In my opinion, sex-ed is one of the most useful things which should be taught in school since kids reach puberty, and even earlier. But bad sexual education is worse than not receiving it at all; it indoctrinates young people with false, dangerous information that can have disastrous consequences.
I had the misfortune of being taught sexual education in a workshop at the Catholic school I attended: it was two days filled with sexism, slut-shaming, homophobia and religious indoctrination that sadly shaped my views on sexuality for the next upcoming years.
The overall message me and my fellow classmates, girls separated from boys, got from these enlightening sessions was:
- Don’t have sex before marriage, otherwise you’ll be worthless;
- When you do so, don’t use any kind of protection;
- Accept that sex is just for the pleasure of men and for you to give birth.
The thing that angers me the most, was that all of this was addressed towards girls, and that these things are wrong in so many ways.
We were made to believe that we could “catch a guy’s attention” with our bodies and behavior, and as such, we should keep it modest; otherwise we would “provoke” them into wanting to be with us. We were made to look down on girls which were sexually active before marriage as “whores” that did not have respect for themselves; and, in general, at our femininity as something we should be ashamed of. This is what a systematic slut-shaming lessons leave to young girls. It’s natural that, if we’re only exposed to this information, we will start victim-blaming girls, or even ourselves. It’s natural that the kid in the class that wears a little bit of makeup will be called a “slut.” It’s natural that we will have prejudices towards the LGBT community. It’s natural that, paradoxically, we will not follow our natural instinct of being close to people, physically. Because sex is something that only boys can enjoy.
Society needs to be built by its foundations, and helping young people to be confident and open with their sexuality is one of the first steps; there needs to be a healthy relationship with sex. Why do we make kids afraid of it, instead of giving them information on how to live their sexual life in a healthy and rewarding way? Why do we focus on making it such a taboo topic for girls, convincing them that it’s not that nice or that it’s normal for boys only to want it? Why do we make them ashamed of their own bodies instead of teaching them to be confident and stand up for themselves? Why do we spread false information that could compromise their lives, just because it’s a Catholic school and it’s protocol?
You are teaching a 12-year-old girl that protection harms her fertility, but what will you tell her when she encounter unexpected pregnancies at 16 because of this? You will blame her and call her immature.
To my Catholic School that was my reference for many years: you’ve got it all wrong and I’m sorry I ever listened to that. I just hope that everyone else sitting in that classroom woke up soon enough and started looking at our sexuality the way we should have been taught to many years before.