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Despite popular belief, Sex Ed entails a lot more than P in V techniques. If you didn’t know that, then you probably need to be one of the first people to sign up for a class…honestly.
One of the most common misconceptions about sexual education is that children can be taught everything they need to know by their parents, or figure it all out on their own. Honestly, that’s like handing a child a formula for quantum theory, and expecting them to understand it. That’s just not realistic.
The truth is: Sexual Education doesn’t simply teach you what sex is, it teaches you how to control your sexual urges, the consequences of various sexual actions, how to stay safe from sexually transmitted diseases, how to prevent unplanned pregnancies, how to understand your own post-pubescent body, and how to understand the function of the post-pubescent body of the opposite sex.
For example: See is you can answer these 5 basic-knowledge-based questions.
1. Name 3 major rules to using condoms properly.
2. What does a healthy penis/vagina look like, and what are some warning signs of an issue?
3. How long should a woman take BC pills before having otherwise unprotected sex to avoid pregnancy?
4. What is the difference between HIV and AIDS?
5. Does abstinence protect you from sexually transmitted diseases?
If you’re curious…here are the correct answers.
1. Abide by the expiration date, do not wear two or more condoms at once, do not store condoms in a place where ripping or corrosion might occur (ex. In a wallet, purse, etc.).
2. Bumps and lumps don’t always allude to danger. In fact, many men have a rind of bumps around the crown of the penis – this is completely natural. However, if you find warts…beware, because that could be a sign of HIV. Women, discharge is 100% normal, and will change in color, consistency, and scent over the course of your menstrual cycle, but foul-smelling, cheesy, or yellow/brown/red discharge is almost always a red flag that something is wrong, or at least out of balance. Dry, scaly skin isn’t good. Rashes and skin abrasions aren’t good, either. Genitals come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, just like the people connected to them do, but it’s good to know what the warning size of disease are, so you can keep yourself better protected.
3. Wait at least two days after taking your first pill to start having otherwise unprotected sex with your partner.
4. AIDS is a condition or syndrome that stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. HIV is a virus that may turn into AIDS once the virus has damaged the immune system deeply enough. However, people can live for years with HIV without ever developing AIDS. However, both share the HIV virus. So, while you can have HIV without AIDS, you can’t have AIDS without HIV.
5. Abstinence puts you at a much lower risk for STD’s, but it doesn’t necessarily protect you. Virgins can obtain various STD’s by sharing needles, touching infected surfaces in bathrooms, etc.
I’ve had a conversation about the need to improve sexual education in the United States, and the other person said “Even my 5-year-old knows where babies come from! Need sex education in the U.S.? Please. That’s a sorry excuse for unplanned pregnancy.” However, as we just saw, sexual education is about much more than “where babies come from”, and there are still people walking around, every day, wondering “how did I get pregnant?”. Common myths like having sex in water will prevent pregnancy, you can’t get pregnant if you have sex standing up, and condoms are always effective, lead to young people, and maybe even older people, carrying around children that they didn’t want…or expect. I don’t even have to type the 5-page paper about what type of problems that causes in our society, you know how the rest of the story goes.
To prove my point, I just had a conversation with my mother and grandmother, in which I taught both of them the proper way to use a condom, and the proper way to wash your vagina. These women have lived 50 and 68 years of their lives, respectively, without knowing how to use a condom properly, and without understanding the dangers of cleaning your vagina with harsh chemicals and perfumes found in various washes. They weren’t aware that using water-based or oil-based lubricant makes all the difference when using a condom, if you want the protection to actually protect you. They hadn’t thought about the rubber being worn down by being stored in a wallet. Neither of them knew that condoms had an expiration date.
So, how did I know? I’ve been lucky enough to attend a private online honors high school, provided through Penn Foster University. I was offered a class that briefly covered the basics of sexual education. There were two exams on the subject. Not one questioned asked me where babies come from. Yes, it is the parent’s job to teach that to their children, but it’s becoming more and more obvious that we can’t rely on parents to teach their children the entirety of proper sexual education.
