Do adults need sex ed? Yes, YES they do.
Statistically speaking, most parents want their children to have comprehensive sex education. Although there are some who disagree on what “comprehensive” should mean based on their religious values, it’s pretty much something we can all agree on. Most adults have some horror story about their lack of good education, whether it’s not knowing what was happening when their period started or the baby they acquired through the pull out method. Why then do so many adults assume that comprehensive education is for teens only?
Lets face it, we want to assume we already know everything. Maybe we’re already married and with kids or maybe we feel we’re educated enough with the internet at our fingertips. Maybe at this point we feel like it’d be way too awkward to talk about. This is why sexually transmitted infection rates are rising in adults, we never got the education we needed. There’s a lot of misinformation online AND in books. This is a field that’s always getting updated and expanded. Also unfortunately depending on where you live you could be given misinformation from medical professionals either because they aren’t keeping updated on new information or their religious values tell them to not give out certain information.
This can be overwhelming for someone trying to educate themselves. Doubly so if you’re a parent and want to be prepared for the conversations that will come up. So what’s a person to do? Luckily there are organizations, businesses, and individuals who specialize in giving adults a comprehensive sexuality education lesson. One such organization is called Our Whole Lives. This is a Lifespan Sexuality Education created by the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ. It is not religiously based and does conform to national standards based on the Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education. It includes curricula for different age groups, including adult and young adult. Young Adult is defined as ages 18-35ish, with Adult being everything older than that. It covers many different subjects. The young adult curriculum workshops include: body image, exploring your personal values and comfort zones, reproductive anatomy, the human sexual response, Sexualy Transmitted Infections, birth control, safer sex methods, reproductive health, exploring gender roles, deconstructing messages society gives us, gender identity, sexual orientation, communication, healthy relationships, commitment, dating, intimacy, types of relationships, self-love, boundaries, sexual and relationship abuse, starting a family, unplanned pregnancy, and advocacy.
Not going to lie, some of the subject matter can be very emotionally charged and considered taboo. The goal is to only give medically accurate information without the instructors personal values attached. It’s also intended to be a safe space where people can talk about their differing experiences. In the beginning the group together makes an agreement on how to have these conversations without people feeling attacked or put down while also acknowledging and appreciating diversity. Subjects that may be controversial include masturbation, pornography, abortion, sexual and romantic orientations, gender identities including transgender identities, non monogamy, and the full range of sexual arousal. Participants don’t have to talk about their personal experiences, in fact they can opt out of specific activities that make them uncomfortable. While part of the class is lecture based there are also many fun activities, writing prompts, conversation starters, videos, and other hands-on learning methods. You’re not just learning from the facilitators but also from each other and it’s an experience you take with you throughout your life.
For those in Northwest Arkansas, a Young Adult class will be starting February 17th with eight or more sessions at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Fayetteville. There is a $25 charge to cover materials and scholarships are available.