Sex Education

I’m a big big BIG supporter of educating young people about sex. I’ve had the opportunity to teach sex ed classes and I’m very proud of this. Recently I was watching Rubbing R*** oops, I mean, Rubbing Minds, on Channels TV (I haven’t paid my dstv bills which may also explain the onslaught of posts!) and the subject of the day was Pornography. Now the fact that Chude and co are even discussing this topic on national television deserves another post on its own but that’d be digressing….Anyhoo, a friend of mine who’s also on the panel of the show was of the opinion that porn is not only okay but in fact recommends it for young adults 12-18. Rightly, as adults the thought of a 12 year old watching or looking at porn is cringe-worthy and while I don’t particularly subscribe to that point of view, I do believe that it is critical for teenagers in that bracket to be exposed to proper sex education. Watching that show, I started thinking about sex ed generally.

Let’s face it, we’re all curious human beings subjected to the whims of our natural hormones and composition. Certainly by 12 years old we are growing into our bodies, noticing the changes and the reasons for the changes, being aware of ourselves as sexual beings. Curiosity sets in at this age and is even aided along by what we see or read or witness in our peer groups (and I’m not just talking of tv and magazines but of real life). There’s no way you can show me a 12 year old who is not aware of sex and trying to figure out what role it plays or perhaps will play in their lives as an adult being. Now I truly believe that proper sex ed helps to vent these emerging curiosities and help to provide the necessary tools to have an healthy attitude towards it and make the right, informed decisions.

Proper sex ed first and foremost validates the particular pubescent stage in that teenager’s life. It’s about saying, ok, there are certain things happening within and without your body right now, but it’s okay, it’s absolutely normal, and here are the tools to help you cope with it. Then it’s explaining exactly what to expect in physical terms (as plainly as possible in proper medical terms) and teaching how to know and respect your body. It’s also about educating on the whole range of options available to you in many different scenarios and how to go about, confidently, picking the right option. Many people think that sex ed opens up a Pandora’s box so to speak, but I’d rather believe that it is equipping young adults to deal with the contents of the so called Pandora’s box, because believe me it’s opening up at some point and they’re gonna have to deal with it. It’s also important to note that a proper sex ed program must and should always emphasize the benefits of abstinence. Every person, young or old, must know that your sexuality is your own, and whether you’re “active” or not is a decision YOU should actively make.

In this our world, sex ed is also about educating young ones that sex is not just about climax, or doing something “bad”, or satisfying a curiosity, or peer pressure, or anything like that. It’s about entering the world of unwanted pregnancies, of sexually transmitted diseases, of HIV/AIDs. I’m always, always amazed how little people, grown adults know about STDs and I always find myself asking, if you don’t the difference between Chlamydia, or syphilis, or what it looks like, or how it behaves how can you consciously protect yourself? Truly if your partner doesn’t tell you they have Chlamydia how would you know??? Can you recognize herpes? Do you know you can actually still contract herpes even with a condom??? It’s frightening that most people don’t know these things. A recent survey found that 1 out of every 5 young girls in high school in the US has an STD. 1 in 5!!!! And that’s in America, imagine Nigeria where promiscuity is actually rampant and to some extent accepted from aristo-carrying university students, to polygamy, to accepted infidelity, the circle is endless. I remember a married man having a conversation with my male friend and I, rushing off to go and meet 3 different girls in some hotel room and being quiet excited about it. As they say when you sleep with a partner you’re also sleeping with ALL of that person’s partners, I thought about this and thought of the man’s wife and the pool of possible sexual diseases this man can carry home……..truly frightening especially when you think this is a country where condom-wearing is not the norm. If anything I encourage everyone reading this to just get to know about STDs, then you’ll know how to protect yourself and save us all really! A good sex ed program teaches all these things at the onset of sexual curiosity and activeness.

Anyway, I can write all day on this topic as I’m truly very passionate about it but what I truly want to get through is the importance of a proper attitude and knowledge of these matters instead of taboo-ing it. Knowledge is power in every facet of life and still applies in this case.


GNG said...

This is such a well written piece. I definitely think that sex ed should be taught pretty much exactly as you propose to preteens and teens (and I especially like that abstinence should be stressed, that and teaching that sexuality belongs to the individual and they should be the ones making decisions about their own sexuality).

What you talk about is so comprehensive and would really be beneficial to many.

Lola said...

thanks gng! i'm glad you understand and appreciate the importance of this topic!

thanks for stopping by!

t said...

I read gynaecological stuff, you know, the big books that women buy when they're pregnant, with ALL the good info. My parents were a little shy so they let me read as a compromise I guess. I was about 10 and read everything else anyway.
Oh and they encouraged me to watch satellite (not porn, just Hollywood) alone after hours too. Good times.
On the other side were the forces of taboo. It does kind of mess you up, all that confusing taboo talk.
I agree oh, don't confuse your children. There's a lot you sef don't know ;) just teach them what you do know, and send them off to a good website. Thank you ma. A dupe sa. Birds do it, bees do it...
I'm not a huge fan of porn, personally. I am a small fan.