Continuing Education of the Sexual Variety

SexEd

A friend of mine recently reached out to me and asked for my opinion based on an article that had caught her eye. The subject was sex education in high school (and whether or not a certain text book selected for the class was appropriate for 9th graders). It was a topic of controversy in California. Parents were outraged. Civil liberty people were called. Text books were deemed by many of the parents to be “pornographic.” And in the end, the text book was pulled. The parents won.

As I read the article and contemplated her question about my opinions I found myself thinking about how often misconceptions surrounding sex come up. How often friends ask me for clarification and/or advice despite the fact I’m not a therapist. I’m just pretty knowledgeable and enjoy researching the subject (in the many various formats available for “research”.)

So here are my thoughts as they pertain directly to the California scenario. The parents were well within their rights. Although I firmly believe it’s very important that sexual education continue, and not just from a “sex is evil/having sex can get you diseases that can range from embarrassing to lethal/save yourself till marriage” standpoint, there are certain subjects that should probably be left for private discussions rather than a public forum. For example, the text book chosen went into details such as sexual positions, bondage, and helpful hints for masturbation. Now, to be fair, there’s no way to know if these subjects would’ve been discussed in class, but they also came with illustrations a la The Joy of Sex. In my opinion, that’s probably pushing it a bit, and I can see why the parents were up in arms.

In an ideal world kids would come to their parents or schools would have a social worker or therapist on staff that they could come to…to sit down and talk about these things if they’re curious. Heck, let’s be real….do you really think there aren’t any precocious freshmen girls who haven’t read 50 Shades? You’d be deluding yourself. But on the flip side, the entire class doesn’t need to be in the middle of this discussion because everyone’s level of knowledge and experience or desire to go there is not and will not be the same!

Why focus on the advanced courses without addressing the basics? What should be discussed in this sex ed class (because I truly do believe we should continue the education…heck, they haven’t had sex ed since their private parts and their functions, including periods, were explained in 4th-5th grade)? How about a positive body image. How about instead of focusing on tips and pointers of masturbation, we explain that it’s a natural function and that exploring ones self is normal. How about explaining the impacts of cruel cutting words surrounding a person’s body and/or sexuality. Detail how such simple things as words can create eating disorders, fear, and even suicide….and that there is power in social media, so they should be judicious in how they choose to use it. Or that positive words can build a person up and help them take on the world? How about tolerance for people who may not share our sexual interests? There’s no need for the details there, though it certainly may open some people’s minds up for questions and curiosities. Heck, they may even go to people they know who are into whatever it is that caught their attention and learn something…including tolerance!

I guess what I’m trying to say is that sexual education definitely needs to continue, but some of it should be explored and experienced through independent learning. Helping guide people to thirst for more learning is the first step. Taking away the taboos and the fear is the second. (And it doesn’t mean you have to push aside the very real concerns about safety, pregnancy, and diseases.) Third is teaching that with sex comes responsibility, and that sex is never a decision that should be taken lightly without understanding the potential for consequences. We can do ALL of that without threats and fear!

You know why else sex education is important? Because you don’t want your child to be the 23 year old girl who asked a very close friend of mine if she had to worry about becoming pregnant because she swallowed when she gave her boyfriend head. Or my own friend who, at 19 years old, was confronted with a boyfriend who didn’t like condoms and wanted everything to be “natural” including the pills they bought together at a health food store. Needless to say, she was pregnant with twins by the time she was 20. These situations, while extreme, are examples of what can happen when sex discussions are pushed away or fear is put at the forefront. Where old wives tales prevail. Or worse, ignorance.

Heck, I’m 40 years old and I’m still continuing my sexual education. How about you? BTW, if you’ve got your own stories of fear/ignorance, I’d love for you to share… And if you’ve got thoughts on sex ed, I’d love to hear those, too!

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21 thoughts on “Continuing Education of the Sexual Variety

  1. brickhousechick says:

    Hello Girl! You make some good points, as always;). You really hit the nail on the head (no pun intended) 😉 by weaving those very critical topics into sex ed. That’s how it should be taught!

    • Kitt Crescendo says:

      Thanks, Maria. I just think we have a tendency sometimes to go way to far from one extreme to the other…instead of focusing on the things that can actually help improve everything. Does that make sense?

