The sex talk. This talk is typically known as a dreaded conversation between parents and children that leads to a flustered explanation of intercourse on the part of the parents, and mortification on the part of the child.
The taboo surrounding sex within American society is dangerous because it can often lead to misinformation or no information at all, which can contribute to higher sexually transmitted infection (STI) and pregnancy rates. It is because of this taboo that some figures estimate that around 50 percent of people in college will contract an STI at some point.
Only two out of the 11 sex ed curriculum that are used in the United States are said to be medically accurate. Not only can the information being taught by parents be more colloquial than accurate, so can the information provided by secondary schools. This doesn’t take into account the harmful stereotypes that can be passed down generationally or introduce new ideas surrounding sexual health.
It is because of this misinformation that on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in EUC Kirkland there was a comprehensive talk surrounding a variety of topics pertaining to sexual health. The talk directly addressed STI’s, contraception and consent.
The program began with a discussion about the different STI’s and STD’s that one can catch from having unprotected sex, and methods to prevent against that.
Then there was a section about contraception, and ways to prevent pregnancy such as birth control pills, IUD’s and other hormonal methods of contraception.
Lastly, the directors of the event spoke about consent and the different ways consent can and cannot be garnered from another person.
All in all, for me, the event was lackluster. Although the information surrounding STI’s and contraceptives is important, that isn’t all that sexual education should encompass.
One of the primary critiques about the event was the heteronormative lens that the event coordinators seemed to be viewing sex ed through. There was no conversation surrounding queer sex, stereotypes or protection methods for those in the queer community. On a campus with so much diversity surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity, that sort of exclusion seems irresponsible.
Another critique of the event, was the constant mention and pressure toward abstinence. As mentioned previously, abstinence-only education has been shown to be a failure. It also aids in furthering the taboo surrounding sex by making those receiving the information feel as if it is wrong.
Sexual health isn’t just about physical protection; it is also about mental attitudes surrounding sex. If one’s attitude surrounding sex is influenced by the idea that sex is “dirty,” then connecting with their partner(s) is going to prove a challenge, which can create larger issues in the long run.
While I understand the intention of the event, it’s execution did nothing to really change or inform people beyond what we get on the usual sexual assault and sexual health platforms.