Sex Education wasn’t great when I was in school. I was taught that sex is dangerous and that everything, even flirtatious glances, leads to sex. I have a clear memory of adults coming into the class to tell cautionary tales of how sexual experiences emotionally destroyed their young lives.
The state of sex education in our schools is getting increasingly worse. Our youth have little to no idea about navigating their new sexual relationships, how to shield themselves against infectious diseases (or much about infectious diseases at all), the broad spectrum of “normal” which is quite different from the misnomer propelled by the mainstream that there is a handful of behaviors, feelings, and thoughts that are “normal”.
Since there are few avenues for guidance, our youth look to porn for their sex education, which isn’t always ideal, depending on which company’s films they’re consuming.
Although many young viewers know these films are made for fantasy, they continue to look to porn for any narrative on a subject that is often vehemently avoided in school and at home. Watching certain types of porn, though, most of our youth need extra guidance just for what they’re seeing so that they can differentiate between the fantasy of porn that has been provided and what they can expect with consensual partners.
Our youth are busy thinking about ways they can participate in whatever they are watching, not thinking about what goes into porn making- editing, makeup, technological touch-ups.
While porn does teach them that it is perfectly ok to express their sexuality, if youth are depending only on watching porn for their sex education, they miss learning about the communication that goes on between partners to connect, to make sex better, to learn about themselves and one another. They don’t know that they can ask for what they want or that their partner can ask for what they want and that it’s not synonymous with rejection, but that the opposite is true; as they ask for what they want, they can find more acceptance.
If we provided comprehensive sexual education for our youth, they would begin to see that sex isn’t a shameful, disgusting subject and thus, those who have sex are not shameful and disgusting, and to think about it, talk about STI protection, carry condoms, birth control, etc. is not shameful or disgusting. To have sexual knowledge, any remote sexual experience, or be sexually savvy would not be cause for slut shaming because more people would feel empowered with awareness, not afraid and unable to see their choices.
Sex is so much more than just something we do. It’s something we think. It’s something we feel. A lot of adults are confused by this idea; we write books for them, provide therapists for them, and invite them to conferences. It is important that we approach sex education with our youth with as much compassion, intention, and awareness to help guide them so that they can explore and understand themselves without being afraid.
Love and Be Loved,