We live in a very sexual world. There are messages about sex all around us – on TV, the internet, in music and on our phones. It’s used to sell practically everything yet is often misunderstood.
Political and religious leaders have a lot to say about sex, and it’s a big part of the mass media, but despite the advances of technology, youth still don’t receive much useful information. With all the misinformation and mixed messages out there, youth need to learn about sex and sexuality from trusted adults, backed-up by reliable sources.
Parents and guardians often ask themselves, “How will I discuss sexual health with my child and how will these conversations affect them?”, “What if I don’t know the answers to their questions?”, “Wont’ talking to youth about sex will prompt them to experiment?”
These concerns are very common, and perfectly normal.
Our sexuality is a core component of who we are and encompasses sexual thoughts, experiences, and what and who we value. Talking about sexual health is more than the birds and the bees. It’s about the whole forest. Sexual health is not just about, well sex. It’s about respect, self-esteem, identity, healthy relationships, violence prevention and access to healthcare. It’s not just one conversation, it’s many conversations.
Sexuality is part of the makeup and personality of every human being. Our sexuality includes our bodies and how our bodies work, our gender, our sexual orientation, and how we feel those things and how we experience love, compassion, joy and sorrow. Proper sex ed teaches youth to stand up for themselves, stand up for their rights, make good choices, and to be independent. You won’t always know the answers, but knowing you are there as a beacon of support will in itself enrich your child’s development when it comes to these issues.
Young people who discuss their sexual health, relationships, and values with their parents and guardians are more likely to make informed decisions and be healthier and safer. Talking to youth about sexual health won’t prompt experimentation, it will encourage responsibility.
Check out our videos on this topic provided below, where we answer common questions from parents and from youth on how to talk about sex and sexuality, along with some of my favorite resources. Find us on Facebook, Tik Tok, and Instagram for more credible educational resources and remember we are here to help. Sexual health matters, and so does Cumberland County.
Educational Resource Links:
Tips for Parents & Caregivers: https://fb.watch/5TcuVbtiOY/
Talking About It Matters: https://fb.watch/5TcwqkfUiG/
-Rene Ross, Executive Director & Sexual Health Educator