How can we remain silent about puberty? This is part 1 of a two-part post. Read part 2 here.
Young people are getting mixed messages:
- Sex is still considered a dirty word and a taboo subject, even though sex is everywhere.
- Sex is used to sell products, internet services, movies, and television shows, and is the topic of jokes and conversations, but many young people have difficulty accessing reliable information.
- Mainstream culture is shouting “do it” while young people are told, “don’t do it.”
Young people are receiving distorted messages:
- Peers, who are likely to be misinformed, are often the most available source of information.
- Media, entertainers, and music give the impression to young people that “everyone is doing it,” but fail to show anyone suffering any negative consequences.
- In a typical year of television viewing, a young person sees more than 9,000 scenes of sexual behavior, 80% of which occur outside a marriage relationship.
- Violence and sex are frequently combined in popular media, contributing to the problem of relationship violence.
- Explicit sexual content (often called pornography) is readily available to any young person with computer access, providing unrealistic and often violent images of sex acts that can impact adolescents’ future sexual behavior and relationships.
Mixed messages…distorted messages…
How can we expect our children and youth to navigate their way to adulthood if we are not intentionally providing them with the knowledge and skills needed to be sexually healthy adults? Just as we teach them what they need to know to be competent readers and writers, use math correctly, and exercise their rights and responsibilities as citizens, we also need to teach them what they need to be sexually healthy. Let’s face it: Most people eventually have sexual intercourse. In fact, by age 22 to 24, 89% of males and 92% of females have engaged in sex. Shouldn’t education include the knowledge and skills that increase the likelihood that our young people will develop the Characteristics of Sexually Healthy Adults? Schools may be the only opportunity young people have to receive accurate information from a reliable source.
Read part 2 of this two-part blog here.
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