Updated: Apr 7
Hello Mindful Connectors, and welcome to our blog page!
I, Lounette, am the co-founder and director of a new and exciting business venture called Mindful Connections - Research and Therapy Central (Pty) Ltd, or more commonly referred to as Mindful Connections.
My husband and I started brainstorming the idea of essentially being our own bosses for a few years and in 2018 we put our dreams, ideologies, and aspirations on paper. From there, Mindful Connections was brought into this world like a small, helpless, and loving new-born. Hence, between our two dog children, full-time employment, studies, and Mindful Connections, my husband and I have decided to put a hold on having an actual human new-born! Nonetheless, Mindful Connections is our baby that has wonderful potential for growth and big goals and aspirations in sight.
So, let me give you a bit of background into why I became interested in human sexual health, education, and starting my own business around it. My passion for and interest in sexuality and sexual health essentially began when I was very young. My mother is a gynaecologist in private practice and growing up I was fortunate to be raised in an environment that was driven by knowledge. My mother always affirmed that knowledge equates to power. Being a gynaecologist, the topic of sex was never seen as taboo. My siblings and I could ask my mother any sex-related question and she would answer with a straight and formal reply. Sex as a subject in our household was always aimed at being educational. So, I became a sponge for information.
Later, during high school, this source of information turned me into a peer educator among my friends. I would talk openly and honestly about sex, which led to them feeling free to come to me with any curiosities or burning questions they had. The pattern I saw most of the time was that they felt unsure or unable to ask these sorts of questions from their own parents. Not to mention the inadequate, unrealistic sex-ed curriculum our school had to offer. My friends wanted, needed to know more.
Fast forward a few years... The passion I once had subsided a bit as I entered University to study a Bachelors in Science degree. I initially applied to study Human Genetics as I wanted to become a genetic counselor who advised and helped people to have children. I knew I would pursue any career that led me to help others in one way or another. Unfortunately, I failed most of the subjects in my degree rather miserably. I mean, I failed my organic chemistry module for three years straight! How the heck was I supposed to figure out what an Ethanol molecule (which is pretty much just a fancy word for alcohol) looked like in a 3D model and then draw it accordingly on paper??? In those three years, I became a bit lost and unsure of who I wanted to be and what I would stand for. I was basically seeking my purpose in life. However, with the help of my sometimes over-bearing but ever loving and supportive mother, I pushed through and finally passed Chem and all the other miserable science-related subjects.
During my second year, I had Neuropsychology as an elective module. I paid no attention to this seemingly useless add-on as I had bigger fish to fry (aka Chemistry), but lo and behold, this proved to be a turning point in my academic career. Psychology was the one subject I did really well in and felt proud of. It was also a subject I easily levitated towards and understood. So after I graduated BSc (with blood, sweat, and oh so many tears), I pursued further education in Humanities - particularly Psychology. Once I became involved in studying human behaviour, something inside me 'clicked' and my interest once again led me to the field of human sexual health (or, more formally known as Sexology). Sexology is the scientific study of human sexuality, including human sexual interests, behaviours, and functions. However, during my second year in Psychology, I came to learn that pursuing formal studies and training in sexology does not exist in South Africa (cue sad music). I felt my dreams shatter at that moment - which was way worse than failing chemistry three times.
It took me a few years after I graduated and then continued with my Masters in Social and Psychological Research, to continue my search in becoming a sexologist (especially after a little pep talk from my brother). I found my own way to pursue what I love doing through the guidance of a renowned and accredited sexologist. With her kind words and guidance, I was able to focus my attention on opening my own doors, taking action - not direction - in my life and gunning for my dreams. Not being able to do what I wanted drove me towards starting my own business and looking towards pursuing further studies overseas as a therapist specialising in sex and intimacy.
My passion and field of interest have raised a few eyebrows along the way, even among those closest to me. But I came to realise that not everyone in your life will understand or feel as passionate about your dreams as you do. As an individual, you need to do what you love, love what you do… and do it fiercely. People tend to judge what they do not understand… and often, what they do not understand, they fear. And that is okay because by doing what you love, you might just inspire and awaken the hearts of others to be fearless.
Sexual health and sexual education are still met with resistance in today’s society. It is still not a priority among policymakers, initiatives, governing bodies, or individuals themselves. Sex remains a topic that is shunned and often swept under the proverbial rug when it comes to open and honest conversation between partners, friends, and our children. Even our own dialect when it comes to our sexuality and bodies remain an area of confusion and shame. By providing a platform for curiosity and those seeking knowledge, our Mindful Team aims to provide assistance in the journey to connect. Connections should be mindful, meaningful, and always in the absence of shame. Sex is a very natural part of being human and at the end of the day, we are all sexual beings (I mean this in broader terms and am not trying to take anything away from individuals who identify as Asexual).
I feel humbled and honoured to take this stressful, anxiety-provoking, yet exciting and exhilarating opportunity to help people to the best of my abilities. The “doors” to Mindful Connections will open soon and I cannot wait to share what we have in store with all of you.