Safety first

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - The Shape I’m In -

IT’S not of­ten you see Snapchat and sex­ual health ed­u­ca­tion in the same sen­tence. But that didn’t stop so­cial me­dia in­flu­encer and en­tre­pre­neur James Ka­vanagh. Two years ago, he started post­ing vlogs. “I was try­ing to teach young peo­ple how to be safe, about the dif­fer­ent STIs and how you can get them. I was also talk­ing about the dif­fer­ent clin­ics you can go to to get checked reg­u­larly if you’re en­gag­ing in sex,” says the 29-year-old who lives in Dublin.

He found a lot of con­fu­sion among young fol­low­ers. It’s the re­sult, he be­lieves, of an un­even sex ed­u­ca­tion pro­gramme in schools which in some cases is in­flu­enced the school’s re­li­gious ethos.

But it’s not only the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem we need to change. Par­ents have a role to play too, he says. And the more mat­ter of fact, the bet­ter. “Talk to your kids about sex like you’re talk­ing to them about the weather. Every­one has sex that’s how the hu­man race con­tin­ues.”

He has teamed up with Durex and HIV Ire­land to drive aware­ness of the in­ter­na­tional ‘give a f**k’ cam­paign. Durex has part­nered with non­profit or­gan­i­sa­tion, (RED), to sup­port its mis­sion to end AIDS. For the month of Novem­ber, funds raised from the sale of all limited-edi­tion Durex (RED) con­doms will go di­rectly to­wards a pro­gramme in South Africa where it’s es­ti­mated there are 7.2m peo­ple liv­ing with HIV. Durex has pledged to make a do­na­tion of at least $5m (€4.4m) to The Global Fund via the part­ner­ship with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foun­da­tion of­fer­ing to match this amount.

James is happy to get the mes­sage out. “I do it be­cause sex­ual health is an area we all need to take se­ri­ously, in Ire­land and in­ter­na­tion­ally.” What shape are you in? I’m in re­ally good shape — I see a per­sonal trainer three times a week. I have 30-minute ses­sions each time. I am rub­bish when it comes to go­ing to the gym and self­mo­ti­va­tion. I need some­one to beat me around for short bursts.

I walk ab­so­lutely ev­ery­where which is kind of to my detri­ment be­cause I’m try­ing to bulk up. I’m quite thin.

What are your health­i­est eat­ing habits?

I eat a lot of oily fish — I love fish in gen­eral. I al­ways was re­ally good at eat­ing veg­eta­bles. With our food busi­ness, we are cook­ing a lot — we gear it to­wards or­ganic and lo­cal pro­duc­ers. I eat fish about three or four times a week. I eat red meat and chicken very rarely.

What is your guilti­est plea­sure?

A glass of Span­ish Al­barino white wine ev­ery night. What would keep you awake at night? I am not a good sleeper. Be­cause I work for my­self, there is al­ways a bit of anx­ious­ness around when the next job is com­ing and so on. How do you re­lax? I get into bed at about nine with my glass of white wine, cat Diana — a sphinx, one of those hair­less cats — and watch Net­flix on my lap­top. What’s your favourite smell? I am crazy about can­dles. Vanilla tends to be the one I use the most. I burn it in my bed­room — I find it re­ally calm­ing and in­dul­gent. I like the range Con­sid­ered by He­len James in Dunnes.

Who would you in­vite to your dream din­ner party?

Enya, Louis Th­er­oux, Anne Doyle — she’s loads of fun — Emma Thomp­son — love her — and Oprah be­cause she can help solve all our prob­lems.

What would you like to change about your ap­pear­ance?

I’d like to bulk up.

When is the last time you cried?

Yes­ter­day, I watched the new doc­u­men­tary on Net­flix about the mar­riage ref­er­en­dum — it’s called The 34th. My boyfriend Wil­liam and I watched it and bawled.

What traits do you least like in oth­ers?

I hate un­tidi­ness. Wil­liam is a great cook but very un­tidy. We’re to­gether six years which is a life­time for me, pre­vi­ous re­la­tion­ships lasted only a year.

What traits do you least like about your­self?

I don’t have a great sense of ur­gency. I tend to put things off to the last sec­ond which I hate. I’d like to be more or­gan­ised. Do you pray? I’m into med­i­ta­tion. I try to do it ev­ery day, but it’s usu­ally ev­ery sec­ond day. I sim­ply sit on the floor breathe for about three min­utes and try an con­nect with my breath­ing. It’s prob­a­bly the long­est time in my day when I don’t have my phone in my hand.

What would cheer up your day?

When I get my cof­fee af­ter lunch. In Dublin, it’s 3fe cof­fee but when I’m in Cork, Soma on Tuckey St is my favourite.

Irene Feighan

“I am crazy about can­dles”

ED­U­CATE TO­GETHER: Sex­ual health is an area we all need to take se­ri­ously, in Ire­land and in­ter­na­tion­ally, say James Ka­vanagh.

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