Founded by Jared Matthew Weiss and part of a larger trend, Touchpoint brings together strangers to share deeply personal stories about relationships and sex, helping to fill a void left by inadequate health-class instruction or flawed parental advice. Picture: New York Times

New York - Dominick Quartuccio was concerned about his libido, which he’d noticed was slowing down as he reached 40. 

“The prevailing social narrative is that you’re getting old, so go get a pill,” Quartuccio said. An executive coach, he helps clients speak candidly about their anxieties - romantic and sexual, sometimes, as well as professional - and preferred to do the same.

In March, Quartuccio posted on the Kaleidoscope, an invitation-only Facebook group where nearly 3 000 participants post questions and answers about sex and sexuality.

Within hours, he had more than 15 suggestions: “embracing, supporting, offering ideas - ‘hey go check out this person for reiki or tantra,'” Quartuccio said. “But most useful was the acknowledgment of my courage to talk about it. To take these shadowy conversations out into the open and demystify them.”

The Kaleidoscope is one of several social communities and companies that have emerged to help adults talk openly about sex and sexuality, with the explicit goal of teaching them everything they didn’t learn in health class or from their parents.

“There’s been a general awakening with the election,” said Ashley Spivak, a founder of a sex and reproductive health education company for millennials called Cycles & Sex. “People are realizing that institutions cannot provide always everything we need.”

Bryony Cole, who produces a podcast and event series called the Future of Sex, held a “sextech” hackathon, the first of a quarterly series. The winning idea was an app that uses an interactive “spin the bottle” feature to make the sex talk less embarrassing for families.

For Goodness Sake, a video production company, is developing a series for teenagers. The content will be nonexplicit but will feature teenagers sharing their personal experiences about sex and, yes, sexual pleasure.

“People relate to hearing others be honest and vulnerable,” said Rob Perkins, 40, a founder of the company, which has previously produced crowdsourced educational videos on female sexual pleasure. “It’s more credible than hearing an expert.”

Those videos, which appear in the 12-part series OMGYES, include graphic demonstrations of common masturbation techniques, a tech version of Betty Dodson. “Sometimes this can take people decades to figure out,” said Lydia Daniller, 40, another founder. “We’re hoping that we can speed up journey for people.”

Cycles & Sex focuses on Instagram. Spivak, 30, and another founder, Lauren Bille, 35, frequently post questions to their nearly 32 000 followers, such as “What do you visualize to help you orgasm?” and “What are your tips for getting an IUD inserted or removed?”

Let's talk Brett Kavanaugh and what his nomination to the Supreme Court means for our reproductive rights. According to Celeste Katz for @glamour, Kavanaugh is 53-year-old DC Circuit court judge who clerked for Justice Kennedy (who just stepped down) in his time after law school. While Kennedy may have been conservative, he reaffirmed the legal right to abortion on key cases, upholding Roe V. Wade. Judge Kavanaugh, on the other hand, may swing in a different direction. In 2017, he ruled against a young, undocumented woman’s ability to access an abortion. His ruling delayed her procedure, pushing it into the second trimester. Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, condemned the President's choice: “We oppose the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, and call on the Senate to do the same," she said in a statement. "There’s no way to sugarcoat it: With this nomination, the constitutional right to access safe, legal abortion in this country is on the line." Next step? Confirmation hearings held by the Senate Judiciary Committee. These take about one month. After that review, committee members make a recommendation on the candidate and send it to the full Senate. The Senate can then debate for an unlimited amount of time- until they get enough votes to end the debate. Once voted to end the debate, there is another vote on the nominee. Simple majority vote wins. Photo Credit: @gabbois #reproductiverights #prochoice #mybodymychoice #currentevents #politics #pregnancy #choice #movements

A post shared by CYCLES+SEX (@cyclesandsex) on

Bille said she was raised by a nurse in a progressive environment. Even so, she felt that conversations about sex were implicitly taboo. And this persisted into adulthood. “Anytime I thought of going into a sex shop or to a sex class, it was a fringe experience,” she said.

New York Times