Dutch sexual health organisations are running a campaign to remind young people how to flirt, have fun and enjoy safe sex, ahead of an expected “summer of love” following more than a year of lockdowns and coronavirus restrictions.
Research showed that the number of young people in the Netherlands going on dates fell from around 50 per cent to 20 per cent during the tough second lockdown, when schools were closed and a curfew was in place, according to the Rutgers Centre of Expertise on Sexual Health.
“Limiting social contacts has put young people’s love life pretty much on hold,” said Luc Lauwers, programme manager of sexual formation at Rutgers.
“With the so-called summer of love on the way, it’s high time for us to support young people with targeted activities and remind them of how to have fun and stay safe together.”
A screenshot of the Dutch "Summer of love" campaign website. The five steps read: 1 – Come as yourself. 2 – Party and flirt. 3 – Sex without worries. 4 – Have fun together during sex. 5 – Help.
The summeroflove.sense.info website features five steps to have a “fun, sexy and safe summer”.
They include being body-positive and “coming as yourself”, having fun when you flirt, making sure sex is both safe and consensual, and knowing where to ask for help if you need it.
It is being run alongside another campaign called “Are you OK?” which provides a toolkit that aims to help people such as bar staff recognise when attention is unwanted.
"Summer of love" tips include being body positive…
Credit: Getty Images
… and making sure sex is safe and consensual.
Credit: Merten Snijders
/The Image Bank RF
“In the Netherlands, we do have quite an open culture regarding flirting, sexuality, who you want to be and who you want to be with,” said Ymke Kelders, a spokeswoman for Rutgers.
“It’s important to remind ourselves: how did we do that again? How did we flirt with people and interact with them? The majority of people find it important to be intimate with someone else and explore what you like: that’s part of forming your identity.”
The “summer of love” campaign is being done in partnership with sexually transmitted infections organisation Soa Aids.
“Everyone is allowed a summer of love, and we wish them well, but if you have multiple partners, there’s a risk of STIs, so protect yourself and if that doesn’t work, get tested,” said Dr Hanna Bos, a consultant in infectious diseases for Soa Aids.
“That’s our message. It’s clear that STIs are going to go up.”