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It’s All About Relationships

What is sex education? And why are some people against it?

Lately, sex education has been a hot topic in the media and in politics. The current administration is slowly and quietly trying to pass abstinence-only education legislation — even though there is a massive amount of data proving this has been harmful to both the youth and mature adults. So why are some against sex education? To put it simply, it’s because they don't know what the phrase means. 

What is sex education?

We often think of sex education as biology or porn. It’s presented as a dirty, messy thing that we should avoid, or it’s oversimplified to penis-meets-vagina and that’s how you make a baby. If that was true and all we needed to know, then the dirty jokes I heard as a Cub Scout would be considered comprehensive sex education. Not that what’s happening in America today is far off. Even medical doctors, who are trained in healing the human body, receive less than 2 hours of sex education in medical school.

Sex education is about knowing your own body, your boundaries, and when those boundaries are violated. Children who have these skills are several times less likely to be sexually abused than those who don’t. It’s about respect, confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth — which have never been taught in a biology class. It's about making puberty — an already confusing and awkward time — less confusing. Can you remember going through puberty... the growth spurts, the skin problems and voice changes, the new hair, and the unusual feelings? Now, if you’re a part of the LGBTQ community, you may feel even more separated, confused, and alone. Don’t you wish you knew then what you know now? To know you’re not alone and not in a totally unique situation?

Sex education is about relationships

Most people never receive any education on how to be in a relationship. The vast majority of us model our relationships after our parents, which may or may not be the best example. Many guys, like me, were taught how to relate to each other and women through conversations with friends or in the gym locker room. Skills like communication and compassion are usually dictated by social shaming and speeches about conforming. Hence the recent “Me Too” movement.

Media has also failed to show us healthy relationships. First, there's Hollywood lie, that there is one match for us and when you meet them, you’ll know everything and the confusion will just disappear. What a line of make believe bullshit! Or there is a romantic scene, and the couple starts kissing, then there’s a fade away, and then they are putting their clothes back on or cooking breakfast. WTF just happened? At 45, I know none of my encounters happened like that. Am I doing it wrong? No, but that’s what we’re led to believe. For anyone who has ever been in a relationship, you know they are work — eternally ongoing work. There may be love, passion, and euphoria, but there is also uncertainty, doubt, miscommunications and, more often than not, an end. Chances are, the relationship you’re in now will not be your last. There is more to a relationship than sex, of course; there’s more to life than breathing, but no one’s saying we should stop breathing. At some point, the government, religion, and society removed pleasure, personal choice, and personal preference from sex in another attempt to control us.

So, what should we do?

Gay, Straight, Trans, or other, we’re all human and sex is a part of being human. Don't fear it, don’t repress it, don't be shamed by it and try to hide it. Sex is not a dirty thing. If our schools won’t teach it, then it falls upon us as parents. Don’t Panic. We think that talking to our kids about sex will be an awkward thing, probably because our conversation with our parents was. But it doesn’t have to be. It also doesn’t have to be about the biology; at least, not yet. Talk about their body parts and use the scientific names. If you refer to a vagina as a flower, your child will believe there is something wrong with that body part and feel shame. Don’t tease your kid if they have a crush or you find them masturbating — this is all natural. Educate yourself and speak to them clearly and confidently to make you their sexual information source instead of the locker room. Love them, support them, educate them, and give them the skills they need to become happy, stable adults.

– John C. Luna