Raising children in today’s world is complicated. With the introduction of the internet, children are exposed to a realm of information that their parents did not have access to during their own formative years. With this ever-evolving world comes the necessity for education about the delicate topic of sex. Parents and educators must provide comprehensive sex education for every child, in order to promote mental wellness and reduce risky behaviors.
What is sex education? It is defined as any class or program that provides information about human sexuality. This can come in many forms, including lessons in anatomy or biology, discussions about consent and boundaries, as well as strategies for dealing with temptation and practicing self-control. The goal of comprehensive sex education is to provide information to children so that they make informed decisions, while fostering a culture of respect, healthy relationships, and positive body image.
Research shows that those who had comprehensive sex education in school are shown to be better prepared and more likely to delay engaging in risky sexual activity. They are also shown to have fewer partners and use condoms and birth control pills more readily. They show an understanding of abstinence, healthy relationships, and STD protection, which equates to more responsible sexual behaviors.
Although comprehensive sex education does not necessarily equate to delayed sexual intimacy it does set necessary boundaries of respect and understanding. This can give a protected feeling to emotionally vulnerable students as they mature and explore their own sexuality. Providing this type of education creates a safe environment for these conversations to take place and opens the door to parents and educators to really engage as they help guide and direct these impressionable minds.
By teaching abstinence and avoiding fear-based tactics such as scare tactics, educators are creating an environment of support and understanding. This allows students to feel comfortable discussing sensitive topics and ask questions freely. Educators also should encourage students to talk about their values and opinions about sex, so that they are clear on where their beliefs stand when it comes to making decisions.
In some cases, comprehensive sex education classes might even be required. These can often include more specific information geared towards one gender or another, helping to reduce gender stereotypes and compartmentalized gender roles. Combining comprehensive sex education with relationship education can further help to promote healthy relationships, and create stronger connections between partners.
It is no surprise that comprehensive sex education helps to reduce sexual risk-taking behaviors, but it also results in greater emotional well-being. Sex education should be a topic which is talked about openly and given the attention that it deserves. Sex education should also be inclusive, encompassing all genders and sexual orientations, creating a safe space for all students to explore and grow.
With the complexity of the human experience and the vast array of different media sources now available, comprehensive sex education is mass beneficial for every child. It should always be approached in an approachable, engaging, and open-minded manner with an emphasis on respect and understanding. We cannot afford to leave children in the dark, and comprehensive sex education can make all the difference for our future generations.