When it comes to discussing sex with younger ones, it's easy to procrastinate, because... ew, who wants to talk about the naked exchange of bodily fluids to kids? Exactly. However, due to the growing sensationalism on television, in the media and in general conversation, young people will come across the uncomfortable subject with or without your introduction.
Now, while it might not be up there with Frozen, mathematics and minions (that's what they're into, right?), children/teenagers are exploring their sexualities and a lot of them are not at all informed of the gravity of the act. While it's important not to make it out to be the be-all and end-all, the repercussions of sex should not be underestimated. The hormonal, psychological and physical components of sex can be damaging to children. A lot of children are manipulated into sexual acts as a form of acting "grown-up", this potentially leads them to form violating, dependent and traumatising bonds with predatory adults that require the sexual domination of children for validation. The psychological, physical and neurological demands of hormonal contraception are also heavily underestimated. Such chemicals put into the bodies of young people can influence the development of their personality and mental health status. When making adult decisions at young ages, adults should be available to guide and discuss options with. Unfortunately, due to the shame and stigma around the act, many children/teenagers seek advice from their fellow, clueless peers.
The shame of sex facilitates predators and rapists, they are aware that the act is not easy to talk about so they exploit that feature and use it to maintain confidentiality between themselves and victims. Talking about people as "damaged" and "used up" after some form of sexual act, keeps violated people quiet, due to shame, so violators flourish.
As human beings, we're subject to sexual feelings and repressing these feelings can be damaging to one's mental health (it is linked to stress and anxiety - contributors to depression). It is important to acknowledge the normality in feeling sexual and understanding and informing young people that it is perfectly natural. It is important that we build communities where we stop living under the pretense that sex should not exist. History shows that the repression of sexuality contributes to perversions, not morality.
Discussing subject matters such as consent and the LGBTQ community reduces chances of rape, sexual harassment, discrimination and increases one's understanding of the world that we live in. A lot of people commit sexual violations without even knowing or understanding the impact, simply because they do not understand a concept as fundamental as consent - there are needlessly many victims that deal with trauma and silence themselves because they are unclear about their "right" to feel violated. The LGBTQ community is heavily discriminated against in today's world. Misinformation and general ignorance about the LGBTQ community spreads hate and is used to justify oppression, harassment and violence, by exposing children and educating them about diversity in sexualities/genders, you create a safer environment for future generations.
Religion is also a powerful repressing force of sexuality, alternative conversations to the norm are generally shut down. Shutting these conversations down does not stop "undesirable" scenarios from happening, it just means that they are rarely faced or confronted and those that express their sexualities differently to the rules are shunned. Healthy information is normally interpreted as a means of encouragement to deviate from the standard, but ultimately the decision is down to the individual, starving them of information is not an act of deterrence or persuasion.
Being open about sex among young people and giving them a well-rounded education on the subject matter has been proven to reduce incidences of unwanted pregnancies, STIs and an increased understanding of consent and sexual violations, the lack of shame attached to sex also means that more people will open up about violations and violators will be deterred. Creating an atmosphere of openness and acceptance is an important step in combating negativity, it is a form of protection, education and nurture.
You can anonymously discuss more ask further questions here.
You can view the results of more of our polls on this subject matter on our twitter page here.
Read our earlier post about STIs in the black community: Love-bugged?
To stay updated and join in the conversation, subscribe and follow @LafiyaHealth on twitter, facebook and instagram!