Yup, that’s probably the reaction the world gives when someone brings up sex education, especially in places that are more conservative than others. But why is that? Why is a natural part of human biology perceived in a shameful way? And why do people assume that once sex education is brought to the table, the conversation will become inappropriate?
There still seems to be a great deal of stigma surrounding sex education. Whether it is in schools or at home, many people tend to avoid talking about it. However, what so many fail to realize is that not acknowledging the big elephant in the room will cause more harm than good.
When kids grow up in an environment that does not educate them about an inevitable part of life and human nature, then these kids will be misinformed and even oblivious. And misinformed kids become adults who do not know their sexual rights or how to stay safe.
It is reported that in some countries, only 1 in 3 girls know about menstruation, and that only 34% of young adults worldwide know about HIV prevention and transmission. These numbers are shocking and highlight the need for an action plan to improve sex education.
The reason why so many people oppose sex education is because they believe it is a way to promote sex in an unhealthy manner. However, that cannot be further from the truth. In reality, normalizing sex education means that young adults can learn about the different aspects of sex, know their rights and how to avoid any sexual intercourse associated risks, such as unintended pregnancies or STDs.
It is important to separate inappropriate conversations about sex and ones that are meant for educational purposes. According to an article published by UNESCO, comprehensive sex education can help promote health and wellbeing, as well as teach kids and young adults how to lead safe and healthy lives. The article also suggests that with introducing sex-ed, gender-based violence and intimate-partner violence can even be reduced.
Sex and reproduction are a natural aspect of human life. Most humans will experience sexual relationships in their lives and it is necessary that they are prepared when the time comes.
Furthermore, talking to young adults about sex is instrumental so that they understand the physical, emotional and mental consequences.
School is not the only place that sex education should be discussed, making sure that you create a safe place for your child at home to ask about anything is also pivotal. Sex should not be a shameful or inappropriate topic. It should be discussed in an age-appropriate, comfortable and non-sexual manner.
Normalizing sex education and the conversation around it is an important step in removing the awkwardness and shame that comes with talking about it. And in order for us to normalize age-appropriate conversation about it, then we need to work towards integrating it into school curriculums without feeling embarrassed or blushing every time the word “sex” comes up.
Not only that, but sex-ed is crucial for ensuring young adults grow up knowing about consent, safety, pleasure and how to lead a healthy fulfilling life.
“Sex education always felt inappropriate to bring up. I would always avoid asking questions to my professors and opt to google anything about the topic. Even in study groups, in one way or another we would end up always studying about most topics together except for topics that had to do with sex and reproduction. Maybe it was because of the conservative nature of my university, but sex education should definitely become more normalized. I should not feel uncomfortable or ashamed if the topic comes up, it is human biology!” - School of Pharmacy Graduate, The University of Jordan
Knowledge is power, so why are we stripping away the right of learning about healthy and safe sex?
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