By: Reenita V
September has arrived, lunches are packed and backpacks are filled with new stationary. It is time for us to get our brains in gear for learning. But education doesn’t just revolve around reading, writing and arithmetic there is another incredibly important subject that needs to addressed and it’s sex. The battle continues as to why sex education is needed at such a ‘young’ age or some may question why is it even necessary to teach high school students about something so intimate and perhaps even taboo. But, truth be told – people of all ages are having sex, talking about sex, dealing with pressure to have sex, seeking answers about sexuality. So while sex(uality) might be a hot topic, it’s a topic we cannot run away from.
If your child, niece, or cousin asks for support with their math homework, would you say you can’t help them? Probably not. So why should sex education be any different? Being able to discuss sex or being able to provide resources creates a solid foundation for your kids allowing them to build a healthy outlook on sex, abstinence, sexuality, and creates space to discuss sexual health and consent. This does not mean your kid or loved one needs to know all your personal experiences, but should know there is a trusting person available should things get hazy.
Sexual education does not result in the act of sex. Sexual education allows young people to make informed decisions about their bodies and actions. Not every kid is a curious cat but if they are, at least their exploration comes from a solid understanding of how to ensure they are engaging consensually and using measures to be safer. There is never a point in our lives where we stop learning and young adults especially receive a rush of information as they transition into independent beings. With this rush of knowledge comes the exchange of stories between peers, as well as, the pressure to prove yourself. If you want young Bobby to understand that the pull out method might not be a viable choice furthers the argument that talking about sex and sexual health is a smart choice.
Intercourse or penetration is not the main point of sexual education. Sexual education encompasses topics such as sexting, oral, touching, pictures, consent, respect and much, much more. Caregivers again have an opportunity to broach a broader perspective on what sex looks like these days. If your young loved one leaves the house, goes on the internet, watches T.V. they will most likely learn the vast ways that people now engage with each other. Sexting is hot and fun but not always innocent and consent is not always given. While sexting does not result in STIs or pregnancy, there most definitely can be negative consequences. Sexual education is also not solely about sex or all things sexy but about a person’s emotional, and/or spiritual approach. It is OK to not feel ready, it is OK to wait, it is OK to not like it, it is OK to say no, it is OK to say yes. Everyone has the right to have not only their bodies respected, but their decisions, views, choices, etc. Engaging in education will help affirm and validate the rights of your young loved one.
If you wouldn’t hand keys to someone who has never driven and wish them luck in trying to figure out how to drive, than we might not want to hand off a dental dam or condom and hope for the best. Let’s start educating!