May is Sex Ed For All Month. 17 states require sex ed to be medically accurate, and 7 states explicitly require teachers to portray LGBTQ people negatively or not all (Source: SIECUS). When young people are able to take sex ed courses, many of them are not comprehensive or medically accurate, and often teach abstinence-only sex education.
Comprehensive sex ed is necessary for young people, but until that happens, it’s important to get informed on your own. The more information you have, the more you are able to take control of your own sexual health.
Have open conversations with trusted adults about sex and sexual health.
Talking with someone in your life who can advise you on making smart choices is important. Not only will you learn more than if you relied on the internet, but you will also be opening up those conversations for future situations.
For example, maybe you don’t want to get on birth control yet, but you do want to learn more about it. Ask your parents for information and start that conversation, and one day, when you want to use it, you won’t feel as awkward talking about it. If you don’t want to talk to your parents, find a trusted adult, like a doctor, coach, or teacher, and ask them.
Get informed. If you haven’t taken sex education at school, find information from online sources you know you can trust.
Comprehensive Sex Ed delays sexual activity and reduces the risk for teen pregnancy, but many schools don’t teach comprehensive sex ed — “medically accurate, age- and developmentally appropriate, and culturally responsive sex education” [SIECUS]. Generally, states teach abstinence-only sex education, meaning that the main lesson is to not have sex before you get married. States also teach medically inaccurate and non-inclusive sex education, which gives young people wrong information and does not teach anything about LGBTQ+ sexual health.
That’s why it’s so important to be informed about sex and sexual health and receive medically accurate and factual information, so that you’re prepared to handle any situation when you’re ready for it.
Here are some great resources to learn about sex:
Establish boundaries in your relationships.
It’s also important to learn about consent, as well as gain confidence in setting boundaries and having those conversations with your sexual partners. Be sure to always use protection, and if your sexual partner does not want to use condoms, do not engage in sexual activity with them. You can say no. That’s why setting those boundaries and having that conversation beforehand is vital.
At Fact Not Fiction, we want everyone to have the right information, regardless of your age, gender, sexuality, or whether or not you’re sexually active. Whatever you do, with whomever, don’t do it in the dark. And ALWAYS make sure it’s done with consent.