The Importance of Sex Education… for Everyone

8 02 2013

Okay, I’ve been avoiding this post for a while now because I didn’t want to come off as preachy, but it just needs to be said: sex education is so important y’all. I mean, for real.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many confused questions and statements I heard from my teenagers when I worked at a local teen program in DC.  But even though many of the things they thought to be true were wrong (like believing 2 condoms were better than one and thinking that the pull-out method ACTUALLY works), at least I could hang on to the fact that they were kids, so maybe they didn’t know any better… yet.

And so once we realized this was the case (that they were soooo mis-informed), we worked hard to try and empower them with basic sex education knowledge – you know, things like the difference between HIV and AIDS, how STIs are contracted, how pre-ejaculate can definitely have sperm in it, how DC has a staggering 1 in 20 HIV rate, and so on. We even discussed some of the not so scientific things about sex like the feelings and emotions that go into it.

Working with the youth (14-18 year-olds) on these topics gave me a clear sense of the importance of making sure they were empowered with as much knowledge as we could give on sex education. Unfortunately, we quickly found out that they weren’t getting that education from anywhere else – and they weren’t alone in that reality. So it wasn’t all that shocking to me when I saw that a teenager recently told everyone on twitter about her positive HIV status, unfortunately believing that positive meant she did not HIV. The twitterverse not so kindly explained to her the error in her assumption.  I just wish someone had spoken to her before then, so it wouldn’t have been an issue in the first place.

Even still, it never dawned on me that adults could be just as clueless. But I guess if you have clueless kids, those kids will inevitably become clueless adults. How else do you explain some of the horrible statements made by certain conservatives regarding legitimate rape and honest rape. Or the extremely misguided New Mexico legislators who were actually considering the possibility of making it illegal to get an abortion if it meant destroying evidence of a rape. WHAT?!

I mean, WHAT??!!!

So maybe folks need a refresher course or something. You know how you have to get your license renewed every four years? Maybe you should also have to take sex education classes every four years too. Start it off as early as 9 or 10 and just keep having to go to renewal classes. And I don’t mean abstinence classes or classes that simply scare you into thinking you can’t even shake folks’ hands. I mean, it’s time we look into real, comprehensive sex education classes that discuss all the different aspects involved.

I know that sounds drastic, but folks are out here believing the most ridiculous things. And as important as it is that we try to make sure people are driving safely and are aware of all the safety laws of the road, it’s just as important to make sure folks aren’t out here just sexing with no logical sense of the consequences or making ludicrous statements about the ways in which human bodies function.

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