Parents know everything, right? Not about sex.

Have you ever wondered how your parents learned about sex? How were things in the generation before us? And before?

As Care2 mentions in their article about Adult Sex Education, “no one is born knowing everything about sex and what we were taught in high school is not that helpful as adults” (Madsen). Therefore, the common misconception that parents know everything and never made mistakes is now proven to be a misconception. For that matter, we are nation in desperate need of a large group therapy session on adult sexuality (Madsen).

When I think of sex education, I assume we’re talking about educating kids or students in grade school. However, we neglect to focus on the importance of educating adults as well. Adults often keep up to date on sex and sexuality by researching on the internet, just as kids do, although this is often the easiest way to receive false information.

Pamela Madsen, a sexologist and educator, agrees that there should be more resources for adults as well as students, to refresh themselves on sexuality and keep up with the times; especially when it comes time to educate their children.

For starters, Pamela suggests adults: 1) read The Pleasure Mechanics; 2) check out speaking or working with a sexologist; and 3) attend a workshop; to name a few. All of these suggestions are ways to start staying more up to date with sex ed!

 

 

Works Cited:

Madsen, Pamela. “Adult Sex Education.” Care2, 29 Mar. 2012. Web. 20 Apr. 2012.

How should our kids learn about sex?

Once again, according to US News Health, parents are trying to gain control of their children’s media access, to prevent them from exposure to negative images. Instead, parents are encouraged to step up and help children learn how to become responsible human beings (“Children, Sex, and the Media”).

According to statistics this past year, parents have not been very successful in monitoring the sexual responsibility of their children. The United States has the “highest rate of teen pregnancies in the developed world and 25 percent of American teenagers have a sexually transmitted disease” (“Children, Sex, and the Media”). Instead of turning to parents to answer sex questions, teens find their answers in the media. In order for parents to regain control and monitor their child’s sexual behavior, they must do the following: 1) Limit all screen media time to a maximum of two hours a day; 2) Get the TV and computer out of children’s bedrooms; and 3) Use sex in the media to do on-the-spot sexual education (“Children, Sex, and the Media”).

In my opinion, number 3 is most important because it allows for parental involvement, as opposed to passive aggressive behavior of turning off the television. Number 3 will help parents relate to their children and ease into the conversation of sex while there may never be a better time to bring it up.

In terms of proper, responsible media usage, US News also suggests that parents: 1) Ban the TV from the kids’ bedrooms; 2) Turn off the TV during dinner; 3) Ask your kids about their “media day”; 4) Set rules for your kids’ media consumption; and 5) Turn off your phone (Shute).

Most importantly, you have to be a role model for your children; however, I don’t think you need to set such strict rules surrounding media usage. Children in the next generation will learn how to adapt to their environment and will learn how they work best, whether it be in a noisy environment or in a quiet setting. Either way, these parental involvement suggestions are only meant to offer alternative ways to solve an overexposure to media. Most families should handle such issues on a case by case basis.

How would you handle this situation – if your child spend 6 hours a day watching television, on the internet, and on his/her phone?

 

 

Works Cited:

“Children, Sex, and the Media: 3 Ways for Parents to Gain Control.” US News. U.S.News & World Report, 01 Sept. 2010. Web. 16 Apr. 2012.

Shute, Nancy. “5 Ways to Make Kids’ Media Use Safe and Healthy.” US News. U.S.News & World Report, 20 Jan. 2010. Web. 20 Apr. 2012.

Do sex education policies vary by state?

This whole discussion of NYC mandatory sex education got me thinking. What are the state policies on sex education in all states? As it turns out, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures website, all states are “somehow involved in sex education for public schoolchildren” (“State Policies“).

