What is Sex Education?
Sex education is an instruction therapy on issues related to human sexual behaviours, which can include emotional responsibilities and relations, sexual activities, the age of consent, human sexual anatomy, reproductive rights, reproductive age, birth control, safe sex and also about issues related to sexual abstinence.
Sex education that encompasses all these aspects as mentioned above, is known as comprehensive sex education. The common pathways of receiving sex education are caregivers, parents, public health campaigns and formal school programs for the students. Adolescent men and women in many traditional cultures were not provided with any information pertaining to sexual matters, where discussion on sex was being considered as a taboo.
How Sex Education Started?
However, the progressive movement on human rights and education during the 19th century led to the introduction of social hygiene in the North American school curriculums, which is the advent of sex education on a global platform. The need for sex education was also heightened by the increasing incidence of teenage pregnancies, particularly in the western part of the world after the 1960s.
As a part of the effort of each country to reduce such pregnancies, extensive programs on sex education were programmed and also introduced, which was initially strongly opposed by parents and also by the religious groups. Later with the AIDS outbreak, which became a global issue, gave a new sense of urgency to this stream of education.
Sex Education Importance
Sex education is important as it will encourage good values and belief in an individual about sex. It will also help a child to not gather any sort of misconceptions regarding sexual behaviours. One must take into account that youngsters are very vulnerable and if no proper education regarding sex is imparted then it may lead to an increase in teen pregnancies, STDs, miscarriages, abortions and rapes.
Sex education can also reveal concepts like gender identity, relationships, intimacy, marriage, family and body images to a young mind. Thus, it is necessary to include sex education in the curriculum. Another vital topic that should be discussed under sex education is sexual health and personal hygiene.
Why Is Sex Education Important At The Right Age?
Sex is still considered taboo in some of the world, but nobody can deny this fact that it is a physical need for the human body. Hence, sex education is a necessity because it can actually change the life of people and the mindset of society. Sex education helps in exploring beliefs related to sex as well as it enables an individual to manages his/her own sexual health and relationships.
It is important to provide sex education at the right age that covers a wide range of topics like gender identity, sexual health, hygiene, birth control, sexually transmitted infections, body image, decision making, etc. Sex education should start probably during childhood when a child starts questioning his/her own body.
Sex Education Aims
It aims to give a clear picture of sexual health and hygiene by sharing information related to sexual behavior, intimacy, prevention of disease, pregnancy and protection. Sexual health does not just mean that a person is not suffering from any disease but it is a state of being physically, emotionally, mentally, and socially healthy in terms of sexuality.
Sex education comes with an objective to provide most of the information about sex during adolescence since at this age, an individual experiences a change in their body, psychology and their behaviour. Thus, the major goal of sex education is to help young minds understand sexuality so that they can make healthy decisions through their lives.
Sex Education Is Needed For Various Reasons:
Sex education is important for quite a few reasons such as:
- Teenagers should know the changes that would take place in their body physically, at the time of adolescence. This is only possible by imparting sex education.
- Not just girls but even boys should also know the concept of menstruation so that both genders can easily accept this as a natural phenomenon that takes place in a girl’s body. Moreover, they should also have knowledge about sanitary pads and tampons.
- Sex education is needed to make awareness about pregnancies, Sexual Transmitted Disease (STD) and Human Immuno Virus (HIV) so that youth can become more responsible and have a better decision making in regard to sex.
- Girls and boys should know about contraceptives and safe sex.
- It is also important to teach them about rapes, assault, consent and sexual abuse.
Sex Education In Schools
Sex education in schools should include topics like reproduction, sexually transmitted diseases, sexual orientation, HIV/AIDS, abstinence, contraception, pregnancy, abortion and adoption. It is introduced to children in grades 7 to 12, although some of these topics can even be taught to students of grade 4. Various laws have been imposed on how sex education should be taught.
In most of the regions around the world, schools ask for parent’s consent about their child’s participation in classes held for sex education. The primary focus of sex education in schools is to make the child aware about teen pregnancy and sexual health issues like STDs. Research suggests that most of the families support the idea of imparting sex education in schools to their child.
Sex Education For Parents:
Parents do not feel comfortable talking about sex with their children. Answering their kid’s query regarding sex makes them extremely awkward, however, this topic should not be avoided. Parents are responsible for developing healthy feelings about physical changes in their child. It is important to tell your child how their bodies will change as they mature. Topics like erection, puberty, menstruation and masturbation should be discussed with your child.
Parents should be confident while talking about sexual desires, behaviours and orientations with their child. If such topics are discussed without any hesitation, it may help a child to take responsible and healthy decisions when he/she grows up. Parents should also teach their kids about pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and birth control methods.
Sex Education For Youth:
Young minds need sex education so that they can make more informed decisions in life. They should not be just taught about the biological aspects of sex but the personal, emotional, cultural and social aspects attached to it. If youth have a better understanding of all these aspects, then they can take responsible actions and have control over their desires.
Sexuality is an essential trait of personal identity. Youth must know that it is better to delay sex unless they are older to understand intimacy rather than pleasure. They should be familiar that getting physically involved with multiple partners increases the risk of sexually transmitted diseases. Sexual health is another section that should be focused while considering sex education for youth.
Sex Education Information:
Sex education enables a person to gather information and motivation required for taking an informed and better decisions in terms of sexuality. The teaching and learning about topics related to sex helps in managing one’s sexual health and relationships. Sex education in general, provides information about human development which includes reproduction, puberty and gender identity.
It also exposes us to topics like sexual behaviour, abstinence, sexual health, STDs, contraception, pregnancy, gender roles and other related key concepts like human sexual anatomy, age of consent, reproductive rights, safe sex, birth control and abstinence. By teaching youth and children about sex, we can make them an aware individual who can handle their emotional relations and responsibilities in a healthy way. One major controversy in the realm of sex education is whether sex education should also involve LGBT (Lesbians, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) and their rights can be included into the school curriculums. LGBT sex education involves safe sex practices among gay, lesbians and transsexual persons and general information on homosexuality.