It’s my personal belief that most sex education in Australia is a load of crap. Most schools limit sex ed to a ‘How to put the condom on the banana’ session, alongside a few scary images of STI’s on the big screen. Reality is, there is so much more to sex than the scary stuff… in fact sex can often be pleasurable, fun and exciting, and it’s so, so important that our younger generation are taught this.
So, what to do if the schools aren’t smart enough to incorporate inclusive and holistic sex ed into the system? I believe it’s up to us as parents to take on this role and have these conversations with our kids. After all, if we don’t, our kids will be left to literally feel their way through sex and the risk of that is that they make unhealthy choices and get themselves into sticky (pardon the pun) situations.
So, what does ‘holistic’ sex ed entail, and how can we teach it to our children?
Firstly, I believe we need to be honest and open with our children. This means no silly stories about ‘stalks’ bringing babies, and no ignoring the fact that your children are being exposed to sex via media and porn from a very young age. If you feel uncomfortable talking about sex to your children, this is a sign that you yourself need to work on your own ‘stuff’ that prevents you from being able to talk to your own children about it. Go see a therapist, read about sex, educate yourself, and deal with any past trauma that’s preventing you from being comfortable with the topic.
Holistic sex ed, in a nutshell, is teaching children about consent, it’s about sex as a way to connect with our partner, it’s about making love, it’s about opening our body to someone who respects us (and who we respect), it’s about self-pleasure, it’s about so much more than ‘penis-in-vagina’ penetration. Holistic sex ed is also very inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, intersex & queer people. It’s about using positive language that includes these identities.
If we as parents feel we experienced inadequate sex ed as children/teenagers, it’s up to us to break the cycle, step-up and be bold enough to give this generation the sex education they deserve. If we do this then our children will one day be able to pass it onto their own children. What a gift that would be… to live in a world where sex is no longer taboo and our children are experiencing the joy of sex as a normal, natural and empowered way of living.