Sexuality is one of the most complex, important, and yet often, the least discussed or examined aspect of our lives. Taboos around the conversations about sex contribute to a lack of information in a highly sexualized world that ironically uses sex to sell almost anything. As a result, our understanding of our sexuality is often complicated by the information and images we see and yet do not freely consider, talk about, or question.
For many of us, the sexual health information we received, potentially decades ago, is sorely outdated and in dire need of an update. Sexual health education is considered part of the BC school curriculum, and many teachers meet this challenge with the knowledge and comfort with the topic required. If you received your sexual health education in the past, you are probably aware of how woefully insufficient it likely was.
Sexual health education today encompasses a much broader scope than biology and body functions.
Adolescents today seek to be well-informed about subjects like consent, informed decision-making, inclusion, positive aspects of sexuality, and the social and emotional impacts of healthy relationships. In seeking this information, they look to a variety of sources: school-based programs, peers, family members, media, internet-based information, as well as trusted adults in their lives (Laverty et al. 2021). This requires adults that are knowledgeable, comfortable, and aware of their own values and beliefs about sexuality, as well as conscious and unconscious biases. It is easy to feel unqualified for these conversations, especially when the vocabulary and the information changes rapidly.
Becoming a Trusted Source of Information
As adults, how do we become the trusted source of information for ourselves, our families, our communities? How does your understanding of sexuality impact your relationships? Does
your expression of sexuality include pleasure? Does your
sexual expression fit within the socially constructed ideas
that you may have internalized? Are there differing views
and opinions within your family, your peers, or your
community about what healthy sexuality looks like? How
do you navigate those differences with your partner, your parents, your children, your friends, and your lovers?
Secrecy, Silence and Shame
Let's Talk About Sexuality
Understanding sexuality within the complexity of cultural differences is essential. For many, sexuality has been
necessarily secretive due to factors such as discrimination,
violence, persecution, ignorance, or shame. Deeply held
familial, social, or cultural frameworks of values and beliefs
can leave little room for alternatives of sexual expression.
Managing differences between individual needs, values
and beliefs and the communities we live in can be a
daunting task; a task further complicated by the secrecy,
silence, and shame with which our sexuality can be cloaked.
Are you satisfied with your sexual life, and with how you express your sexuality, your sensuality, your sexual self? What information are you missing? What are you curious about? What conversations would you like to have about sex? And with whom?
If you are interested in learning more:
Laverty, E.K., Noble, S.M., Pucci, A., & MacLean, R. E. D. (2021) Let’s talk about sexual health education: Youth perspectives on their learning experiences in Canada. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 30(1), 2021, 26–38. https://doi.org/10.3138/cjhs.2020-0051