Over the reading week, my EFND class was asked to read Teen Sex: Reality Check. I have to admit, I felt a little silly holding this up in the airport and on the beach, and I certainly got a lot of funny looks! But why? No one seemed to mind as I flipped through an issue of Cosmopolitan, a highly sexualized magazine. Yet talking about “sex” is taboo. We were asked to consider many issues about the media, STD’s and lifestyle choices in relation to the dreaded class… Sex Ed.
I went to a school that took an abstinence stance when it came to sex ed. I learnt about STD’s in health class, but that was the extent of topics that were covered. I wonder how this happened in a public small town school? Why did teachers/administration stray away from a topic that has become so normalized in our society? Think about the last movie you watched, the latest episode of your favourite TV show, or the magazine you picked up last week. What do they all have in common? Chances are they all contained a sexual reference of some sort. They give the public, and students (of a surprisingly young age) the impression that casual sexual relationships are the norm, and that they are low risk activities to engage in. This simply isn’t the case.
With that in mind my class started making a list of what good sexual education should look like. Here are some ideas we came up with…
We thought it should fully disclose the consequences of all STDs.
It should provide students with the tools they need to make informed decisions not teach them to prevent pregnancy.
We decided that males and females should not be separated.
It should involve teachers and other professionals, etc.
Parent involvement is crucial.
It must examine the media and their influence.
Just as we thought we had it all figured out my professor posed two questions that I am still struggling with. Perhaps you have some ideas…
What would sexual education look like in a highly sexualized society?
What would sexual education look like in a homophobic society?
This is our reality…..