Fangirls, this week’s sex chat may be a little more thought & opinion focused than fact. Of course, there will be a lot of solid information, but it’s hard to discuss the facts on a topic that’s still got a lot to figure out. I feel pretty passionately about sex education in schools and it needing to be more thorough. However, just as the country & the system are, I’m still figuring out exactly how that should be done.
We shouldn’t and can no longer deny that people start thinking about sex at a fairly young age. Of course, it depends on the person, but we can’t ignore that sex is present in our minds and in our culture. Nowadays, kids are “exposed” to that stuff younger & younger, and it’s time we accommodate that.
I put “exposed” in quotes, because I think labeling seeing sexual themes & imagery as a hazard that one is exposed to is part of the problem. We tell kids from the start that’s a bad thing that they shouldn’t be seeing. I’m not saying go ahead and put no limits on what a child sees, and to let them freely scroll around the internet or television. I’m just saying that when a kid sees a sex scene or accidentally stumbles into some porn, we shouldn’t scold them or tell them that it’s bad. Tell them it’s something usually meant for older people, and there’s a lot to understanding it that will come with time & experience. Simply ask them if they have any questions about it. If they do, try to answer them the best that you can, in the most appropriate way. But you’ll be surprised with how many kids don’t want to know more yet. Kids are smart, and most of the time, they know that something that they’ve seen or experienced was perhaps past their time for now.
That brings me to another part of all this, don’t under estimate young people. I think part of the problem is an issue with trust. Parents think that if we stray from the abstinence only or purely contraception based education programs, that we’ll be flooding kids heads with ideas. I suppose I can understand where that concern comes from, but let’s put more trust in kids. If we give them the tools & information about safer sex and understanding sex, I think we should trust that they will take that information and really use it. They’ll go into a sexual situation when they’re ready, prepared & educated. I guarantee that though kids are giggling and making jokes, they are listening. I think an important step in better sex education for kids is trusting that they’ll use it well and take everything into consideration, rather than take it as a go ahead to go crazy with sexual activity.
Here’s the thing. 80% of people report that they had already lost their virginity before they had experienced any type of formal sex education. So these abstinence and programs only based on contraception, just feel like a waste of time to me. Now, I’m not saying it’s not important to talk about contraception, that should absolutely be a big part of the conversation. However, so much more needs to be talked about. Discuss more than the anatomy. There are mental, physical, sexual, and emotional aspects of sex that really all needs to be talked about. And when it comes to being safe, there’s a lot more than just birth control & condoms to consider. So open up the whole conversation. Make it a conversation. Our programs are too much like lectures, more rules to be shouted at kids. Make it interactive, talk about their concerns. Make it less of a talk for kids, and more of a talk with kids.
I’m sick of seeing kids hiding their sexuality. Kids feel like they need to be secretive about things, and that really only leads to problems. When kids aren’t open about what they’re doing, it closes them off for better education. So we need to help get everyone more comfortable with this. We can’t ignore that kids get sexual pretty young, and though some maybe we wish it wasn’t case, we need to accommodate that, rather than scold it. No one, at any age, should ever feel guilty for their sexuality. Let kids feel their feelings, and help them with it. Don’t close the door until a later, more “appropriate” time. Unfortunately, statistics show that time is most likely too late.
I’m not saying we should turn kids into sex crazed maniacs. I’m saying we should turn them into responsible adults. Which is really the root to everything involved with raising a kid. So please, let’s not treat sexuality any different.
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