Sex, Etc., Answer’s award-winning, teen-written magazine and website, has been providing the sexual health information teens need and deserve for 20 years. None of this would be possible without the teens who write the stories that educate young people across the country. These writers go on to do great work in reproductive health, public health and journalism. We recently caught up with former teen staff writer, Natasha Ramsey.
Natasha Ramsey, Teen Staff Writer, 2005-2007
Natasha Ramsey is currently a medical student at NYU, and we couldn’t be prouder of the great work she has done and continues to do to promote young people’s sexual and reproductive health. When I reached out to Natasha via e-mail she recalled being interested in sexual health as a teenager and actually having pretty good sex ed.
“I had a really great gym/health teacher in middle school who made us act out the menstrual cycle and fertilization,” she explained.
Natasha also enjoyed writing short stories and poems as a teenager, so when a tutor at her high school’s after-school program told her about Sex, Etc., she immediately applied to be a teen editor.
LH: How has Sex, Etc. shaped the work you do today?
NR: How has Sex, Etc. not shaped the work I do today?! If it were not for Sex, Etc., pursuing a degree in medicine would not have even crossed my mind. I always had an interest in sexual health, but my true passion was writing. I attended a health sciences high school and vowed that I would never step foot near a hospital and would become a journalist. It was through Sex, Etc. that I was exposed to the field of public health and advocacy and the pressing issues that teens face. Sex, Etc. sparked a fire in me to ensure that teens get the information they deserve about their bodies.
Additionally, the staff at Sex, Etc. was very supportive of my goals and were instrumental in my college acceptances and numerous awards and scholarships. It was no surprise that I majored in public health at Rutgers University and eventually went on to pursue an M.D. degree.
As a medical student now, I am involved in numerous activities geared towards educating teens, including creating my own sexual health curriculum for teen girls at a local high school. My experience with Sex, Etc. has been instrumental in my journey, and I honestly would not be who I am without it.
LH: What’s the most pressing sexual health issue teens face today?
NR: I believe the most pressing sexual health issue teens face today is teen pregnancy. Although the rates have decreased over the years, the few teens who do get pregnant often have many obstacles they have to face. I believe that many young women are not adequately informed about their bodies and additionally may lack the tools to effectively communicate with their partners. This is an area that I plan to work in as a physician.
LH: What did you enjoy most about writing for Sex, Etc.?
NR: Writing for Sex, Etc. was an amazing experience for several reasons. I loved that we were able to choose the topics we wanted to cover, and although the staff did edit the pieces that we wrote, I always felt that my voice always shined through in my work. Additionally, I love that our work has a legacy, and that teens are able to access our articles years after we have written them. To this day I still have copies of Sex, Etc. magazine and printouts of news clippings. I was very proud of my contributions to Sex, Etc., and had it not been for me growing out of teenage-hood, I would probably still be writing for them!
LH: What issue are you most passionate about and why?
NR: I am most passionate about women’s health and preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. As a future physician, I plan to work with disadvantaged populations as well as pilot health education programs to improve the health of the people in those populations. My passion for these areas come from the work that I did in Sex, Etc. many years ago as well as my upbringing in an urban neighborhood where I saw the need for health education in the community.
LH: Name one myth or ridiculous thing you heard about sex growing up?
NR: The most ridiculous thing I have heard is that birth control messes up your reproductive system. Unfortunately, many people still believe this ridiculous myth because they are not well informed about their reproductive organs, menstruation or birth control. This is problematic because people end up not using birth control and becoming pregnant. I am a huge proponent for birth control and try to help dispel this myth whenever I talk to my patients.
LH: If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, who would that be?
NR: I would have dinner with President Obama and Michelle Obama. As a future physician who plans to work in disadvantaged populations, I have so much appreciation for the Affordable Care Act. Additionally, they both seem really cool!