Friday, 18 January 2013

LET’S TALK SEXUAL EDUCATION


Sex education is a lifelong process!

A process of acquiring information and forming attitude, belief, and values about identity, relationships, affection and intimacy. It encompasses sexual development and reproductive health. The primary goal of sexuality education is the promotion of sexual health.  (Nigeria guideline development process).

Paraphrasing Wikipedia on their take; We can take sex education to be a set of instructions bordering on issues relating to human sexuality; including human sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction, sexual intercourse, reproductive health, emotional relations, reproductive right and responsibilities, abstinence, birth control and other aspects of human sexual behaviour.

There is this ingrained belief on protecting young people, adolescents, from issues and talks about
sex in our society. Some are of the opinion that this information will lead the young ones into sexual promiscuity; Some also fanatically believe that sex should be the exclusive preserve of  married folks and a very great number withdraw from the sex talk altogether because they just don't know how to sit their kids down and discuss sex. These reasons are obviously some of encouragement needed by the kids to learn it their own way and at such, the increase in unwanted teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, sexual abuse e.t.c.

Information is power. Accurate and correct information from the right channels is a source of strength. I have seen cases of pregnancies in children, plenty in adolescents, and one of the things I have come to understand is that there was no information for them to work with in most cases. In situations where the parents are not supportive, their (the victims) lives comes to a standstill. They are deserted, abandoned, rejected and in some cases, parents force them to go live with the person who got them pregnant. In the case of the guy, he is forced into emergency fatherhood.

Although we have refused to talk about sex, young people still get this information one way or the other. They are available on the internet, through friends, in biology classes, on the pages of newspapers and magazines. It is important to have access to the right information to help in making the right decisions in life as it concerns sexual development, health and general wellbeing.

Adolescents attending mixed schools have the opportunity to freely engage the opposite sex, at a period of life when the sexual drive is intense. At this point of their lives, sexual ignorance will be destructive to them and in the long run, the society.

Parents have a major role to play in the society. Your responsibility to let your kids have the right information to sex education won’t hurt them, it will help them make informed choices and take responsibility for their actions. Parents need to be able to form a good rapport with their children. Let them feel free to talk to you. Make them feel safe. It is not just about sending them to good schools, getting them nice jeans, dresses, shoes e.t.c. sex education will give them the much needed ammunition and strength to make reasonable decisions when you're not with them.

Sex education should be a part of our school curricula. It will be beneficial to the society to have a sexually informed populace. Not only in schools, but also in places of worship, market places, the mass media, blogs and websites e.t.c.

The content of sexual information includes:
. Life skills,
. Sexual attitude and behaviour,
. Society and culture,
. Relationship.

People have argued that sex education is not important suggesting that morals should be taught in its stead. I also agree that teaching good morals is very important but that should supplant sex education, because it gives you an edge. I use myself as an example when the advantages of good sexual education is being discussed. I had good sexual education at age 15. Not just from my parents, but I was properly trained by experts on a wide range of issues, reproductive health and all that is needed to be a good peer educator. Every Tuesday and Thursday we go on peer education awareness on the streets of kakuri, kaduna. One thing I noticed was, most of the young people we encountered had lots of information about sex but they were the wrong ones. And when I asked them how they got this information, they said its from friends and erotic magazines. I am talking about people between the ages of 14 and 19.

Whenever we talk about sexually transmitted diseases, I would always emphasize on abstinence depending on the age of whoever I was chatting with. As I grew older, I discovered it is futile insisting on abstinence to sexually active people, so I began bringing condoms into the picture and how to properly use it. Now this was a problem because my peer education didn’t stop on the streets, I also shared with friends in church which my then pastor was not happy about. I know that abstinence is the best form of protection from unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases including HIV, but what happens to sexually active people? Sexual education in Nigeria is a huge task; it faces a lot of challenges.

The importance of sexual education cannot be overemphasized though. Some of them are written below:

1. Sexual education helps us acquire skills to make decision now and in the future.
2. Provides you with information about taking care of your sexual health.
3. Ability to use contraceptives effectively.
4. You will be able to take precaution against contracting or acting as a carrier of sexually transmitted diseases.
5. You will be able to tolerate people with different sexual values and lifestyle.
6. It helps us avoid behaviours that exhibit prejudice and bigotry.
7. Promoting the right of all people to accurate sexual information.
8. Practice health promoting behaviours.
9. You would know that all sexual decisions have effects or consequences.
10. Communicate with family, peers and partners effectively.
11. Engage in sexual relations that are characterized by honesty, equity and responsibility.
12. Promote the rights of all people to accurate sexuality information.
13. Take precautions against contracting or transmitting a sexually transmitted disease, including HIV.
14. Practice effective decision making.
15. Interact with both sexes in a respectful and responsible way.
16. Discriminate between life-enhancing sexual behaviors and those that are harmful to self and others.
17. Respect the sexual orientation of others
18. Educate others about sexuality.

The society will benefit when people are able to make responsible sexual choices.


Florence Opeyemi Fasetan
@flofash on Twitter

13 comments:

  1. A good piece Ope...Africans generally engage in the hypocrisy of sex is sacred, whereas more than 80% are sexually active. As u have stated, its better to equip our youngsters with the right information rather than living them to learn from the wrong sources. Sexual education needs to be looked into properly and made known for all.

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  2. Spot on. Nice one. I wrote something on this topic months ago touching almost all these salient points u mentioned. Sadly, I didn't get around 2 posting it. Happy someone else shares the sentiments. There is so much that proper sex education can achieve that I wonder why it hasn't been included in the school curriculums

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  3. Oh dearie! You've done justice with this piece. Its so good to give out sex education to kids, I had mine as early as 12years from my mum and a nurse. Few weeks ago, I had a priviledge of going to secondary schools to give talks on health issues, I didn't leave out sex education as I knew its of as great importance and the students were so eager to learn. They asked questions that amazed me and I'm like if you feel this kids no nothing,then you are deceiving yourself.The best is to CATCH THEM YOUNG!

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  4. Great tips! Thanks for sharing with us..

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  5. Very well said....thanks for sharing....more power to your elbow.

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  6. Great article from youngster.

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