Are you a teacher? Don’t be afraid of sex education
When talking about sex education, it is sometimes questioned whether it is appropriate or not, how it will affect the lives of adolescents, or whether it should be taught at school or at home. It seems to be a discussion about fathers and mothers and their children, but what about the teachers?
In the cases in which the educational programs include them, schools almost never have specially designated personnel to teach sexual and reproductive health topics, so the most logical thing to do would be to train teachers on these contents. However, the reality is that this rarely happens.
If you’re in front of a group and you’re concerned about addressing sex education, but don’t know exactly what it’s about, here are some factors you might consider.
Components of sex education
The first thing to be clear about is that sex education cannot be limited to talking about biological processes related to sexuality and reproduction, it must also encompass values such as respect, inclusion, freedom and non-violence.
For this reason, among the topics that are part of sexual education are:
– Physical and psychological processes of puberty: The need for independence, changes in the body and the possibility of pregnancy are just some of the topics related to these processes.
– Sexual orientation and gender identity: The first refers to whether someone is attracted to men, women or both. The second talks about whether the person in question perceives himself as a man or a woman, regardless of his biological sex.
– Loving relationships: The way relationships are built is a special opportunity to talk about physical or psychological violence and try to prevent it.
– Sexual behaviors and practices: Refers to the full range of possibilities to exercise sexuality, either with another person or alone. This could lead to talk about the importance of consent in any sexual practice.
– Personal skills: Mainly the ability to communicate, set limits, negotiate and make informed decisions. It depends on these skills that a person’s sexual life is free of coercion or violence.
– Sexual health: It is what concerns the care of the sexual organs, including the prevention or treatment of sexually transmitted infections.
One step at a time
The list of topics may seem overwhelming, but you don’t have to cover them all perfectly. It is rather a matter of taking into account that any of them (or their variants) can come up when talking about sex education.
After all, the objective of this education is for people to maintain the best possible state of health regarding their sexuality, so it is important to prevent not only health problems, but also emotional or social conflicts that may lead them to put themselves at risk.
Fortunately, the Internet puts at your fingertips many sources of information with which you can strengthen your knowledge about sex education. Of course, you might stumble upon unreliable information in your search, but there are also hundreds of valuable options.
The best thing to do is to search on the sites of civil organizations with extensive experience, medical associations or hospitals or health authorities, as well as academic institutions. You could even find online courses that allow you to dive into the topics in a more structured way.
Remember that at AHF Latin America and the Caribbean we are committed to sexual health and the response to HIV. If you need free condoms or free HIV tests, we have them here. Look for our offices in your country or write to us by Whatsapp.