Rethinking Sex Education
If you were to ask anyone to describe what Sex Education is all about, chances are most people would mention three things:
- Contraception – often limited to “how to put on condoms” for boys, and “take the pill” for girls
- STI’s – Sexually Transmitted Infections (and generally presented as a way to scare people into not having sex)
- Childbirth and Conception – “How babies are made”
But as I’ve hinted at in the last article, Sex Education is much, much bigger than that.
In addition to discussing safe sex practices, the concept of Sex Education refers to many topics that are crucial to a child’s development, such as:
- His personal identity, his body image, and his sense of self-worth
- How he asks for what he wants, how he responds when he doesn’t get it, and how it ties into consensual practices
- His ability to filter the messages he receives from other peoples, the community/culture he grew up in, and the media. And making choces about whether those messages are worth adopting or not, instead of just letting them in
- Understanding intimacy, as well as learning how to set and respect boundaries
- Understanding how his own body works
- How to respond to peer pressure
- Understanding what is and isn’t violence, whether it is psychological, verbal, physical, or sexual. And recognizing when it shows up in his own behaviors as well as other’s, as well as knowing how to respond to it appropriately.
- And much, much more
As you’ve probably noticed, a lot of these things don’t necessarily have to do with sexuality.
But they are nonetheless an important part of sex education because, without them, it may be difficult for the child to grow up as a healthy sexual human being.
And that is why it’s important to change the way we think about sex education.
It’s not just a one-off thing, it’s an integral part of the child’s social and emotional development that interconnects with everything else they are learning as they grow up, understand others, make sense of the world, and finds their place within it.
Over the next few months, I’ll dive deeper into each of the topics mentionned and how they can impact a child’s sexual development. So, I hope you will look forward to it!
And, if you have any questions you’d love me to answer, be sure to reach out to me. I’ll be happy to help out.