Sex Education is something that often makes parents, carers and educators sweat. That thing that everyone knows is essential, yet so full of shame, trauma, expectations, and fear. Often times, "those" conversations are put off or done in a way that makes everyone feel uncomfortable, with way too much of the essential information around body autonomy, pleasure and consent left out. Many institutions have recognized the importance of the topic due to recent studies on how sexual health affects our overall wellbeing, but hardly anyone agrees on what contents should be taught to whom when. Plus, to this day, there is way too much accurate and precise information missing from textbooks all over the world.
As a certified educator with over two decades of experience in working with kids from all ages between 3 and 19 years, I know that change in this field is inevitable and I am choosing to be part of that change. We need to change the perception of what sex education is and should be and how we speak to younger generations about sex related topics. It is time we let them break free from our trauma.
I think the best way for younger generations to learn as much as they can, is when a child's home, educational institution and outsourced experts work together towards the same goal. That of giving our children the best possible education to prepare them for what's to come.
Here is what I believe Sex Education is all about ...
When kids are born, they have a natural interest for their environment as well as their bodies. The day they discover they toes and become obsessed with putting them in their mouth ... I truly do not know a single adult who has not found joy and giggles in observing this newly found obsession. Now imagine we met the discovery of their genitals with the same shame free joy and sexually unrelated encouragement!? I think you get my point.
Kids find amazement in the discovery of any body parts, but they soon figure out that some feel better than others. Finding joy in touching one's own genitals is normal and absolutely healthy behavior that leaves much room for conversation about body diversity, autonomy and consent.
First, and foremost, I believe that sexual intercourse makes up the smaller part of what should be considered sexual education. To this day, children are taught that reproduction is sex and that is just plain wrong. There is so much more to it and most of us had to figure that out on our own, while collecting too many experiences of shame, consent violation, and a lack of pleasure. It does not have to be that way.
Consent is one of the topics I am most passionate about and it plays an essential (if not the most important) part in the sexual relationships we are one day going to have and should, therefore, be taught from day one. Yumna Sadan has written and illustrated a wonderful book for our littlest called Ask Me First, encouraging body autonomy, consent, and the freedom of choice. It is never too late (or too early, for that matter) to start talking about this and there are some wonderful books on the market for all age groups.
III. Body Autonomy
Body autonomy requires appropriate language and the freedom of expressing one's feelings, boundaries and desires. It is essential for children to be given the language that will protect them and their own bodies as they move through life.
There is more than one way and children are generally really good at letting go of grown-up biases and just taking things for what and people for who they are. As all the topics are strongly intertwined, this too links to body autonomy, consent and finding pleasure in who we are.
Finding pleasure comes easy to children, becomes more difficult during the teenage years and often turns into an insurmountable hurdle in adult life. The pleasure of touching oneself can be, but definitely does not have to be sexual. There is nothing dirty or wrong in touching your own body and we must especially remember that it has absolutely nothing to do with being sexual for kids. We must not shame them for something that comes naturally and instead support them in creating boundaries and finding appropriate spaces for certain things.
Wanting to know and exploring their bodies is something they should be applauded and not shamed for. Remember, pleasure still means something very different to them than what it may mean to us.
For a lot of you, like me, sex education was probably one of those highly uncomfortable classes or workshops, where they taught you about what must go where for reproduction and how to prevent getting STDs or pregnant. Of course, the importance of those topics have not changed, but if it's included in an age-appropriate step by step guide on all the above mentioned, there will never be as must room for (mis-)interpretation, misunderstanding and abuse. Informed kids are well protected kids.
What I offer ...
- Group workshops for kids, tweens, teens and young adults
- Individual 1:1 coaching and support (online or in person) for children and/or parents
- Information talks and presentation for parents, carers and educators
Please get in touch for pricing.