Sex education should be easily accessible in schools
Teenagers need to learn about protection, sexuality, and menstruation to understand sexual health
The debate on whether sex education should be mandatory in schools is long standing, but it should be a required part of the curriculum worldwide.
On orientation day, I found a condom in the bag given out by the Kwantlen Student Association and I was caught off guard. This reminded me of my sex education classes at my private school in India, and how not everyone got the same education I did about safe sex.
In India, sex is a secret — hidden from everyone and culturally considered shameful. Coming from a metropolitan city like Mumbai, sex was a normal conversation I could have with my friends and not worry about judgment. I was lucky my school arranged sex education classes.
Unlike health or gym class in Canada, India only had a few special sessions on sex education. The first thing I was taught in school was “good touch, bad touch.” Then we discussed menstruation, consent, and basic sex-ed.
Premarital sex is considered a taboo in India, so schools mostly focused on why it isn’t safe to have unprotected sex instead of talking about how to have safe sex, which is an important aspect of sex-ed.
Menstruation is also kept lowkey. Sometimes I wonder if those who menstruate are ashamed to talk about it to people, or if the other side of the population is just not aware of it. This is part of sex-ed, because menstruation can impact sex. We were also never taught about sexuality during these classes.
Even when sex-ed is easily accessible, everyone has a different story about what was taught during their classes.
My school informed us about safe sex, contraceptives, and sexually transmitted infections (STI), but my friend’s school taught them how they should wait until marriage. This conversation was more about scaring those who just hit puberty from having sex rather than educating them about sexual safety and protection.
This lack of education can increase the chance of catching STIs, making it important for teenagers to learn about safe options for their life, health, and future.
Oftentimes the generational gap also makes it difficult for teenagers to talk to their parents about sex. So, due to the lack of proper sex-ed, young people generally perceive sex through porn. Sex-ed does not encourage sex, but teaches people how to protect themselves and others.
Sex shouldn’t be a secretive topic and everyone should feel comfortable talking about it. Openly talking about sex encourages young people to practice safe sex, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.