What is Sex Ed.?
Sexual Education or Sex Ed. is taught in primary and high schools. It is where teachers speak with students about sexual health in an appropriate way depending on their age.
Younger children learn about naming body parts, when it is ok to wear a little amount of clothing (at the beach) and when it is not ok (at the shopping centre or walking down the street), talking to parents about any issues they might be having, etc.
Older primary school children learn about what is approriate to say and what is not (swearing, name calling, etc.), not to peak at others in the change rooms, how to manage periods, how to treat others respectfully and without judgement (eg. talking about gender and sexuality), etc.
In high school, students begin to talk about sexual health in more depth. Teachers start to talk about human biology more, discussing Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), hormones and developing sex organs, fertilisation and fetal development, etc. They also talk about contraception and ways students can have safe sex (using condoms, taking the contraceptive pill or having an implant etc.). They also talk about relationships and what is healthy and unhealthy. Teachers might also talk about how society thinks about sex (in movies, film clips, magazines etc.) and body image pressures for boys and girls.
These topics are all related to Sex Ed. and will be covered in your school.
If you have a specific question for your Sex. Ed. teacher, and they did not cover it in class, you can always stay back and ask them after class. You can also find information online, from your parents or from your friends. But remember, even though your friends might tell you something, it doesn't mean that it is always right. It's best to double check with an adult or search on the web for more info.
What are your 'private parts' and what are their correct names?
Your private parts are areas on your body that should not be touched by anyone but yourself, unless you give permission for others to touch them (however there are laws in Western Australia that say minors cannot have sex with each other, and adults can not have sex with minors, even if they give permission. You can not give consent (permission) for sex if you are a minor). You should be able to name what the parts of your body are. Look on pages 12 & 13 of this handbook for the female anatomical names and diagrams and on page 14 for the male anatomical names and diagram. Find the free handbook HERE.
Are there any websites where I can find out more about sex education?
Absolutely! Look at the list of websites below that might answer your questions about sex and help you understand a little more about what makes for a healthy relationship and how you can keep yourself safe.
What do students think about getting Sex Ed. in high school (all quotes from Mitchell et. al, 2013)?
"It was done through more of a biological lens and taught us about STI prevention and anatomy but did not include many topics that are very important, such as communication with partners, different relationship dynamics or unusual circumstances, actually getting pleasure from sex etc”
“It was useless. It only talked about STI’s, not about consent etc”
“My school didn’t talk about safe sex for LBGTIQ people, and as a result I know a few same sex attracted girls are under the impression that they don’t have to worry about getting STIs from having sex with other girls”.
“It’s very brief and it was done pretty awkwardly, they don’t go into detail about the logistics of the sexual acts”
You should never do anything you dont want to do. Always trust your instincts. If you ever feel pressured into something or feel like you will disappoint someone by not doing something, remember that you need to do what is right by you.
Tell a friend or adult you trust if you are feeling uncomfortable about something, or call the services in the community that are there to help.