“I Hope That Conversations About Sex and Sexuality Become Normalized” Vanessa Geffrard and VagEsteem

Artist name: Vanessa Geffrard and VagEsteem

Featured Work: VagEsteem podcast image, linked to her podcasts on Soundcloud (*sexual content)

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Vanessa Giffrard is a health educator and podcast creator and host who promotes “VagEsteem™,” which she defines as:

1. the concept by which one builds the confidence of/in their vulva and vagina. This confidence leads to a healthy and satisfying sex life.

2. A workshops series and podcast that teaches women how to have good and healthy sex through courageous conversations.

Her podcast on Thursdays features guests and focuses on a wide range of topics, ranging from masturbation, to infidelity, to “Eating the P***y Like Groceries,” with wisdom, humor, acceptance, joy and a strong focus on breaking taboos and supporting consent, self-validation and self-love. It advances women’s rights, celebrates and elevates women’s sexuality and their relationships to their bodies, and succeeds in bringing its listeners weekly “courageous conversations about love, sex and everything in between.”

5 Questions for the Artist:

1. What is art to you?

To me, a podcast is an audible platform to have courageous conversations. I’ve enjoyed so many podcasts; they have allowed me to gain information, get away, laugh, feel enlightened and think, and I wanted to provide that same thing to other people with a twist. I started the VagEsteem podcast to encourage women to engage in courageous conversations about sex, love, relationships, sexuality and everything in between. In my work, I realize that women, especially black women, don’t always have a platform to discuss these issues. These conversations are either held in private with one other person and shushed from larger society and I wanted to elevate the message that women are amazing, wonderful, complicated and multi-faceted beings who deserve to be heard and deserve to feel good. I honestly believe that when women feel good about themselves, they take care of themselves, their bodies, their health and put their best interests first. I want to be a catalyst for that, and what better way to do that than to talk?

2. What did you make in the past, and why?

In the past, I created workshops in my home for my friends and their friends. I made them because I wanted to share something I love — sex education, while having women educate each other through their stories and experiences. I would host monthly workshops in my home about female sexuality, self- esteem, building vagesteem, relationships, and everything in between. It varied every month and the conversation varied based on the experience of the women in the room and what they wanted to discuss. Every time I facilitated a home workshop, it was so invigorating, and women would spend hours at my home until the early hours of the morning. Presenting, facilitating, sharing stories is one of my favorite things. I did it because it was one of the ways that I could connect with women and get them to get them to connect with each other in a fun way and make taboo discussions fun and light-hearted.

3. What are you making now, and why?

Right now, I’ve been super focused on creating the podcast. I created it in July and it was scary at first. I create the content, seek out the guests, and produce the podcast, and I’m proud that it’s still something that I’m creating and forming everyday. I create the podcast because it enables me to get out my thoughts in the best way I know how — through laughs, sounds and talking. I created the podcast because I feel like it allows me to spread my thoughts and learn from my guests and listeners on all things related to sexuality. It’s enabled me to reach a larger audience who are not based in Baltimore and cannot enjoy the VagEsteem workshop experience in person. This medium enables a much broader conversation and I believe having it allows people to take their time learning and engaging with the content.

4. What are your hopes for the future?

To learn and grow. I hope that I continue learning from this process of creating and producing a podcast, keep learning and growing my craft and growing an engaged audience. I hope that conversations about sex and sexuality become normalized and I hope that my listeners envision, practice and are empowered to have healthier and better sex lives and conversations.

5. What else would you like to say?

Don’t wait for someone else to create “it” or make “it” for you. If you don’t see or hear something you like, make it! You’re the person to do it! While you do that, check out VagEsteem!

Artist Supplied Background:

Vanessa Geffrard is a passionate health educator residing in West Baltimore. Vanessa trains and educates children, young adults, parents, and community groups around sexual health topics such as consent and boundaries, sexually transmitted infection prevention, contraceptive methods, teen pregnancy and abortion stigma, healthy relationships, and LGBTQ inclusion.

Vanessa is the founder of VagEsteem™, a workshop series and podcast encouraging good and healthy sex through courageous conversations. Vanessa earned a Bachelor of Science Community Health degree from University of Maryland, College Park and holds a Master of Public Health degree from Morgan State University. In her Master’s program, Vanessa focused on health policy, specifically researching the positive impact of web-based interventions as they relate to decreasing the risk of HIV/AIDS among young women of color.

Keep up with Geffrard and VagEsteem on SoundCloud, iTunes, Google Music Facebook , Twitter and Instagram.

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5 Questions for the Artist, © Julia Travers
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