Kaitlyn Kenealy from Fem2pt0 shares why teaching teens about masturbation fits into a healthy, comprehensive sex ed framework:
Even though all teens begin masturbating at an early age, and often feel embarrassed and ashamed about it, when we become adults, it is males who tend to be empowered to talk about their sexual practices, while females sit in silence. This embarrassment is the primary reason we decided to advocate for more inclusive sex education and a more open dialogue about masturbation. We know that healthy choices and respectful behavior are the products of a mind that has been nourished by knowledge and confidence in oneself. Trusting individuals to make the right choices about their own bodies and sexualities is crucial to empowering women.
And, I’d argue, crucial to empowering men! Sending gendered messages about what’s right and wrong does a disservice to all genders.
But the real point here, I think, is that sex ed isn’t just gory pictures of STI-infected genetalia, or labeling diagrams of reproductive organs. Or at least it shouldn’t be. Sex ed should be a vehicle for helping shape healthy adults – and that means introducing them to what healthy relationships do (and don’t) look like, what it means to be financially literate, and, yeah, knowing your body and what feels good.
A coalition of health and education experts have just released the National Sexuality Education Standards: Core Content and Skills, K-12 and it. Is. Great.
Part of being responsible is having the right information to make informed and responsible decisions.
So why is it that when it comes to sex, we’re more likely to couch facts in euphemisms and ambiguity – or just outright deny young people the right information and resources?