Going through numerous biological and psychological developments in their bodies as a teenager, development of sexuality is an important change that they undergo during this phase. These desires and changes are relatively a new concept for them to comprehend, and so they are not completely aware how to effectively handle their emotions, desires and understand their sexual behaviours.
So here comes the need for a comprehensive sexual education to help the youth understand and undergo various unusual sexual changes and desires in their body to effectively understand the importance and repercussions of sexual activities.
What are the benefits of sex education?
- Effective communication and negotiation skills
Comprehensive sex education can considerably enable the youth to make responsive, informed decisions that are not driven by peer pressure. The art of effective communication is considerably enhanced as teens develop a sense of awareness and skills in negotiation, and refusal.
- Build a healthy view of sexuality
Engaging in healthy conversations about developing sexuality in teens, sex education positively promotes the normalcy of sexual desires as a natural process of human growth, torching the taboos of sexual orientation, identity and diversity in our society. The open-ended discussion of relevant sex education topics concerned with safe sex, birth control, sexual orientation also builds a positive inner monologue for the youth to freely express, identify and engage in healthy relationships.
3. Teaches the repercussions of sexual relationships
As teenagers enter the transition phase of developing sexuality, it also affects their emotional, mental and physical growth. Sexual education is a tool for the youth to gain proper guidance and better equip themselves with deep understanding of their developing sexuality, the process and the repercussions of negative sexual behaviours.
4. Prevention of sexual diseases
A comprehensive sex education can greatly control and prevent the spread of sexual diseases like AIDS, syphilisi, gonorrheai, and non-gonococcal urethritisi. Educating teenagers on the use of protection, the effectiveness of contraception, condom, and safe sex, it aims to reduce the risk of negative outcomes like unwanted and unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
The case for sexual education stands positive as research shows that appreciation of sexual education and diversity leads to healthy dating and intimate partner violence prevention, development of healthy relationships, prevention of child sex abuse, improved social/emotional learning, and increased media literacy.
How to talk to your teenager about sexual education?
As teenagers are exposed to numerous sources of sexual information, they gain knowledge about sexuality from their peers or mass media which has more of a negative impact than positive. This information for most part is usually inaccurate, motivating nothing but confusion, negative influence and doubts in their young minds.
This is where parents need to step in and impart their guidance to build a positive view of sexuality in their teenager’s mind as an important part of their personality. Gaining proper education through parents, school, and other community-based organisations will enable your teenager to make an easy transition into a well-informed adult with healthy sexual experiences and behaviour to make safer decisions.
As parents, you can’t shy away from educating them about the risk of uninformed sexual behaviours like unwanted and unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Answering all the questions that sprout in every teenager’s mind, it’s imperative for parents to start the conversation and openly discuss their opinions, experiences and the importance of making informed decisions.
Characteristics of Effective Sex Education
Sex education is an important comprehensive discipline that is necessary not just for the growing youth, but also for the adults to gain proper sexual awareness, and protection from various STDs (sexually transmitted diseases).
- An effective and comprehensive sex education program focuses on making teenagers aware of their sexual health with age-appropriate and culturally competent teaching methods and resources.
- Taught by trained teachers, the program should equip the youth with key medical information and communication skills to identify nuances of sexual consent, abstinence and contraception, and correct usage of condoms.
- With a strong adherence to cultural and peer pressure, teenagers need to be taught how to dodge difficult situations with quick thinking and engage in safe, healthy relationships, and make informed decisions in their life.
- Key pointers to be covered in a comprehensive sexual education program are the inclusion of skill-building activities that address cultural and peer pressure, along with basic education based on evidence and trauma-informed case studies. Rooted in anti-racism practices, it should also adapt to the needs of the community and inclusion of LGBTQ+ youth as a diversity-driven concept.
- One additional factor that makes their learning more inclusive and culturally responsive is when they receive this information early on and often for a long period of time.
Helping the youth understand the consequences of sexual relationships both positive and negative, makes them consciously aware of their actions and helps develop social and emotional skills they need to become responsible and empathetic adults.