Sex Education Saves Lives And Reduces Harm
Hey you, let’s learn about sex. Here are some fast fun facts to test your knowledge: Did you know that masturbation prevents prostate cancer for males? It’s true! Did you know that most people with vaginas will experience at least one yeast infection a lifetime? It is true! (I get them every summer). Did you know that people of all genders will fake an orgasm to avoid upsetting their partner? Yep, that has been reported as well.
In a world where American schools are not legally required to provide factually accurate sexuality information, where questions from kids are often met with shame or myth, it’s so wonderful that we have sex educators to answer these kinds of questions. Perhaps you are reflecting on the awkward or painful or embarrassing moments you’ve experienced; things that could have gone better or been avoided, if only you’d had access to information, shame-free support, and healthcare or birth control.
Playing sexually is similar to playing a sport: Sports and sex is meant to be enjoyable, fun, safer, and we should equip all players with the tools and knowledge they need to play more safely and mutually. Sex and sports require communication, boundaries, consent to the rules. For either, you’ll want to discuss boundaries and rules with the other player(s), safety and protective gear, rules of engagement, and the goals of the game. Are we using condoms? What are your hard-limits and preferences? Are we trying to have fun or make a baby? These conversations matter and people can begin practicing them so that they’re more comfortable having them when presented in sexual situations. Some parents will fight schools and legislation that attempt to offer it – arguing that it will increase sexuality amongst children, or turn them gay, etc – whereas many studies show that young people who have quality sex education are less likely to engage in risky sexual behavior, less likely to experience an unintended pregnancy, or get an STI.
Young people who are abused might not understand it until they receive comprehensive sex education, the tools, and language to communicate about it with a trusted adult or teacher. And LGBTQ kids are less likely to self-harm or experience harassment in areas that are accepting and reflective of queerness. It freaks people out to think of their children becoming sexual adults. And some folks find it easier to ignore how their kid might navigate the world of partnered touch, condom use, STI screenings, peer coercion, practicing consent, partner violence, and pregnancy. Therefore, they do not address these topics at all. Parents are unable to give their kids contextual, age-appropriate information about sex if that parent has never received any good information or guidance themselves. Many people feel inept about how to offer info and don’t know what sources to look for.
I recommend the children’s book, “Sex Is a Funny Word” by Silverberg & Smyth, teens and parents can go online and check out Scarleteen.com or Amaze.org, and for parents, I recommend Plannedparenthood.org and ErikaMoen.com.
The information is out there you and your kids deserve to have a better, safer sex life, and to feel in control of their bodies and their choices. Here is to the future.
Published November 9th, 2020 in The Pomonan
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