Sex education is the teaching of knowledge and understanding of our bodies in their natural sexuality. It’s important for many reasons. Many privileged sectors of society have access to this knowledge and understanding, but in many parts of the world, it can’t be taken for granted.
There is a huge problem with sex education worldwide.
In the United States, a survey showed that of 1000 participants between 18 and 29 years, only 33% reported having had some sex education. In the United Kingdom, a similar poll proved that from the same number of participants, 16-17 years old, only 45% felt confident to define their sex education as ‘good’ or ‘very good’.
Meanwhile, in South Africa, the adolescent pregnancy rate is 30%. Mexico has the highest rate of teen pregnancies among the 34 member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Sex education simply means teaching young people to know how their bodies work and how to take care of them.
A sex education of quality provides us with the tools to respect our own bodies and the bodies of other people. It enables us to be conscious of the respect sexuality deserves, to prevent sickness, and to value the importance of open, shame-free dialogue.
Sex education should be part of every education. Sadly, many cultures still think that sex education is not a priority matter. Many people believe it shouldn’t be included in basic education because for them, talking about sex is a synonym for shame.
Consistent, high-quality sex education must not be only an option.
The importance of the subject goes beyond the individual. It matters deeply because a correct education can actually save lives. According to The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), sex educations is:
“[…] teaching and learning aspects of sexuality. It aims to equip children and young people with knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that will empower them to realize their health, well-being and dignity; develop respectful social and sexual relationships…”
Sex education can:
- Prevent sexually transmitted diseases
- Provide knowledge of how to use contraceptive methods
- Prevent unwanted pregnancies
- Create understanding of the menstrual cycle
- Reduce stigma and shame
A thorough sex education also gives young people an understanding of the boundaries of their body’s intimate space. This helps them to identify sexual abuse.
With the correct information, people are more able to make responsible decisions.
Sex education must be a right. It is about more than just sexual life. Education helps young people to take decisions about their bodies, health and lives in their own hands. This can, in turn, create a better lifestyle for all.
It’s important to visualize the body as the natural thing that it is. If parents and textbooks would teach about the naturality of our bodies, it would be easier for people to demand respect over their own.
In the world I envisage for the future, everyone will receive high quality sex education. They’ll understand what sex is about, and there won’t be more fear or taboo. No child, woman or man will be limited in speaking about sexuality as a personal and social priority.