Every few months there’s some new initiative, debate or government bill that claims to be the solution to the lack of sexual education that many young people currently receive.
These such campaigns claim to be attempting to ensure that young people receive a decent standard of education but sometimes they can seem confused in their goals, ambitions and priorities.
Unlike some subjects where there needs to an expert eye cast over the situation, with a subject like this, we can pretty much all speak from experience.
We’ve all had some education and within that, we will have all had mixed experiences of the kind of sexual health education that we have received.
In this blog post, we are going to offer our thoughts on the subject and suggest the key lessons that we think that young people should be taught.
The right time is in your time
In the United Kingdom, the age of consent is 16 and that, for many, means it is the age at which you should start having sex. However, whilst 16 may be the age at which you can legally have sex, the truth is that there is a wide range of experiences around that.
There will undoubtedly be people who are choosing to have sex at a younger age and there will also be people who are choosing to wait.
Young people should therefore be taught that 16 is the legal age at which you are allowed to participate in sexual relations. However, they also need to be taught that it does not have to be the age at which they begin to have sex. There’s a key difference and too many young people feel pressured to have sex before they are ready.
It’s important that we teach young people that the right age to start having sex, is whatever time feels right for them.
It’s better to be safe than sorry
We live in a sex dominated world and sometimes young people often see contraception as something of an afterthought. Gone are the days when people were deathly scared of catching an STI and nowadays people often take things like this for granted.
Whilst young people are no doubt encouraged to use contraception’s, often the focus is on medication and the avoidance of unwanted pregnancies. However, if we want to produce young people that are conscious and aware of their general health and well-being, the focus needs to shift.
Yes, when relevant young people should be encouraged to use carious contraceptive options, but condoms should always be part of the process. They have to be reminded that whilst medication can prevent pregnancy, it’s condoms that will save their health.
Diseases can be serious
As mentioned in the above point, it can now often feel as if the primary focus is on preventing pregnancies but preventing disease is equally as important. Some sexual diseases can be life-threatening at worst and life-changing at best, so they have to be taken seriously.
Young people have to be regularly reminded of these risks and encouraged to take pro-active action.
Porn is unrealistic
There have been some positive and negative advances thanks to modern technology and the same goes for the porn industry. However, one of the biggest issues that has stemmed from it, is the often-unrealistic idea’s that it plants into young people’s minds.
Too many young people now view pornography as a ‘how to’ guide, as opposed to the sexual entertainment that it is.
This has to be an important aspect of any sexual education, as it could prevent young people from putting unrealistic pressures on themselves or other people.
Consent is sexy
As a result of numerous high-profile cases, consent is now being more widely talked about than ever before.
If we are going to create young people that are considerate, respectful and kind, it’s essential that we start to teach them the true meaning of consent.
We have to teach them exactly what consent is, how it’s given and what consent looks like.
If we want to ensure that we tackle the current situation and prevent blurred lines, we should be teaching young people how they can be clear that they have consent. And, in the same regard, what circumstances make it impossible for consent to be obtained, allowing both parties to walk away from a hard to read situation.