This is a personal essay by Ciné Swain-Julien, co-founder of The Safe Sex Project.
When you’re in primary and secondary schooling, some districts required safer sex education for certain grade levels. Consent forms were always given out so that a parent could give the “okay” for you to participate in receiving the education. But, that doesn’t always mean the material and information they were providing was of quality.
In my experience, safer sex education in my school district was less than. It actually was obsolete. My school district stated on their website that safer sex education was required by certain grades, but the only time I actually took a sex education course was in 7th grade by a random P.E. teacher that I never met before. My issues with sex education are as follows:
It is not inclusive whatsoever to the LGBTQ+ community.
The material and information are extremely outdated.
None of it is relevant.
The teaching style of sex education most times uses the “scare tactic.
All of these aspects combined make learning about safer sex education for youth disengaging, uninteresting, and not enjoyable at all. Instead of sex education being another interest topic to emphasize youth putting their health first, it is now seen as a backseat conversation that puts the responsibility on youth to learn on their own.
There needed to be a change.
That’s why myself and three of my peers, Noor, Alexia and Alan, came together and formed The Safe Sex Project! The Safe Sex Project is a Florida-based organization that focuses on educating youth (ages 13-25) on safer sex practices, tools and resources regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Our main goal is to ensure everyone has the same access to safer sex education that is pleasure-based and tangible. Safer sex education shouldn't be something you’re scared about learning - especially when it doesn’t need to be in the first place!
Thus, safer sex education must be inclusive to all genders and sexualities, inform youth about inclusive language, resources for STI testing, and much more. While there are many safer sex organizations focused on educating youth via digital and social media activism, schools still need to do their part in changing the way they educate students (and actually doing it!).
Want to know more?
If you're interested in reading more information about safe sex practices, visit The Safe Sex Project.