Science and activism are strictly linked

Science and activism are strictly linked

14th Congress of The European Federation of Sexology (EFS), Albufeira (9-12 May)

EFS President: Prof. Kevan Wylie

President  of 14th EFS Congress: Prof. Sandra Vilarinho

Chiara Simonelli, ex-president of EFS

Filippo Nimbi, president of the Youth Committee of EFS

Albufeira welcomes the 14th Congress of the European Federation of Sexology (9th-12th May). Chiara Simonelli (ex-president of EFS) and Filippo Nimbi (president of the Youth Committee of EFS) talk about the meeting. Perspectives on sexual health and sexual rights will be discussed by speakers who made the history of sexology and young researchers from all over the word. Simonelli and Nimbi view science and activism as strictly linked and defend an integrated strategy to face the biopsychosocial phenomenon of sexual violence nowadays.

Sociedade Portuguesa de Sexologia Clínica – Multidisciplinarity was important at the foundation of sexual science for more than a century. The main idea of the 14th Congress of the EFS is “from sexology to sexologies”. Are we close?

Chiara Simonelli and Filippo Nimbi We are every day closer to the recognition of the differences, but we have still a lot to do. The research panorama has accepted quite jointly the presence of a plurality of sexual behaviours and points of view about sexuality. It is not surprising that the Biopsychosocial approach now is widely recognised in sexology and sexual medicine. What is hard to change is the daily practice: accepting other views means also leave our certainties, deal with no firm labels and diagnoses, and overall no strict threat-care paradigms. We should bear in mind, now more than ever, the influence of body and mind, but also the cultural aspects that makes a history around our sexual lives.

SPSC – What would you like to highlight about the 14th Congress of the EFS?

CS + FN – We think that the program is very innovative and scientifically updated, caring of new emergent sexual behaviours and phenomena. Moreover, the new form will make people more active in participating. We will have not only lectures and symposia (as usual), but thematic tables of discussions on hot topics open to all participants. Furthermore, we will have some of the speakers who made the history of sexology and some of the young researchers who will share their vivid view of the future.

SPSC – Nowadays sexuality it is a question of identity, citizenship, human health and human rights. Which issues of sexual health are top priorities for EFS at this moment?

CS + FN – Those are all prominent issues in this period, but for our history and purpose as federation, our first line is creating a network between the health-care professionals towards an advance of the practice. Sexual rights and identities are very important in our fight, and we help increasing the scientific speech around these themes. One of our aims now is the European recognition of our figures from sexual educators, sexual counsellor, and therapists.

 SPSC – For some scientists, science and activism make no sense together. What is your point of view?

CS + FN – In our opinion, they are strictly linked. Science builds the evidence to confirm or disconfirm the basis of social movements; at the same time activism and cultural revolutions open the way to new research fields and questions.

 SPSC – Which questions should we ask about the way young generations live their affective and sexual lives in Europe today?

CS + FN – There are a lot of questions that still need an answer: effects of innovative technologies, cultures and migrations, sexual minorities, sexual education, social and health politics, globalization… Those are just some of the main big themes affecting Young peoples’ sexual behaviour and that we are dealing with.

 SPSC – Are we talking too much, too less or enough about sexual violence at this moment? And Which is the most important question to ask about it?

CS + FN – Speaking about violence it is never too much. It is important to keep doing it and to make prevention programmes. Sexual violence is a complex biopsychosocial phenomenon and we need an integrated strategy to face it. Effective programmes should firstly share a policy of “no-gender violence and dominance”, not only towards women but also towards other sexual minorities. Secondly, the role of an extensive sexual education based on the affective and relationship dynamics is undeniable. We should not only spread the right information, but also teach people how to deal with their emotions and to ask for help when they are in danger.