Growing up, I missed out on a lot of things and wished I knew more. Among all those, there are things I wish I knew about sex education. Now that I know better, I’d love to share these things so you can learn and make more informed decisions.
Sex education is surprisingly not what most people think it is. Before we go into what it is not, let’s start with what it is.
Meaning of Sex Education
Sex Education is teaching and learning about a broad variety of topics related to sex, sexuality, and bodily developments that help people understand how to have healthy relationships.
Having this clear definition, we can see how misguided most of our ideologies on sex education are.
Misconceptions of Sex Education
1. Sex Education Is Bad for Children and Teens
The word ‘sex’ is taboo to some people. Not to mention saying it around children. Some people think sex education for children is ‘spoiling’ them or ‘teaching them bad things. On the contrary, how sex education is taught is what determines how it is understood. People of all ages must be taught about sex and body development.
2. The ‘Don’t Do It’ Rule
It is known that then the only aspect of sex education some people think is necessary is to simply say ‘don’t do it. Unfortunately, some parents say this when giving “the talk” to their children. This is an incomplete message. There is more to sex education than that.
3. If You Don’t Know About It, You Won’t Do It
“Sex education makes people want to have sex”
says the people with wrong notions about it. On the contrary, teaching people all they need to know about sex saves them from making wrong decisions.
After realising how many more false ideas surrounding the topic of sex education, I start learning more about it.
Things I Wish I Knew About Sex Education
1. Sex Education Isn’t Bad
Far from it even. Proper orientation on the body’s development, sex and sexual acts, the do’s and don’ts, and the ‘what’ and ‘why’ are crucial. They aid in making a lot of decisions regarding friendships and relationships.
2. It Doesn’t Encourage Sexual Acts
When you learn about the dangers of unprotected sex, the first idea you have isn’t to jump out and want to have sex with just anybody. You make decisions a bit more carefully.
3. It Helps Make Better Relationship Decisions
The older we get, the more relationship and marriage become front-line news for us. The excisions we make about the people we choose to be with are largely dependent on what we’ve known since we were little. If sex education is available to teach the right things, then we are more likely to good partner choices.
4. It Helps Us Know What to Do in Situations of Abuse
We would never wish it on anyone, but unfortunately, a lot of people fall victim to sexual abuse. In such situations, many don’t know the right cause of action to take. Out of fear (from poor or lack of good sex education) they suffer in silence.
5. It Helps to Know and Set Boundaries
Many children and teens get molested and can’t complain because they don’t understand what the molesters are even doing something wrong. They end up learning to keep shut about it because that’s what the abusers teach them. If they knew better, if they were taught better, they’d speak up. Not just in children, but also adult relationships with abusive partners. People undergo abuse because they can’t understand where the boundaries lie with their bodies and their decisions. Even in relationships and marriages, it is possible to say no to your partner and expect them to respect your decision. If they hit you, run. These are some of the weighty matters that sex education covers.
6. STDs and the Different Types of Sex
It is common knowledge that STDs are gotten from sex with infected persons. But we only think of penetrative sex in this light. Au contraire, oral sex can also introduce STDs into the body but a lot of people don’t know this. They assume ‘since it’s not penetrative sex, I’ll be all right. Asides from STDs, females are especially prone to contracting infections of other kinds from hand-to-genital contact or the use of sex toys that aren’t properly cleaned or frequently shared.
7. Sex Education Covers a Lot More Than Just Sex
An essential for adolescents, sex education involves learning about the body (the sexual reproductive organs especially), and how to take care of them. Because the make-up of the body is explained, it is easier for them to know when there are abnormalities and talk to an adult about it. Females are also able to know about mensuration and caring for the body during that time.
8. Sex Education Allows Us to Appreciate Our Bodies and Their Diversities
Most of us had insecurities about how we perceived our bodies. We needed to understand that our bodies were different and grow differently (as in the cases of early and late bloomers).
How to Correct Sex Education Misconceptions
1. Adequate Training for Seaver’s and Sex Educators
Organisations and bodies that handle sexual-related issues should educate facilitators that can teach the masses sex education in different languages, manners of approach, and with different materials. Teachers, similarly, need this orientation. They’re some of the closest contact children and young adults have with a lot of information.
Social media outlets should also be actively involved in inducing such changes. It’s a much quicker way to read out to a higher number of people simultaneously.
A general re-orientation is important for all age groups. Sex education ought to be tailored to each age group for better understanding. It begins from children to teens, young adults, and even the older generation. Everyone is a crucial tool in making these changes.
The earlier we start with proper sex education, the better it is for us as a nation. Shying away from the subject only leads to more people making poor sex-related decisions and increasing the number of health-related issues.
What should you learn in sex education?
Sex education comprises several topics that are necessary for a well-rounded understanding of sex, sexual health, and everything that relates to it. When learning sex education, it should include bodily developments (reproduction, puberty, etc.), relationships and their boundaries (family, sexual/romantic relationships, friendships), and sexual behaviours (abstinence and sexuality).
Should sex education be taught to children?
Definitely, sex education should be taught to anyone old enough to comprehend basic human communication. Sex education for children does not have to be as elaborate as it is with adults. Most of what children should be taught include:
- boundaries that adults are to have when it comes to their bodies
- how to communicate if they have been molested in any way
- What should and shouldn’t be done to their bodies
Amongst other things.
I’ve already been having sex for a while now. Do I still need sex education?
No matter your sexual status, sex education is important. This is because some of our orientations were founded on misconceptions about sex and relationships. We may need to unlearn many of those concepts so we can enjoy better relationships. Also because we need to be better informed to teach the younger generation the proper things.
Why is sex education important?
Knowledge of sex and everything that relates to it is extremely important. It helps people make better choices about their sex lives and relationships generally. More properly informed people would mean less spread of STIs, abortions, and abandoned children and a healthier nation at large.
What is the best way to teach sex education?
Sex education should be taught as a comprehensive subject. It should include an understanding of the body’s development, sex and its types, STIs, HIV, and sex abuse in all its forms. No part should be left out for better understanding.
If you ever thought to yourself, “there are things I wish I knew about sex education”, kindly share them with us in the comments section below.