BEYOND MERE SURVIVAL


sex ed VS abstinence based
March 26, 2009, 10:26 pm
Filed under: Building Healthy Relationships | Tags: , , , , , ,

while i was in the middle schools today the health teachers were discussing the new sex. ed plan that will substitute the previous abstinence based curriculum. they were shocked at how explicit and crude the information was, how mechanical and graphic. i asked if i could read the lesson plan, and honestly i was surprised. it was very much like reading a car manual, an instruction booklet on sex: this is how you put on a condom. dry? use some lube. oral sex? use dental dam or rubbers.sex_ed_by_boundsparrow

it was full of statistics about who is having sex and how much. graphs, precisely. it was so cold and sterile. i am all for sex ed., but not one that equates knowing how to put on a condom with a safe, healthy sexual relationship.

the two teachers i spoke to at length were both men, and shared some of their experiences. one of them recalled that the only thing his parents told him about sex was to “keep it in his pants, and don’t get in no trouble”. the other teacher had a sister that became pregnant at 15, and remembered feeling safe in the fact that he, as a man, could not get pregnant and “screw his life”. they both thought that the information would not be helpful to the kids, because it was way over their heads, and inappropriate.

i don’t think it’s inappropriate because kids should not know about sex, but because it teaches nothing about the reality of sex. the much needed information is not only how to not get pregnant, or avoid STIs, but the foundation of trust, communication and mutuality that are necessary for having a healthy sex life. it’s either “no sex, you will ruin your life and go to hell”, or a superficial overview of the physiological reality of a variety of sexual acts.

i am nervous that it’s gonna make people feel even more pressured to have sex when they don’t even know what they think of it yet, because they get a sense that everyone is doing it. so many times as an advocate, or just a friend i listened to people that “gave in” to sex because it seemed like what they were supposed to do, or felt pressured by peers and boyfriends ( and sometimes girlfriend), and then felt like shit about it.

in the end it makes sense that the school system is either offering a firm no to sex, or a cut and dry instruction booklet. it’s easy! there is no discussions, or nuances, or difficult conversations about consent and safety. it’s just another sterile piece of information removed from the real, complicated lives of youth.

i am going to look more into this, because i have no idea about who is responsible for choosing one sex ed. program or another, but sitting here and bitching doesn’t feel right.



Building Healthy Relationships

so. my summer so far consisted of a very brief visit to italy and my family, and now is divided between studying for the GRE +getting applications together, painting and my Middle Way House work. my summer project is to re-haul their educational program, which consists of 4 workshops we offer to any youth age 12-19 in the surrounding area.

we talk about relationships, gender roles, sexual violence and consent. i love it.  for many different reasons. it seems like such a rare opportunity to infiltrate the stifled school system and have a discussion, one in which i am often the first one to be challenged.

since i am re-writing the curriculum i have been in mad research mode, reading pages and pages of what other people around the country have been doing, and also asking some of the youth i have been in contact with for feedback and input.

anyways, i am posting the work i have done so far, and i will keep posting more as it progresses. this first batch is intended more for high school aged youth, and soon will come the middle school oriented workshops.

any feedback would be greatly appreciated. and also, of course feel free to use the material if it helps.

i will make a Building Healthy Relationships page and put the documents in there