Illustration by Chrissy Curtin
Social media is bridging the gap between unrealistic representations in porn and inadequate sex education in schools, providing information about sex that is inclusive, consensual, and positive. Else shares her views on why sex education is failing young people and what needs to be done to change this.
Sex education is an essential part of the Scottish Government’s school curriculum, preparing young people with the knowledge they need to make positive choices about sex and relationships in adulthood. Yet, even though quality sex ed should be taking place, it is clear this is not happening. Coming from myself, a 15-year-old secondary school student, the low quality of sex education lessons is obvious.
The sex education lessons I had when I was eleven were so much more informative than I was prepared for. Now that I am a teenager, which is the prime age to be learning the emotional and ‘harder to talk’ about content, I am left racking my brain to remember a single sex ed class that has taught me anything new since the lessons I had when I was eleven.
We are sat down in secondary school, told to prepare ourselves to hear the deep and sometimes uncomfortable information on sex and sexual health, only to be asked five minutes later to label a diagram of a man and woman's genitals. In the past school year, I received only two sex education lessons and the content was the same as previous years. This is not the standard of sexual education we need or deserve.
Social media platforms such as Youtube and Instagram are now becoming some of the main sources of sexual education for teens just like me, instead of school. Meanwhile, more and more teens are watching porn, which places false ideas, expectations and fears of what sex is or should be in young people’s minds.
We young people desperately need, whether we realise it or not, to learn about consent, sexual diseases, emotional effects of sex, protection, and masturbation. We need to be taught that both sexes are equal in their right to pleasure and enjoyment during sex. For example, as we are not taught properly about masturbation and how it is normal and healthy, girls tend to feel ashamed or embarrassed to talk about it because of the stigma in our society that only males can enjoy masturbation.
I beg the adults planning and taking charge over our sexual education to step up and realise the horrifying lack of guidance and knowledge we are being given at an age where we need it most. To our teachers, to you reading this, and to anyone who will listen, ask yourself; where has all the sexual education gone?
- Written by Else
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