Sex education and misinformation

The first headline I read today:

Representative Todd Akin, the Republican Senate nominee from Missouri, provoked ire across the political spectrum on Sunday by saying that in instances of what he called “legitimate rape,” women’s bodies somehow blocked an unwanted pregnancy.

Of course this is frightening for political reasons, but I’m not going for the political angle here – it’s simply frightening that a grown man believes this.

Most likely he was taught this or told this somewhere along the way, and it became his truth.  The scary thing is I know he’s not alone.

Other adults believe this.  And so many children are taught misinformation about sex, or even worse, they are taught nothing about sex, so they have to somehow "figure it out" for themselves.

I talk to parents and schools about the importance of sex education, and I have had too many parents tell me that nobody talked to them about sex; therefore, they don’t plan on talking to their kids.

They trust that their children will learn “on the street”, “from friends”, or in the school (but this isn’t even guaranteed anymore).  Or even worse, they believe that talking about sex in the home or at school will give their kids “permission” to have sex.

As a parent it is a privilege and responsibility to talk to your children about what it means to be a human being – emotionally, socially, psychologically, and physically – and part of the physical (and emotional, and social, and psychological) experience of being human is sexuality.

Talking to your children about sexuality is not “enticing” them to have sex; it educates them about their body.  And they have a right to this information – don’t you agree?

Talking to children about sexuality helps them normalize their feelings and curiosity (feelings and curiosity that ALL human beings have) and allows them to understand the power of sexuality, emotionally and physically, therefore offering them the opportunity to make educated decisions.

Hiding information, offering misinformation, or even worse, completely ignoring a big part of what it means to be human can so easily result in shame, guilt, poor self esteem, and too often, naïve choices that are life changing.

Let's make sure we understand the truth about sex and speak openly about sexuality.  Our children need our wisdom and support as they embrace every aspect of who they are.

Click here to read Cathy's follow up to this post.

 

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