Sex education is also called as sexuality education or sex and relationship education. It is a common perception that sex education means teaching, talking and telling about sex and reproduction. However, it is not just that. Sex education includes making the developing minds aware, careful and confident. It means that they are aware of their rights as an individual and are careful and confident enough to protect themselves from exploitation, abuse, unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV and Aids. Sex and relationship education also aims at keeping the youth informed so that they can make the right choices. It is important to impart the right amount of information according to the age of the child, as it not only makes the child aware but also comfortable with his/her own sexuality, thus helping an individual form an opinion or belief regarding sex, sexuality, relationship and intimacy.
Sex education is a very sensitive issue. It can be provided by parents, in schools and also via books, television and other such mediums. However, it is very important that the information provided is not misleading or trying to enforce a belief. It should be medically accurate and age appropriate.
What topics should be covered as a part of a sex education programme?
Puberty and resulting physical changes
Sexual development and reproduction
Sexual pleasures and intimacy
Contraception and safe sex
Awareness about sex related crime
You want your child to be aware but do not know how to talk to him/her? Here are a few tips:
Do not start right away with sex education. Engage your child into a conversation, let him ask questions. You can start by talking about puberty and related changes and also share your own experiences. Sex education is not a one time process. It is gradual, hence, appropriate information should be given from time to time, as your child grows.
In today’s day and age, being informed about sexual abuse is very important. Let your child know that you support him/her. If the child trusts you, he/she will share any unusual or untoward incident, thus helping you to help him.
If your children share their experiences or ask questions, do not interrupt, argue or criticise. Give a patient hearing and then express your own views and give information about the subject. This will make the child comfortable, and he will never hesitate to talk to you.
Before talking to your child about sex and sexuality, be informed yourself. If you are not too sure, prepare yourself, get information from your doctor.
Embarrassment can put an end to conversation, forever. If you feel too awkward, get some age appropriate books for your child to get accurate and required information.
Express your views and values to your child, however do not impose. Keep it friendly and communicative.
It is also very important that when you speak of sex, apart from talking about the physical issues, you also talk about emotions, relationships, intimacy and other psychological issues.