Make a Spark: Rethinking Sexuality & Relationships | with Meghna Mahambrey

Meghna Mahambrey is an award-winning instructor and Ph.D. candidate who studies, teaches, and conducts research on all things romance and sex. Building on over a decade of titillating academic research, Meghna recently gave a talk at TEDx Columbus 2019 titled ‘Birds and Bees: Rethinking Relationship and Sexuality Education.’ The talk focuses on the profound impact that our intimate relationships have on both our psychological health and physical health, offering a modern approach to teaching and learning about the birds-and-the-bees so that we can finally begin investing in what really matters in life. 

Meghna also recently founded SPARK Relationship & Sexuality Workshops in Columbus, Ohio, which is open to the general public. SPARK’s mission is to bridge the gap between research and real-life, educating the community on matters close to their hearts (and hips).

Meghna didn’t have a straight path into the work she does now — she stumbled into it out of curiosity, passion, grit, and determination. She went to college to become a preschool teacher because her mom had founded a Montessori preschool, and when you’re 17 and don’t know what else to do, you do what’s right in front of you. She taught for 8 years in early childhood education, but during that time, she developed a growing interest in relationships and sexuality.

Everyone is preoccupied with relationships and sexuality in some way, but Meghna had this hunger to learn more and explore that area because things were not making sense. Her first relationship as a high school freshman was nothing any teenager would expect. Some of it was good, but there were some strange, unusual, and uncomfortable things as well. This relationship, and grappling with all that came along with it, single-handedly propelled her interest in the subject.

The driving thought that has led Meghna down this path — or rather, led her to pursue this path — is wondering why we aren’t taught about one of the most important parts of our lives in school and why nobody is asking any questions. The success of her classes and SPARK workshops shows that the curiosity is there — we simply bury it until some trauma digs it back up again.

What Brett asks:

  • [03:36] How did you get into this work?
  • [05:59] Did you feel the cultural influences and constructs from your parents and lineage?
  • [14:28] What shaped you during this period of your life during your early career?
  • [20:47] What was it like questioning the social constructs that everyone else believed in?
  • [23:18] How do you take the steps from teaching into going deeper with these subjects?
  • [31:50] Would you be willing to share more about your first relationship?
  • [33:57] What happened when you saw your situation in a textbook?
  • [39:28] How did music play a role in your life?
  • [45:45] How are you using Spark to educate the community on this subject?

Lessons for intentional living:

  • Just because nobody else is asking the questions you have in your head doesn’t mean they don’t have them too. Sometimes they are hard to say out loud — maybe we are embarrassed because we assume everyone else already knows — but it is in asking the questions nobody else asks that we discover the opportunity to learn new things.