Part of the 2010 Blogathon to help support Scarleteen. This entry is courtesy of Tess at Urban Gypsy.
If I earned a dollar each time I’ve heard the statement, “I’m surprised you’re so strict,” in relation to my parenting, I’d be basking on a beach in Tahiti now rather than on a Metro North train whisking me off to do a sex ed consult on the Lower East Side. I’d probably be doing sex ed consults in Tahiti; you can take me out of NY but you can’t kill my desire to help people learn more about their sexuality. But back on point, I can always hear the implied, “you with your pierced nose, tattoo, open marriage and non-stop sex talk.”
The funny thing is, my friends may have been surprised but my daughter was not.
Many people have been asking about when our next peer sex educator training will be, and I'm sorry to say that I'm coming in with my founder and executive director hat on to deliver some not-so-awesome news about it.
I was watching a debate about sex education today, one rife with a lot of ludicrous statements, but the statement that quality sex education could not possibly help prevent sexual abuse stuck with me. It was all the more infuriating as someone who knows too well that a lack of knowledge about bodies and sex, and a lack of information about sexual consent and autonomy are some of the hugest reasons why sexual abuse is so prevalent.
What's the typical use effectiveness rate for abstinence? All I can find anywhere, even at organizations that teach abstinence, or say it's the only effective method of contraception, is the perfect use rate. How well does it really work for people in real life? Why doesn't anyone have that information on this method when we do for every other method?...
As someone who was all but completely celibate throughout high school and this was not at all by conscious choice, I can tell you that I often found it frustrating to deal with the fact that a lot of teenagers were under- or mis-informed about safer sex, that a lot of teenagers were sexually active, and that a lot of politicians and think tanks believed in stanching teenage sexual activity entirely. I was fourteen when I started listening to Loveline (though I didn't always agree with Dr. Drew) and it began my path of sex-pertise (as it were). I was eager to get informed.
In case it isn't obvious from the message boards and our peer-written content on the site, peer-based sex education and support is really important to and at Scarleteen. While I love my job as a sex educator who is an older adult, and think there's a lot of value in my doing this work, at the same time I feel like there's an extra power and a special kind of support with peer-to-peer education and interaction that I can't do.
When it comes to your average American sex education class, for all the talk about possible risks associated with sex, people seem to forget to mention all the positive aspects, the crazy-sexy-cool things that can make sex fun and enjoyable!