Update March 16: Utah bans the ban! (Insert cheer). But it may not be over yet….
The past week was a lively one in the US, what with Utah busy banning sex education and determining a difficult future for their youth. Nothing like laying the groundwork for glory. This despite research that says sex education can help delay sexual debut until kids are a little older.
But it’s not just about numbers. The research says the difference isn’t just in timing of first sex; it’s also in the choice of partner. Kids who waited longer were more likely to choose a partner closer to their own age. For heterosexually minded girls, this is significant. Girls who enter relationships with boys or men older than them can be at a disadvantage. The likelihood of exposure to STIs is higher, given that older males will likely have had more sexual partners. Pair that with lower self esteem of younger girls in relationships with older guys and you have risks that I don’t like as a parent.
We all have bodies with hormones that affect us, especially in the teen years. If kids are educated about how their amazing bodies work, won’t they be all the better prepared to honour and enjoy them? Give kids sex education that talks about all the aspects of sexuality, including biology and relationship dynamics. We should talk about pressure and control, about online intimacy as it translates into real life, about birth control, STIs and sexual orientation. Doing any less is a disservice.
Youshouldknow.ca: Sexual health science, culture and news for women edging to middle age, parents and educators. Info on sexually transmitted infections, relationship dynamics, aging and sexual health, and sex education.
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