In our Open Enrollment Workshops we offer: 8 hours at 4-5th grade, 12 hours at 5-6th grade, 36 hours at 7-9th grade, and 36 hours at 10-12th grade. That’s 92 hours of content spanning 4-12th grade, because sexuality is complicated!
Let’s consider just how much of our life experience involves sexuality. What else consumes our thoughts the way that longing for intimacy and sexual fulfillment does? How preoccupied as adolescents are we with our sexual identity and worries about whether we are normal? How much of middle and high school is spent navigating the turbulence of attraction and relationships? And that’s only the segue into what we hope is lifelong healthy sexuality!
Most often when we think about Sex-Ed classes, we think about topics that fall into the category of SEXUAL HEALTH AND REPRODUCTION.
· Preventing Sexually Transmitted Infections, Sexual Anatomy, Reproductive Functions, Pregnancy, Preventing Unintended Pregnancy, Abortion
These are topics at the intersection of sexuality and biology. These are super important topics involving physical health, and data from the medical world. But understanding sexuality doesn’t stop there.
There are four other general categories to learn about.
We all have bodies. We all experience our sexuality through the physical sensations of our bodies. SENSUALITY. Part of the joy of having a body is the sensual and sexual pleasure we can experience, and all people deserve to feel good about their bodies. Topics here include
· Masturbation, Body Image, Sexual Response, and Fantasy
INTIMACY is at the intersection of relationships and sexuality. Humans are social creatures and so much of our sexuality is experienced in connection with others. Topics here include
· Communication, Consent, Trust, Risk taking, Self-disclosure, Power dynamics, Responsibility, Self-advocacy, Love, Caring
SEXUALIZATION is the place where sexuality and power dynamics intersect. It is really important to take a serious look at the way that imbalances of power create environments where sexual abuse can occur.
· Rape, Sex Trafficking, Sexual Assault, and Harassment
These are all horrific consequences of an abuse of power, and only by empowering the disenfranchised can we stop the harm caused by these crimes.
SEXUAL IDENTITY. The intersection of sexuality and identity includes a complex spectrum of topics. For ages conventional thinking has only included two options for sexual identity. A pink box or a blue one. But we now recognize this binary divide is a social construct, not grounded in evidence, and throughout history it has harmed the people that could not be crammed into just one of those boxes.
· Biological Sex, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, Gender Roles, Sexual Orientation
Let’s take a closer look at just one topic, Biological Sex, which intersects at biology, identity AND sexuality. Conventional thinking has falsely assumed that a person’s biological sex is obvious at birth (either male or female) and from there gender correlates with bio sex (male>man or female>woman) and that what follows is a heterosexual pattern of attraction. (male>man>attracted to women or female>woman>attracted to men) This is just not a true picture of sexual identity. There have always been people who don’t fit this model. (information on Female, Intersex, and Male here)
We could talk for an entire semester about Biological Sex!
When you consider the entire span of intersecting topics involving sexuality, you can understand why so many kids respond, “I wish this class was longer” at the end of our workshops!