What do you know about sex?

As long as sex is dealt with in the current confusion of ignorance and sophistication, denial and indulgence, suppression and stimulation, punishment and exploitation, secrecy and display, it will be associated with a duplicity and indecency that lead neither to intellectual honesty nor human dignity.

Most parents fear that if teachers talk to teens about sex in a classroom, the information will somehow trigger their interest in it–as if teens have not heard of sex before taking a health class on it.”

For many children and teenagers, sex education class provides the only place they can hope to receive accurate, non-judgmental information about their bodies, untainted by religion, politics, or the entertainment and advertising industries. Sex is a natural and integral part of life, and young people must have the subject demystified in order to come to their own conclusions about what is and isn’t healthy behavior.

Most sex ed focuses on biology, without exploring the psychological questions about personal sexuality that paralyze so many.

In an open and safe environment, youths are motivated to continue their sexual education into adulthood, staying informed and conscious at each stage of their journey. Indeed, studies have shown that those who receive “sex ed” actually wait longer to have sex, refuting the feverish notion that information leads to indulgence. Rather, information is empowerment. But if a child has been exposed to shaming, damning or exploitative notions about sex, these wounds may cause pain throughout a lifetime and give rise to compulsions, repression, or both.

If we didn’t receive the sex education we needed, it’s never too late to learn. Even reading this post, or hopping online, starts the lifelong process of knowing. We can seek out sex-positive role models and mentors who have the ability to heal our ignorance and embarrassment with a gentle, well-timed joke or explanation. Sex education should feel like an exhilarating adventure rather than a boring clinical lecture.

After all, every single one of us was born through the miracle of intercourse. We owe our lives to this fascinating process, whether we are gay, trans, bi, straight or other. We may be just beginning our education, or filling in the gaps at a late age, but learning is always best nurtured through encouragement, kindness, support, stability, appreciation and healthy boundaries that engender trust–many of the same qualities that make for healthy sexual relationships.

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