Do you remember how you first found out about sex? Not just how babies are made, but the…ins and outs, so to speak? For most of us, our first introduction to sex as more than just a reproductive act probably came from chatter with friends, a copy of Playboy or racy scenes in your aunt’s secret stash of adult novels. All of this titillation with no adult guidance whatsoever.
Abstinence-only education doesn’t work, and neither does fear-mongering with frightening statistics while kids inevitably experiment in back seats, figuring out the details of sex on their own. What’s the alternative? How about being real?
I mean really, really real.
The Unitarian Church of Christ has started a holistic and perhaps controversial sexual education program for middle schoolers called OWL (Our Whole Lives) which educates teens, in a safe and adult-guided environment, about the honest realities of this wonderful thing we call sex. While so many standard sex-ed courses focus on what can go wrong, OWL also educates about what’s so right about sex – and how to foster physical and emotional health.
OWL presents not fear, but plenty of facts, including images of adults having sex, alternatives to intercourse, emotions involved in sexual activity and plenty of time to speak up and discuss body issues, which are so important to teenagers in the hormonal throes of adolescence. And of course, they do present statistics and information about potential consequences like unwanted pregnancies and STDs.
This is what I would consider an evolution in education. OWL isn’t promoting sex but rather presenting information in an honest way, debunking myths, and giving kids a chance to ask the real questions free from fear.
Image: Hamed Masoumi