Silent Shadows: The Disturbing State of Sex Education
From traumatising late-night internet searches to the omission of crucial topics like safe sex and queer education, our schools are failing students. It's time to break the taboo, provide comprehensive sex education, and empower young minds to make informed decisions about their sexual health and identities.
Imagine this. A dark room, the clock ticking half past two in the morning. A scared kid looking up ‘sex’ hidden under her blanket, confused and traumatised by the stuff she sees on the screen.
This was my sex-ed, after the formal “sex-ed” I had received from my school: a brief intro about periods, the thing I had experienced at least 6 times before and a faint word shining across the projector screen.
The sex-ed that we have gotten during our school years was traumatising enough and the fact that more than hundreds of students have to go through such an experience is traumatising.
David. A piece of art,universally recognised as an extremely important aspect of culture was labelled ‘pornography’ by a fuming parent. This drama about teaching Michelangelo’s ‘David’ sculpture, one of the most important works of art in existence, has become a distraction from, and a parody of, the actual aims of classical education.
Parents themselves are not educated about porn or sex and their unawareness mingled with the stigma surrounding the discussion of these topics lead to them making such absurd claims. Besides, since schools don't provide seminars or lectures explaining to young students what pornography actually is and how watching porn doesn’t automatically turn you into a hardened criminal, students tend to get confused about it. They might mistake any public show of genitals (in this case, a piece of vital cultural history) for pornography.
Our biology textbooks are filled with information of how an erection takes place or why the menstrual cycle takes place. What they do not talk about is safe sex practices. Condoms, diaphragms, intrauterine devices are almost never mentioned. Even if these lie outside the scope of the “Reproduction” chapter, another chapter should be included that explains to students the benefits of having safe sex instead of advocating abstinence.
Since our textbooks often fail to mention safe-sex practices, they inadvertently teach students to follow in the footsteps of pornography—resulting in more confusion, apprehension and especially unsafe-sex.
Another aspect of the sex-ed seminars in schools is the lack of discussion regarding queer sex.
I’m a queer teen who regularly faces questions like ‘so how would you have sex?’ and honestly, the only way I learnt about the answers were some shady websites or after some intense surfing of the web.
This is what one of my classmates, who chose to remain anonymous, told us in an informal interview. For her, being comfortable in her own body and sexuality was an extremely tumultuous and difficult experience.
Biology textbooks, school seminars, teachers and parents all must realise they have the same goal-to teach teenagers about safe sex and answer their questions in a guilt-free environment. Simply prohibiting students from watching Porn or masturbating isn't the solution.They will ultimately find a way to do all that they desire. Instead of putting their desires to shame and creating an unsafe and uncomfortable environment, adults must learn to teach students about safe-sex and masturbation. So that there won’t be traumatised eleven year olds hiding below their blankets, searching for answers.
Anusha is a queer teen obsessed with literature, Taylor Swift and rain. She hopes to bring about some change in the current education system.