When I think about how to define the word Sexuality, the first thing that comes to mind is that it is a multidimensional term, which includes thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and beliefs, that influence the way we conceptualize what we are and largely determines the way we relate to other people.
We can place ourselves at 3 levels when we talk about sexuality, the biological, psychological, and social, which are interrelated and can be modified based on the experiences we have during our lives and the environment in which we develop.
Perhaps if we look at it in more detail, we could divide this concept as follows:
- Affectivity and bonding, that is, to whom we feel attracted, who we fall in love with, and what style of relationships we build.
- Personal identification, how we develop an image of who we are, the way in which we incorporate social stereotypes, the needs we have at the affective-sexual level and the conceptualization/acceptance of our body and emotionality based on our sexual characteristics.
- Erotic activity, which includes the behaviors and fantasies we have regarding sex, understanding the latter as any activity that involves the search for pleasure, by oneself or in relation to another person.
In general, in a quite reductionist way, we tend to think that sexuality is only a synonym for sex and that it is a subject which “it is not good to talk” or the spaces to do so are simply not actively offered.
There is a notion that sexuality is something that begins when you start to have physical sexual activity when we are teens, when the truth is that we are born as sexual beings. Depending on the life stage we are in, sexuality is understood and expressed in different ways.
Hence the importance that conversations about sexuality begin to take place as early as possible, with an approach that reflects the naturalness of it and does not promote negative attitudes in girls and boys.
It is essential that we review the current state of sex education, since it is not only deficient, but also punitive. As we well know, thanks to advances in the world of pedagogy, people do not learn as well when learning is focused on the possibility of receiving punishment.
We teach children how not to get sexually transmitted infections and how to prevent unwanted pregnancies, but we do not show them how to live their sexuality with pleasure, without shame or guilt, to love their own bodies and value themselves for what they are, we don’t talk to them about consent or diversity either. In other words, we focus on abstinence and prevention, but we do not provide them with the tools so that, when initiating genital sexuality, they do so understanding their wishes and respecting their experiences and those from people with whom they decide to share their bodies.
According to Unesco (2018), sexuality education has positive effects, including an increase in the knowledge of young people and an improvement in their attitudes regarding health, sexual and reproductive behaviors. In addition to this, it has been shown that sex-ed with a gender perspective, both in school and outside of it, does not increase sexual activity, risky sexual behavior, or the rates of STIs and HIV. Here we can see how the myth of “the more you know about sex the more you will want to try” is dismantled.
As the phrase “Knowledge is power” states, in education is where the true possibility of each person to be, to change and grow. Therefore, greater knowledge in the sphere of sexuality is necessary so that when these girls and boys decide to venture into active sexual life, they do so knowing the pros and cons, from a place of responsibility and confidence in their decisions, more than just going blind or relying on what they’ve learned from mainstream porn.
Without a doubt, it is essential that comprehensive sexual education begins with schooling, this first approach will not be from a place of genitality (how we understand sexuality in adults) but rather from things as simple as naming each part of our body. How many adults struggle to say the word vulva or penis aloud? How many adults have no idea how their sexual organs work? How many myths and erroneous beliefs do we have about what they are or how they are produced? orgasms? How many women and people with a uterus don´t have information about their menstrual cycle? We could continue these questions infinitely.
In this way, SexAcademy has created the proposal “The Other Education”, a project that aims to bring sexual education to all stages of life, for which it encourages workshops, courses, talks and counseling on sexuality for both adolescents, trainers, parents, and in general, anyone who is in contact with young people.
The more information and handling of the subject, the greater will be the children’s ability to develop a more solid body, emotional and sexual self-esteem, which will lead them on a path of acceptance of their own person, the construction of healthy relationships based in assertiveness and prevention of possible risky behavior or abuse.
Sex education is not only a sexual right but it is also a human right, so it rests in our hands to make future generations learn from another place, not like us, who approach sex by trial and error.