UNSPOKEN 

Initial sexual experiences often end with fear, guilt, regret, shame & confusion.

According to the National Family Health Survey in India, the median age at first sexual intercourse is 19.1 years for women. The anxiety and distress faced by these young women affects their mental health. However most work in this domain is targeted either towards contraceptive uptake or knowledge building. From our design-led research, we have identified unmet needs that kickoff straight after an initial sexual experience.

Unspoken gives words to these invisible nuanced and often emotional aspects of initial sexual experiences of young women in India. We invite you to explore these post-sex fears and join us as we advocate for inclusion of mental health outcomes of sexual experiences.

What leads to these post-sex fears?

😓 Failed attempt of penetration🖐 Signifiers of sex😔 Guilt of losing identity🌓 Unexpected changes in the body🤰 Proof of avoided pregnancy🎛 Managing medical visits

The unspoken needs

I need to determine when the pain of penetration is normal vs not normal because I don't know how much pain is justified

I need to make progress in my relationship without engaging in penetrative sex because I don’t want my refusal of penetrative sex to be responsible for the failure of our experience

I need to see the difficulty faced by others when engaging in penetrative sex because it seems that everyone’s doing it without any difficulty

I need to avoid spoiling the outing with my partner after failed penetrative sex because this opportunity to spend quality time with my partner in itself is scarce.

I need to avoid being spotted while entering and exiting a private space because it will signify my engagement in sexual activity.

I need to reduce any evidence of my presence with a boy because evidence may reach home and signify my engagement in sexual activity.

I need to get proof of privacy of this setting because most places do not allow unmarried couples hence the ones that allow are risky.

I need to avoid being spotted seeking information because it may be an indicator of sexual activity.

I need to avoid being spotted with a pregnancy test because it is an indicator of sexual activity.

I need to avoid being spotted while entering and exiting a pharmacy/ test centre/ gynae because it is an indicator of sexual activity.

I need to get tested for pregnancy without disclosing my identity because I fear the provider may come across a mutual contact and share the information with them.

I need to identify with a group not engaging in penetrative sex because I feel like I am missing out on an experience that everyone seems to be having.

I need to find an alternate identity I can be proud of because having given into the tempt of sexual desire makes me feel guilty of falling off track.

I need to manage my regret of giving away ‘virginity’ to the wrong partne

I need to commit to safe sex next time because relying on ECP makes me feel guilty of irresponsible sex.

I need to identify the reason for any unexpected bleeding post penetrative sex because it could be a reaction to a potential problem inside in my body.

I need to identify the reason for any unexpected bleeding post ECP consumption because it is a response to an unexpected change inside in my body.

I need to see how the pill reacts in my body because I fear my existing diseases and disorders may react differently with the pill.

I need to get proof of having avoided pregnancy even (after using a condom) because multiple proofs add to my sense of security.

I need to get 100% proof of having avoided pregnancy (post the act) because I am super scared of the consequences of unintended pregnancy.

I need to do something to avoid risk of pregnancy post the act because I want to be absolutely sure.

I need to know if my periods are arriving because periods are proof of having avoided pregnancy.

I need to manage my anxiety until my periods arrive.

I need to get an accurate timely proof of pregnancy because the abortion pill is my last resort and has a fixed window

I need to feel prepared to manage unintended pregnancy because the fear of testing positive makes me avoid taking a pregnancy test.

I need to foresee ways to manage expenses needed in case of a medical visit because medical visits & treatments seem costly.

I need to feel prepared to independently take any decisions or actions needed in a medical visit because I will be facing an unknown experience alone.

We have set out to design & implement interventions addressing the problems in this research. Meanwhile, what would you do?✨

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