  2. Gloria Richard Author says:

    I love the notion of having a qualified counselor/therapist with whom students could discuss sex — preferences, basics, pending decisions, et al.

    Heck! I have regular and candid conversation with a good male friend, who happens to have been my high school sweetheart. If we’d been able to talk as openly,then as we do now, I might not have carried so much social stigma into sexual relationships that latest until August started her Girl Boner series.

    We never had sex because he feared I’d get pregnant and screw up his plans to become a PhD In genetics. I had my first orgasm when I sat astride him in a steam-the-windows date on a back country road. When the feeling began, I didn’t know what was happening,but I knew I was headed to a great place. I climaxed and was too embarrassed to tell him!

    But, once I knew about that magic place…

    I began to masturbate — oooooh, a deep, dark, dirty secret pleasure (in my mind). Gosh! The word masturbate itself was verboten.

    Had I known now what I know now…

    Suffice to say I am happy I AT LEAST know now. Faking it so the guy doesn’t feel bad ruined sex for me for decades. I’m ready to turn that people pleaser tendency inward Me first!

  3. Jessi Gage says:

    Oh, Kitt, I love the graphic at the top.

    As always, you have some excellent things to say here. I agree with you! Parents have a right to give input to what their kids are learning at school. But they must not neglect their responsibility in teaching their kids about sex. It is ultimately the parents’ job. No one else’s.

  4. Kristy K. James...Where Romance and Fantasy Collide says:

    In an era when parents are not only losing control of what their kids are exposed to, but even some rights (states that allow minors to get birth control and abortions without parental permission), I’m glad to see they won in California. I do believe sex ed needs to be continued, but not in a porn kind of way. And definitely not in a co-ed class.

    Maybe I’m a prude, but I think parents should be included in anything dealing with their child. After all, if they’re legally responsible for them until they’re 18, and required to pay for their college education until their mid-20s, they should have a say in what’s taught them in school.

    • Kitt Crescendo says:

      I agree. Not in a porn kind of way. But also not in the evil/scare tactic kind of way. I hope those same parents who were up in arms take time to talk to their children & open up the dialogue. This whole incident gives them a great jumping off point to explain shy they were upset & what they’d like their kids to know and/or understand. 🙂

      • Kristy K. James...Where Romance and Fantasy Collide says:

        Are you saying parents shouldn’t tell kids they’ll grow a third eye and facial warts if they even think about having sex? 😀

        Exactly. Don’t scare them, but let them know it’s not simply something they should do for fun. There’s more to it than that … not even including the personal responsibility they need to take if they think they’re old enough to make that decision.

  5. Melissa Reynolds says:

    I love the idea of an actual acredited counselor presenting the information. I believe it is a necessity for teenagers to at the very least understand the basics of their sexuality and bodies. It keeps it from being taboo and from ignorance of sex leading to unwanted pregnancies and the spreading STDs. How everything works, protection, basics mechanics so to speak, ramifications of unprotected sex, contraception( with the option to opt out for religious reasons) and an introduction to masturbation.It’s not dirty, it’s natural and a unique expression of the individual. Now, I don’t believe it’s sex eds place is to introduce sexual lifestyles and introduction to sexual acts in detail or to judge said lifestyles. I’m a firm believer that the self discovery of one’s sexual preferences should be on their own terms, not the schools. I’m just on the cusp of this my oldest daughter(10yrs old) who is already 5’3 and in a B cup, because her body is maturing faster than her, I ‘ve had to introduce her to what menstruation is and that our bodies make babies. Wasn’t ready to go there yet, but I don’t want to leave her vulnerable to someone abusing her because I didn’t level with her. I have not explained sex yet, but I want to start an open dialogue with her so she’ll come to me when the questions start to arise.

    • Kitt Crescendo says:

      I couldn’t agree more about sexual lifestyles. It’s one thing if a young person becomes curious and asks questions, but another entirely to push that knowledge on someone without their interest and/or consent.

      As for the way you’re handling things with your daughter….love that you’re already working to build and strengthen lines of communication for her when she is ready.

      Smart lady!

  6. Tana Bevan says:

    Kitt~You have the most level-headed approach to sex, your body, its functions and pleasures of anyone I know. Kudos for yet another well reasoned, well-written post on a subject everyone wants to know about and so many are too shy to discuss/explore/learn/experience.

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