After reading an article about how sex education is taught in this country, I started to think about what I would teach if I were given the opportunity. There are so many conflicting ideas about what should and should not be taught to teens. Some people feel that if you expose teens to more information about sexuality it will encourage them to be more active. I don’t agree with that philosophy at all. In fact, I think knowledge is power and that all teens should have as much information as possible. The more you know about your body and your sexuality, the more educated you can be about your choices.
After working with teens in various settings, I think many are aware of the risks involved with their actions; with more information, I think they are capable of making good choices. If I were to create a program for teens, I would highlight the following six areas:
- Education: Learn about your body. Understand your anatomy. Know what each part is and how it functions in the body. Learn about safe sex practices. There is a lot you can do to protect yourself from STDs and pregnancy. Sex can and should remain a safe and exciting activity.
- Exploration: Learn what makes you feel good, and learn how to communicate this with your partner. Good sex is about communication. Everyone loves a mind reader, but few of them really exist.
- Imagination: Esther Perel, a relationship expert, says that the best way to keep a marriage sexually exciting is to create a safe place for sexual freedom fueled by imagination. The same goes for anyone, including teens.
- Seek Help: Often women and men with any type of sexual issue don’t seek help. Sex is shrouded in secrecy and when there is any type of difficulty whether it be pain, low desire or difficulty with orgasm, people often don’t seek help. This means that the problem generally gets worse over time and that the person with the difficulty suffers alone.
- Beware of Myths and Movies: Men and women alike are surrounded by sexual myths perpetuated in movies. 70% of women cannot orgasm from intercourse and yet I speak with women every day who feel they should. Men tend to hold this idea to be true as well. So instead of focusing on trying to orgasm from intercourse, women should figure out what feels good and stop comparing themselves to others. Good sex is present, connected sex. When women feel inadequate, they generally don’t feel present in their bodies or with their partners and the sex will suffer.
- Move at Your Own Speed: Some people develop early, some develop late, some feel sexual and some don’t. Those who are sexually active and find sex easy are often the most vocal, leaving those with more fear or concerns feeling left out and bad about themselves. Move at your own speed. Explore things that interest you and don’t feel pressured by those around you.