BY: TAYLOR LAMBERT
Sex education is something that everyone should be familiar with. The different parts of the male and female reproductive systems have been forgotten by most students by the time they reach 9th grade.The Family Life course doesn’t even cover half of the information we should know before participating in sexual activity. While most people don’t make an effort to learn more about human reproductive organs or even sex, having an on campus class that provided the information would be beneficial to any and all partaking in it.
Instilling not only safe sex practices, but also knowledge of reproductive anatomy and the meaning of consent into the minds of students at an impressionable age would be profitable to not only them, but society as well. Without at least a basic knowledge of consent, sex, contraceptives, sexualities, gender identity, and sexually transmitted diseases/infections (STDs/STIs), students and people in general are vulnerable to a number of issues and consequences.
Some things you should know if you’re looking to learn more about sex, reproduction, contraceptives, gender identity and abortion are listed below, but this is by no means a broad or extensive enough list to compensate for the lack of education needed.
Contraceptives are a major part of sex and some can be used for more than just preventing pregnancy. From condoms to birth control, there is a wide range of contraceptives to choose from if pregnancy is undesired. Each category of contraceptives are relatively broad. For condoms they have different sizes, lubrication, thickness, and types such as male and female condoms. Birth control is another effective way to prevent unwanted pregnancies, but it does more than just that. Birth control is also used as a way to ease and even erase certain symptoms of menstruation. Different types of birth control can help with cramps, the amount of blood being lost, headache, fatigue, acne, weight fluctuation and more. Birth control, much like condoms, comes in many different forms. There’s pills, IUDs, implants, rings, shots, and even more.
Sexully Transmitted Diseases/Infections (STD/STI)
STDs are a well known problem that most people are aware of, but many people don’t know how to prevent or get access to tests for. Prevention of STDs can be hard depending on the disease. Some can be prevented with just condoms because the transfer is from exchange of bodily fluids like semen or vaginal fluid or even just skin-to-skin contact. Many STDs are treatable but some are lifelong infections and can be terminal. Getting tested is as easy as going to your doctor or a local Planned Parenthood.
Gender and Sexuality
Gender and sexuality can be a touchy subject for some, but it’s good to be well versed on the terms and identities. Knowing and being comfortable with your sexuality and gender identity, as well as your partner’s, is one of the most important parts of being in a healthy relationship, sexual or otherwise. While having conversations about this subject with potential or current partners can be uncomfortable, it’s better to ask and know rather than not and end up offending the other person. Experimentation, communication, and comfortability can, and in most cases should be, a part of a healthy relationship. These are especially important if one or more partners are going through a change of gender identity or sexuality.
Sex and Consent
Most if not all people reading this article know the story of the birds and the bees or the opening lines of “when a man and a woman love each other very much”. In this day and age neither of those sayings are as applicable as they were maybe just 20 years ago. Relationships, or even lack thereof, have evolved. Sex has become much more casual, while it still can be a special experience, it has started to lose some of the weight that was placed on it in the past. Sexual relationships no longer only consist of straight couples. Almost all able bodied people can have sex, and many disabled people do as well. Anyone can have sex if they want, and everyone has the right to refrain from it as well. Consent is probably the largest and most important part of any relationship, whether it’s physical or not. Its a part of life that should be taught on a large scale because it isnt a concept exclusive to sex. Consent can be given and withdrawn at any point and should be held at the utmost respect. If consent is not given or has been taken away, yet sexual activities continue, it can be considered sexual assault, sexual harrassment, or rape.
Abortion is one of the most controversial topics in the US, and it has been for a very long time. With many different movements for, and against it, it’s definitely a touchy subject and not a route suited for everyone. Abortion is a procedure that deliberatley terminates a pregnancy, often performed within the first 28 weeks. Abortion is never something to be taken lightly, and shouldnt be used as a birth control. There are a few different methods of abortion, including the pill and a more invasive procedure that involves suction. . Mifepristone is a version of the pill. It is taken by mouth, it ends a pregnancy by blocking the hormone (progesterone) that supports the pregnancy. Misoprostol is another version of the pill that is also taken by mouth. It causes the cervix to soften and the uterus to contract to expel the pregnancy. The suction method is also a viable way to terminate a pregnancy; this method is an invasive procedure and you will most likely be put under sedatives. With the sedatives you can be asleep or in an extremely relaxed state. This procedure is faster than a pill but the process can seem more intimidating and is not for everyone. Links are provided if you want to read about the full process.
The topics listed are only a small portion of the many more that may be known about, further research would be beneficial and should be done if you’re looking to learn more.