So, what is sexuality?
Sexuality is more than body parts and sex. It includes our gender identity (female, male, both, neither, or somewhere in between), our gender role (how we behave because of our gender identity) and our sexual orientation (heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual, or other identities).
Sexuality includes how we feel about our bodies (our “body image”). It includes our sexual experiences, thoughts, ideas, and fantasies.
Our sexuality is shaped by the media, family, friends, religion, age, life goals, and our self-esteem. It’s how we experience intimacy, touch, love, compassion, joy, sorrow, and a whole other range of emotions. In other words, sexuality is the total of who you are, what you believe, and how you feel and respond.
And why is sex ed (hugely) important?
One of my core offerings is The Askable Adult— a workshop for parents, grandparents & other caregivers to prepare for “the talks”. The curriculum originated with Options for Sexual Health, who give this explanation about why sex education is important:
- Everyone has a right to know about and understand the workings of their own body.
- Sexuality can be confusing and adolescent can be even more confusing.
- Many children don’t have an opportunity to learn about sexuality in healthy ways.
- Sex and sexuality are a part of healthy relationships.
- Research shows that facts don’t make people “promiscuous”, “exploitive”, or “deviant”. They equip people with skills to make healthy choices and stay safe.
- Sexuality is part of life. In current pop culture, sexuality is prominent and children need to have trustworthy adults to help them make sense of it all.
See, as adults, we model sexuality to children, whether we mean to or not.
We are constantly watched by children, who pick up a lot from our behaviours and what we say. Imagine then, if we could normalize, validate, and clarify their questions. If we could answer honestly and keep checking in.
At the heart of what I do is this seed for thought:
When children learn to communicate about sensitive issues with the people closest to them, you are teaching transferable skills that will benefit their relationships. Learning meaningful communication skills, self-advocacy, and values supports children to foster both health and safety in future relationships.
Doesn’t that sound like something you’d like to be a part of?