Sex education, to whom should it be directed?

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Joe Dispenza

Sex education, to whom should it be directed?

Sex education is gaining more and more importance in our society. Why and what advantages does it offer?

Last update: February 19, 2022

Sex education is not a topic like any other. In most of the countries of the European Union - Spain excluded - it has been introduced as a compulsory subject in schools, albeit in a transversal way.

Even in countries where sexuality education is required by law, the modalities of application of the program are often left to the individual school. What does quality sex education mean and who should it be for?

What is sex education?

It is currently called socio-affective and sexual education, but the two concepts have the same meaning. The wording is almost redundant.

If we take the word "sex" as a point of reference, sex education means education of the sexes. In other words, it concerns the way in which people, considered as sexual beings, enter into relationships in private and public life, both emotionally and erotic. Talking about gender or sex means implicitly referring to emotions, affections and bonds.

Sexual education, therefore, has the task of educating children in emotional and erotic relationships. But its role does not end there, it must also provide the tools that help to live them in a full and meaningful way.

It is important to remember that this, as with other school subjects, is achieved through a methodology, precise objectives, a pedagogical strategy and a series of didactic tools.

Current difficulties

Although sexuality education responds to a specific need, objective difficulties still exist today which hinder a quality educational intervention.

  • Transversality. An aspect that affects the methods of intervention. If sex education is left in the hands of individual educational institutions, then there will be differences between one school and another in terms of class hours, content, target audience, etc.
  • Professional figures involved. It may happen that the figure entrusted with the educational intervention does not have the necessary training. In addition to being inappropriate, it is even dangerous. In a field where we talk about awareness, love, relationships, identity, orientation (and much more), it is easy to fall into indoctrination if the discourse is not conducted in a rigorous or scientific way. The most qualified professional figure for this intervention is the sexologist. 
  • Social recognition of sexology. Interventions in this direction still do not meet with full social acceptance. If we compare this discipline to any other, it immediately catches the eye that we do not consider it a priority. In light of this, investments and resources are lacking, even if things are starting to change.

Who are the recipients?

Sex education is usually associated with adolescence, as a crucial stage full of changes in this area. However, it is useful, as well as advisable, at all stages of life.

Complexes related to physical appearance or fears in the face of certain situations can be present in every age of life. A good sex education program must address these and many other difficulties; it must promote self-knowledge and diversity.

In this way, sex education can help those who are going through a problematic situation, regardless of age. So, an educational intervention of this type is indicated at any stage of life.

Sex education: why is it necessary?

Sex education encourages us to improve the relationship we have with ourselves and with others. It provides us with a wide range of knowledge and tools that enable us to enjoy a healthy emotional and erotic life.

If better regulated or considered important, it would significantly reduce relational difficulties and problems. In this sense, the statement "knowledge sets us free" acquires a special importance; when we begin to know the variety within sexuality, we can accept that each relationship is unique and different; that there are infinite ways to feel comfortable and have a positive relationship.

Contrary to popular belief, sex education is not limited to teaching how to wear a condom. It would be like saying that mathematics consists in knowing how much two plus two is.

While it is certainly necessary to talk about sexually transmitted infections, contraceptive methods and male and female genital organs, It is equally important to learn to say "no" to an unwanted relationship; but also that penetration is not the only existing modality or the best; that there are shapes, dimensions and times in the intimate sphere that are not imposed by society and that do not correspond to reality.

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