Why Sex Education Matters

I read a question today posed to sex ed practitioners: Why does sex education matter to you?

My initial response is a petulant, "Because it does!"

My delayed responses are a bit more thoughtful :)

We are sexual creatures. We were created this way, born this way, experience pleasure this way, and connect with others this way. However, enjoying a fulfilling sex life doesn't necessarily come naturally. There's a lot of learn, understand, consider, and reflect on, that is, if you want to know how to please others and maintain sexual happiness.

Sex is a powerful life source of vitality and joy. However, because of its power, it's also wraught with complications, exploitations, shame, and hurt. Not talking about sex education does not make these negative aspects go away. It actually makes them worse. I'm reminded of the public service announcement that ends with a jingle and the phrase, "The more you know." Yes, it is the same with sex. The more we know the more empowered (not corrupted) we become.

When I approach sex education, mostly with adults, but occasionally with teens, I employ a holistic approach. Sex education is not just about condoms, the reproductive system, and avoiding STIs. Sex is a big picture topic, and warrants a complex approach including physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual components. When we can feel safe enough to know ourselves sexually, be creative in exploring it, and share our sexual stories, we are all better for it.

(Fun image is from: http://sexeducationmatters.tumblr.com/post/7335562620/back-up-your-birth-control)

~Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus, San Diego, CA -- Sex Therapy, Marriage Counseling, College Sexual Health Speaker