What is your greatest fear about teaching sex to youngsters? How did your information about sex? When and why did you decide to find information about sex and how much has this information benefit you? Sex is a big part of the human race because it is how we all got here in the first place. But in our culture, even in the home, sex is a topic that is abhorred, a taboo never to be mentioned or brought up for discussion. Does this attitude to sex have implications? What do you think?
In the last few years, there has been a clarion call from many quarters for teenagers to be exposed to information on sex. Many of these groups give their reasons and many of these reasons are well-founded. But you find, in our society, a lot of refusals to expose teens to sex, because it could make them sexually active at a young age, thereby exposing them to early pregnancy, risky sexual behavior, and STIs. Do you think this is true?
An example: the case of Phillip
Phillip was so excited one afternoon when he got home that he asked his mother that he wanted to get condoms for himself to protect himself from HIV. He explained to his mother that his teacher had taught them about contraceptives that day in school. The teacher had shown them what a condom looked like and how it is worn. Philip’s mother, shocked and very angry, decided to visit the school the next day to lay a complaint.
What do you think is wrong in the story? Teaching Philip about condoms, not giving Philip the right information about condom use, or was the mother overreacting?
Among teenagers, there is an urge to experiment, to try new things and many teachers and parents are concerned that teaching teenagers about sex will give them the go-ahead to experiment about sex. For this reason, some of them recommend that they should grow older before, maybe till they get it university, before they are given such information. Some parents would prefer to wait till the child is ready to get married before they teach them about sex.
Whether sex education is done when the child is in secondary school or high school, university or college, or just before marriage, they will be exposed to pornographic materials whether they are aware or not. We live in an age of free information. Almost nothing is hidden anymore. So, even if their activities at home and school are monitored and censored, there is no assurance that they would be spared being exposed. The danger is not being exposed to information regarding sex, it is getting exposed to the wrong information about sex.
What to do
It is simple, teach your child about sex right from puberty. Arguably, the parent is in the best position to teach a child about sex because the child needs such information from someone whom they know and have some level of trust in so that when they have any questions or run into any troubles, it would be easy to run to them for help. A teenager should get sex education from a teacher, counselor, or guardian. What is important is that they get the correct information and not information that is biased or one-sided. So what do you tell a teenager about sex? The next heading could give us an idea.
Comprehensive sex education
According to the WHO, comprehensive sexuality education teaches both factual information as well as attitudes and skills related to the different aspects of sexuality with respect to the child’s age level. The areas of sex education determined by the WHO include:
- Body and development
- Intimacy and self-esteem
- Welfare and health
- Norms and habits
Openness is the starting point for sex education
When planning teaching content, sex educators should be aware of the special features of their own culture as well as the cultures of those participating in instructions. Some cultures may carefully regulate the discussion on sex. Parents and teachers should get correct information about sex and how to transmit such information to a teenager. Sexual rights as part of human rights. Therefore, every teenager should know about consent and how important it is especially when faced with pressure to engage in sexual acts. So teach them, let them know about sex, and teach them to be responsible because that is what makes a mature person.