Sexual Education and Awkward Information Go hand in hand
Before writing our first official blog post (Let's Talk About Sex...Education), I asked my friends and myself, what exactly we learned from our Sex Ed courses, answers ranging from, we live in Texas to I never had a Sex Ed course reined supreme. There were those who took abstinence only programs and learned that sex could kill you and then there were other's like me, the lucky ones, who took not one but two Sex Ed courses. But what does that have to do with awkwardness and Sexual Ed? EVERYTHING!
Last week, I decided to ask my Femslack (Femsplain Magazine's Slack Channel) group members the same question, well, I asked them what exactly they learned about sex in high school, hoping they would tell me what their friends taught them, but instead, we talked about awkward things we all learned from our designated Sex Advisers aka the random Sexual Health Teachers assigned to teach us about life or the birds and bees or maybe, just to scare us.
*Disclaimer*-we received permission to post these replies in their original form, we did not change or include our own words (for the awkward moment section)*
From my official sex ed curriculum in abstinence-only public Indiana school taught by a teacher paid with tax money: Condoms are 90% ineffective* *against genital warts]”
Wish: I wish they told us that condoms are 98% effective at what they are designed for which is preventing pregnancy. Perhaps this is why people still need to google whether or not condoms ‘work.’ I’m still bitter about it.
Having sex with different people is like trying to reuse scotch tape multiple times - it doesn’t stick and it gets dirty’ and ‘having sex with someone who had sex with someone else is like eating candy that someone else has sucked on and spit out'
Wish: No comment on the tape and candy, but I wished we talked more about the feeling, connection between you and your partner, and emotion that went into sex more than the act as well as, (safety) measures we needed to protect ourselves if and when we decide to have sex.
I remember (and I wasn't even like, super sex positive at the time, just a super-picky-about-facts person) the teacher saying that birth control (as in the pill) either doesn't work or it works too well (like, makes ya infertile)
Wish: We learned that there are different contraceptives out there and I would have loved to at least heard the pro's and cons of some of them i.e IUD, Pill, Dipo shot or how effective they are, what happens when you take it, who is the right person to talk.
The thing about Sex Ed and in general, the "sex talk" is very awkward, especially when you're a teenager and trying to figure out your place in the world. But that doesn't change the fact the way we talk and teach about sexual health needs to change: even if you want to teach about abstinence you should also be willing to teach the alternative and the same goes for comprehensive sexual education. It's great that you want to teach students about sexual education and what should happen if they do decide to explore but you should also be willing to make students feel at ease if they decide not to have sex. It's not wrong either way and also, we have to get better a factual checking - access to resources and misinformation about Sexual Health can be detrimental to anyone at any age.