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Sex Ed Begins at Home

When we became pregnant, I immediately considered what the future might hold. I heard the phone ringing, "Uh, yes, Ms. Levkoff? This is the head of your son's elementary school calling. Do you know what he has been teaching his classmates?" Seeing as he is my son (and I would have told him everything), I would imagine that he would be teaching girls that the correct name for their genitalia is vulva, and telling boys about how cool it is when you have an erection.

Okay, so that a long ways away...but the subject of parent child communication about sex is current - in fact, it never goes out of our present day dialogue.

Today's news revolves around the HPV vaccine. While parents are rushing out trying to find the vaccine for their girls, it appears that now they actually have to start talking to their children, young children, about sex. And really, what's the big deal? Sexuality is a natural part of our lives - and isn't it better to be knowledgable than ignorant about our bodies and what we choose to do with them?

I must say that in my years of teaching young children about sexuality (in classes throughout New York), parents have always been supportive of my work. In fact, one mother was so supportive that she actually said to me, "Thank you for doing my job!". I am certainly not doing her job. I explained to her that I can only supplement what she should be doing every day. But some parents are quick to relinquish control of their children's sexuality education. While I know that I am a effective and qualified educator, I worry about the parents who send their children into abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. It's one thing to believe that people should try to stay virgins until some formal commitment (marriage, civil union, or long term monogamy) - but it's a whole different thing when you hand your kids over to educators who provide misinformation, present a heterosexist and intolerant value system, and shame the youth of today into feeling guilty about their desires, behaviors, and bodies.

The research is clear. Abstinence-only-until-marriage programs are not effective. We who believe in comprehensive sexuality education need to fight for our right to hear the truth - and provide the truth to the people who matter - the generations who will make up our world for years to come!

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Comments

You're definitely right. But it is a vicious cycle...if parents weren't taught about sex in their own homes, they have no model to follow. That's why it's up to all of us to break the cycle and empower our children with knowledge of sexuality, instead of creating a culture of shame and guilt around it!!!

Yeah, it should start from the home front. I got my first lecture from my dad when I turned 8. "Don't sit on any men's laps. Ever."

The main educational speech about sex was on the eve of getting my first cycle. Gosh...it was a long 2 hr talk, with both parents involved.

I don't know why parents are so afraid or reluctant to broach important topics like this with their kids. Perhaps if they did we would have less incidences of all the child related sexual news we are hearing today.

I have to admit, I find the articles about "OMG, now we have to talk to our child about sex!" really odd. I mean, seriously? Plus, it's just a vaccination - if you don't want to talk about sex yet, just don't, what's the issue?

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