Beforeplay.org: Normalizing the Way We Talk About Sex

By Bobbie Morgan

The State of Colorado had a problem that wasn’t unique among other states. About 50% pregnancies in the state were unintended and that percentage of was higher among people in their 20’s. Poor knowledge about effective contraception or how to use it, jobs without health insurance, and ambivalence toward starting a family—if it happens, it happens—were all contributing factors. There had to be way to address this situation.

Why not normalize the way people talk about sex?

That’s the premise behind the State of Colorado’s Health and Environment campaign, Beforeplay. Its website, beforeplay.org, is the hub of the campaign and has had 5 million visitors since it was launched in 2012.

“We live in such a schizophrenic society when it comes to sex,” says Greta Klinger of the Colorado Department of Health and Environment. “Sex ed is so limited, if provided at all. When it’s provided, it focuses on sex as a reproductive thing and that it’s bad. There’s a lot of shame and double standards. There are even married people who have a hard time talking about sex. We needed to break down barriers and tell people that it’s okay to want kinky sex or not went sex at all. There’s such a range.”

Beforeplay was created to provide a safe place for people to learn about and discuss sex in a safe environment that was fun and didn’t make people didn’t feel like they were being sold or told what to do. The website is packed with information about birth control, STI’s and STD’s to let people decide what’s right for them. While Beforeplay is geared for 18-29-year olds, Greta says that friends of hers in their 40’s 50’s and older have said that they’ve learned new things, too.

Greta says that she doesn’t have any hard numbers that indicate that the number of unintended pregnancies have gone down in Colorado, but says that the number of uninsured pregnancies have gone down and the number of people seeking contraceptives have gone up.

“I’ve gotten a number of comments from people saying that it’s helped them have this conversation with their partner or their kid,” Greta says. “People of all ages have concerns and questions. We’re encouraged.”

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