As of February 2011, NCSL states:

  • 21 states and the District of Columbia require public schools to teach sex education (including HIV education);
  • 35 states and the District of Columbia require students receive instruction about STIs and HIV/AIDS;
  • 17 states require sex education curricula to be medically accurate and/or age appropriate. State policies vary in their determination of “medically accurate;” some require that state health departments review curricula, while others require that the facts taught come from “published authorities upon which medical professionals rely.”
Also, “many of these states define parents’ rights concerning sexual education” (“State Policies”):
  • 37 states require school districts to allow parental involvement in sexual education programs;
  • Three states require parental consent before a child can receive instruction;
  • 35 states and the District of Columbia allow parents to opt-out on behalf of their children.
These are fascinating statistics. I am glad to read that all states require sex education because that proves that parents and educational professionals value the sexual health of their children. Also, with the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic, it is imperative that means of contraception is incorporated into this sex ed as well. Most importantly, however, we must be wary of how we define “age-appropriate” sex education because there is a lot of controversy over what students should be taught at what point in their lives. This is important to keep in mind as I explore the debate the correlation between age and knowledge of sexuality. Lastly, I find it fascinating that some parents (35%) choose to opt out of their child’s sex education, as they are depriving their child of critical knowledge to make safe, responsible decisions in their future. From this, I hope to learn what educational professionals strive to change to accommodate for this large lack of participation in sex education at their schools. This goes back to the question of what kind of sex education is appropriate. What would you suggest? How can they lower that 35% and keep those children in class?

 

 

Works Cited:

“State Policies on Sex Education in Schools.” NCSL Home. Dec. 2011. Web. 24 Mar. 2012.

Follow up: NPR Survey of Parents/Public on whether sex ed should be offered in US schools?

As previously mentioned in my last post, National Public Radio conducted a survey of the general public and parents nationwide in regards to sexuality education. NPR hoped to feel out whether parents were okay with sex ed being taught in schools. Here are their findings:

Should sex ed be in schools?: (“Sex Education“)

7% say no

93% say yes

When we dissect these statistics, we learn that like my parents, most just give consent to whatever is offered in their child’s school. In saying this, even public school principals have reported very little conflict over sex ed (“Sex Education”). However, this does not mean that Americans agree on which sex ed approach is best…

In terms of other survey statistics:

  • 15% of Americans believe that schools should teach only about abstinence from sexual intercourse and should not provide information on contraception
  • 46% believe that the most appropriate approach to sex ed is abstinence plus, where schools should include lessons on contraception
  • 36% say abstinence is not important (“Sex Education”)

In my opinion, no one should impose beliefs or morals upon others in regards to their own sexual behavior. That being said, abstinence as an option and the discussion of contraception and responsible decision making will always be my vote.

 

 

Works Cited:

“Sex Education in America: General Public/Parents Survey.” National Public Radio, 2011. Web. 18 Mar. 2012.

Who should educate us about sex? Parents or teachers?

Planned Parenthood, a non-profit organization providing reproductive health and maternal and child health services, explores how sex education should be implemented in schools and at home. As Planned Parenthood (PP) describes sex education as exciting, valuable, necessary and complex (“Implementing Sex Education”). While educators often feel anxious and pressured when conveying taboo information to students, it is important for them to advocate for comprehensive, medically accurate sexuality education (“Implementing Sex Education”).

While most people believe that parents and guardians should be the primary source for sexuality education for their children, some educators feel the need to fill in the gaps of information that parents do not provide. This is the case because students should receive age-appropriate sexual health information (“Implementing Sex Education”). Sex ed is a critical knowledge set because sexuality plays an integral role in one’s identity. Children receive messages about sexuality from many other sources other than parents and some of these sources have positive and negative impacts (“Implementing Sex Education”). As a result, it is important for educational professionals, parents and organizations to filter this information for students and provide them with the necessary knowledge they need to know to familiarize themselves with their body and sexuality, in order to be safe.

In addition, there are many community based organizations that can supplement what students learn at school and at home. One non-profit, Advocates for Youth, helps young people “make responsible and choices about their reproductive and sexual health” (“Implementing Sex Education”). Organizations such as these are beneficial resources for those who do not have sufficient knowledge of their sexuality outside of their own exposure to media and the information they gather from peers. On the whole, according to a National Public Radio poll, 93% of parents found that sexuality education in schools is helpful or somewhat helpful (“Sex Education”). This proves that some aspect of sex ed exposure opens their child’s eyes to making new, informed, safe decisions.

 

 

Works Cited:

“Implementing Sex Education.” Sexual & Reproductive Health. Web. 24 Mar. 2012.

“Sex Education in America: General Public/Parents Survey.” National Public Radio, 2011. Web. 18 Mar. 2012.