Sex has always been a taboo conversation and I never understood why. Either the media is glorifying it or people feel too uncomfortable to speak about it candidly. Sex shouldn’t be viewed as “crass, unhealthy ” it’s a natural part of life. Most importantly, salve it’s better to be educated than not. Most teens feel too embarrassed to ask their parents or guardians, viagra so they educate themselves through movies, t.v., friends, etc. Which is a mess because those things all depict sex in the most inaccurate and dramatic way. What’s even worse is some have never had sex-ed due to the conservative state they live in or because of their religion or family tradition of abstinence. Now don’t get me wrong, if abstinence is your personal decision, then that is completely fine! I believe people should do as they please. If you decide to have sex, you should feel comfortable to have an open conversation and take the proper precautions.
On John Olivers show Last Week Tonight, John Oliver did a great segment on sex-ed in the U.S. Checkout the video below to hear what he has to say.
He stated that “Only 22 states mandate sex education, and only 13 require the information to be “medically accurate”. If that’s not outrageous enough, Oliver also presented videos of sex educators speaking about sex in the most appalling and offensive way! These sex ed speakers ACTUALLY tour around the country! Huffington Post states that these sex-ed public speakers make anything around $4,000- $6,000 a lecture solely promoting abstinence — which is absurd. Pam Stenzel, an abstinence-only sex ed speaker, states “If you take birth control, your mother probably hates you,”and, “I could look at any one of you in the eyes right now and tell if you’re going to be promiscuous,” …. YIKES! I feel like this is a real life Coach Carr moment.
The problem with these abstinence-only programs is that it unfortunately reinforces slut-shaming, disempowerment, and rape culture. The whole mantra “Boys will be boys” should not be taught in these classes or, honestly, in life in general. With all of this incorrect information floating around it’s no wonder why there are so many cases of sexual assault, teen pregnancies, and STD’s at such a young age. According to WOAR, Women Organized Against Rape, “ 1 and 3 women will be raped in their lives.” not to mention, most won’t report their attacks due to multiple reasons — which includes feeling guilt and disappointment. Though it’s out of their control, victims often feel they are the ones to blame.
Emily Smart, rape survivor stated, “I remember in school one time, I had a teacher who was talking about abstinence, and she said, ‘Imagine you’re a stick of gum. When you engage in sex, that’s like getting chewed. And if you do that lots of times, you’re going to become an old piece of gum, and who is going to want you after that?’ Well, that’s terrible. No one should ever say that. But for me, I thought, ‘I’m that chewed-up piece of gum.” This is not okay. Statements like this keep rape culture alive and force many victims to live in fear of others judging them, which often leads to victim-blaming. The Journal of the American Medical Association’s sex-positive sex education framework advised by David Satcher, former Surgeon General quotes that America’s sexual outcomes include “50,000 new HIV infections, 20 million STIs, 3 million unintended pregnancies, and 1 million rapes annually”. This shines a truthful light on how we talk about and how we are educated on sex in this country.
Now what about those who are apart of the LGBTQ community that don’t receive any education when it comes to their specific questions and concerns. When sex-ed programs cater to a heteronormative audience, it causes issues for those who don’t identify as heterosexual or cis-gender, shutting out the opportunity to have healthy discussions on gender identity and gender orientation. These topics are incredibly important to have at a young age. Understanding that everyone is different and that sexual orientation and gender identity varies person to person is something that can have a lasting impact.
The youth is being misinformed on valuable information AND being shunned/humiliated when they ask for clarification. Which is the result of a poor system of education. We must change this.
What Can I do?
1. Be confident in you! You are not damaged goods! You are perfect the way you are.
First thing first, don’t let anyone define you. You are a beautiful human with a beating heart. Your sexual orientation, gender identity, or virginity does not dictate your self-worth. If you decide to be abstinent that’s completely ok! And if you choose not to, that is also ok! You are in charge of making these decisions and not letting people pressure you so much that you keep your questions or concerns to yourself. Reach out if you don’t feel right about something, ask questions, learn as much as you can to be safe and feel safe.
2. Educate Yourself
Simple enough, right? The best way to learn is if we do our research, ask questions and keep are ears and hearts open. It might be hard for some to see the point of others, but it’s important to come to a mutual understanding. We need to respect victims of sexual assault, LGBTQ members, and those still trying to figure it out.
3. Talk about it
This is my common theme in most of my articles, but it’s an important one. You cannot expect a change if there are no active discussions happening. We need to get comfortable talking about sex.Sex is important and how we choose to view it can have a lasting impact on our lives, good or bad. There is no need to by shy or uncomfortable. Staying silent keeps these issues silent.Love those around you enough to have an open conversation. Be accepting. Don’t push away those close to you due to your own personal reserves. Everyone is different and everyone has a right to an opinion.
Stay safe. Be kind. And love yourself.
Written by Kiara Barnes