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.