest say it all: #BreakTheWall #LoveMoreConsciously. That means talk it up and learn some information instead of hiding out and keeping the doors of modern sexual health information closed.

Paula Miquelis, Co-Founder and Creative Director at fest partner Green is the New Black, even noted that ignoring sexual wellness can exacerbate other health problems like breast cancer, because people are not connected to and aware of their bodies.

SPARK Fest Asia Founder Erin Chen “sparked” the idea for the fest after noticing that, in her work as a sex and relationship counsellor, she was getting asked the same questions about sex over and over. So, she felt it was time to educate people.

The festival hopes to attract a range of locals and expats because sex is indeed a universal topic. Founders Chen and Sinnead Ali say, “The content speaks to everyone including couples, singles, people at various life stages, and we have tried to be as inclusive and gender-inclusive as possible. Leow Yangfa, Exec Director of Oogachaga – the LGBTQI non-profit, is one of our speakers and we have BABES – the teen pregnancy advocacy group – joining our marketplace.”

One of the newer concepts in sexual wellness includes the use of technology, called sextech. This refers to Internet connections as well as other technology. SPARK Fest founder Chen, who holds a Master of Science in Medicine in Sexual Health Counselling from University of Sydney, acknowledges that the stereotype that comes to mind are usually sexbots, VR porn and sex toys. But she says sextech covers much more! But, how to explain that to a crowd in Singapore?

Chen says sextech can improve the human sexual experience. That experience “could span from fertility to long-distance relationships, to preventing sexual violence, to sexual education, to helping people communicate better, to menstruation…”.

She says sex, as we know it, can be improved by technology. (Could you have imagined that you would not need a phone book some day? It’s like that.) “Up until now, ‘sex’ has been portrayed in a pretty one-dimensional way. One way to disrupt that is to seed new ideas and concepts through sextech.”

In terms of how to make that concept palatable to audiences here, Chen points to education around what it is (read: not just sexbots!) as well as framing it in the context of sexual wellness. “Once that clicks, you can see people’s minds start to run – everyone can think of at least one area where things can be improved! That’s the beauty of hackathons – it’s an intense weekend of problem solving, creativity and magic!”

To check out the “magic” and other information on sexual wellness, head over to the Hive. this Saturday. I hope to be there, too!


About Andrea McKenna Brankin

Andrea McKenna Brankin is a journalist and author from the United States who lives a full life with bipolar disorder. Her book, Bipolar Phoenix, is awaiting a publishing contract. She is also currently a volunteer at the DaySpring Residential Treatment Centre for teen girls in Singapore, providing befriending-family support, therapeutic writing and rugby coaching.


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