The problem is, sexual education isn’t mandatory in the United States…and where it is mandatory, it may not be required to be medically accurate, or it may not teach more than abstinence, which we all now know isn’t guaranteed to protect you. In fact, 37 states currently allow inaccurate information to be taught in sex education classes. Also, only 18 out of 50 states require contraception to be taught alongside sexual education. Now, it isn’t difficult to see why the United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate of any other developed country, is it? To top it all off, if someone in Texas, Alabama, or South Carolina receives information on same-sex relationships in their Sex Ed class, they can only receive negative information that discourages homosexuality.
Basically, we’re failing our up-and-coming generation.
If you feel the need to sex-educate yourself after reading this article, click here.
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"Where does your daughter want to study?"
"Oh, she's looking into universities in Ireland."
"Well... That's a tall order, isn't it?"
I wasn't sure how to react when my mother described this little encounter to me. I was completely taken-aback. Defensive, shocked, apprehensive; every emotion coursed through me in a matter of minutes. My mother took the liberty of reassuring me that my aspirations were not unreasonable, and concluded her story with the fact that she defended my decision and the woman had nothing else to say on the matter. Honestly, I'm not bothered in the least by this woman's opinion in itself, but the underlying circumstances attached to such a statement.
First of all, why is a study abroad program considered to be a "tall order"? There are less scholarship opportunities, I will admit, but there are still options nonetheless. In fact, with the inflation of college tuition prices within the United States, some students might discover it cheaper to study overseas. Travel may be something that is never "simple" per say, but it is certainly not unattainable. Airplanes are the safest method of travel, and they take passengers over the ocean every single day. I could arrive at my destination within hours, not days as if I were sailing on a ship. Plus, there are universities all over the world that consider themselves to be "international" accepting individuals of every race and nationality.
Now, on to my next concern. I hate to sound like a bra-burning feminist when I say this, but was this considered a "tall order" not for money or travel reasons, but because I am female? I mainly mention this because I have just finished writing a speech that will be used to discuss women in politics for Women's History Month, but it is a valid concern regardless. When it has been scientifically proven that females tend to receive higher grades than their male counterparts, and women are working in various industries that used to be reserved solely for men now more than ever, I would like to say that I am severely disappointed in this individual that I don't even know, should this have been her reasoning.
I have written a blog post on it before, and I'm sure you could locate it with ease just by scrolling for a bit or using the "university" tag, but I do want to restate the facts on studying abroad. It is NOT impractical. It is NOT too expensive. It is NOT too difficult to apply for. It is NOT impossible to be accepted into. It is NOT a bad decision for your career. In fact, it DOES show that you have experience with multiple culture; a huge advantage when listed as a skill on your resume. It WILL set you up to have a better understanding of the world. It WILL be more fun and exciting than the community college down the road. It WILL allow you to meet new people and asses your understanding of how to be a responsible adult. It IS a great opportunity for any university-age student.
It is NOT a tall order. It is an aspiration. It is a choice.
Besides, I've heard it said more than once: If your dreams don't scare you, they aren't big enough.
Welcome! I know many of you may be familiar with the blog that we previously run on www.sierrawoodcock.com. You see, the problem was, the blog wasn't updated very frequently, and we noticed that it became a bit more of a spam page than a blog. With the new year, we decided to step up our blogging game, as well as redesign the entire website! (Just in case you hadn't already noticed.)
This blog is going to be like taking a glimpse inside of my mind when you read it, filtered of course, and a bit more organized than my Tumblr blogs. There will be posts about literature and writing obviously, there will be contests, opinion pieces, and television reviews. Pretty much anything you are looking for can be found here.
Like I said in the bio, you are encouraged to participate in blog conversations, start conversations, and share on social media, but please be polite. There is enough negativity in the world without you creating even more of it. Everyone is welcome here.
I hope you all enjoy the updates to come on our blog!