Sex education and discussion is something very close to my heart, and without going into my personal story- I’ll leave it there.
I recently became a member of an organisation called Brook that I’ve been following for a while now, on twitter etc. (Unfortunately, they don’t have many opportunities to interact with them this far north, but I’m always hopeful). They spread a message of positive sex education- something that I think is so important. They believe in the greatness of young people, and respecting them. That they can make their own choices, and navigate a path for themselves- but that they do need access and support and honest discussion. This goes beyond ‘always use a condom kids’ (which is all I got at school it seems), to discussion of relationships, enjoyment, consent, abortion, emotions & feelings.
Just look at this latest blog post from their CEO Simon Blake ; Harder no, Different yes.
Proud to be one small part of their great work.
Sex is so often a secret thing, and in a young persons brain things can get so confused with no trusted adult to discuss it with. Sometimes very important personal things get only discussed with other equally confused young people, and or not discussed at all but instead secret-ed away- increasing their feelings of isolation.
Some myths I remember;
‘it’s just body parts connecting, it’s not a big deal’
‘if you’re drunk it’s your own fault what happens next’
‘if you have anal sex you’re still a virgin’ (the whole concept of virgin is one for another day..)
‘if you’ve tried bases 1, 2, and 3 you gotta have sex next’
‘If it hurts that’s just what happens’
‘You can’t stop doing it if you’ve done it with them before’
There was never any discussion of it being fun or pleasant.
When I began university, two years older than most of my class mates, it terrified me to hear stories of near-rape situations- which they laughed off (though of course I don’t these were their real feelings). Some of them didn’t believe that there was anyone kind enough to consider their feelings, that ultimately all men just want sex and you have to go ahead with it for cuddles and affection. They didn’t value themselves, because they had never met anyone who treated them right. Makes my heart twist just to think about it.
I like to think I played a part in empowering those around me, to demand respect and to keep themselves safe- regardless of other people’s opinions.