Sexuality Education for Youth Needs to be Youth-Centric and Holistic

Sexuality education needs to move beyond a lecture-style, top-down, preachy format. Rather, it should facilitate a safe and non-judgmental space that encourages youths to think for themselves and to ask questions. 

By Raphael Zhang| 3 December, 2019

As a strong believer and educator in sexuality education for youths, we are encouraged to read about young people’s recognition of the value of sexuality education and their desire for it to be conducted in better ways. (Let’s talk about safe sex: Sex education should go beyond preaching abstinence, say students and experts; Oct 28)

Indeed, sexuality education needs to move beyond a lecture-style, top-down, preachy format. Rather, it should facilitate a safe and non-judgemental space that encourages youths to think for themselves and to ask questions.

After attending our sexuality education workshops, youth participants have shared with us that their views were widened and deepened, with many indicating how respect, commitment and boundaries are critical to healthy relationships, and sexual self-control and wise decision making bring freedom.

Experiential activities ensure that youths benefit not just from immersive learning, but also help them to better remember learning points and apply practical handles. This youth-centric approach also ensures that facilitators conducting sexuality education share age-appropriate and relevant real-life experiences, with relatable principles fleshed out instead of just abstract concepts.

We agree that sexuality education for young people needs to cover more than just abstinence. It should include the purpose of sex and sexual intimacy, human sexual development, the neurochemical processes that take place during sexual activity, the different forms of sexual acts with their pros and cons, the value and possibility of a renewed commitment to purity, the facts about pregnancy and abortion, the influence of pornography, and portrayals of sexuality and relationships in the media.

Ultimately, we want to guide youths to develop sexual intelligence and responsible decision making when it comes to their choices about sexuality and relationships.

A truly comprehensive sexuality education needs to take a holistic approach—always making sure to address sexuality in terms of health, relationships and values. Since each person’s life comprises all three dimensions, every decision made will impact all these inextricable aspects of their lives.

Finally, we agree that sexuality education needs to stress that sex is not something that is taboo or shameful. Rather, sexual intimacy within a committed marriage is a good and beautiful thing that bonds a man and a woman together in deep ways. At least 85% of our participants appreciate the importance of abstinence before marriage because they understand the purpose of sexual intimacy.

We need to do better by our young people. Sexuality educators would do well to equip youths in engaging, youth-centric ways with relatable, age-appropriate stories from a holistic approach that touches on all the dimensions of a human person, so that our youth can be empowered with the know-how to make smart sexual decisions that positively impact themselves and others in their present and future relationships.

 

 

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