What you don’t know can kill you

Many thanks to Mrs. Y for taking over while I was gone. The conference where I was presenting last week was interesting and engaging. I, of course, went to all of the presentations on sex education. More on that later.

Today I want to tell you about my presentation. I gave an overview of my four-session parent class on adolescent sexuality. I was delighted to find my room completely full – we had to turn people away. But I was surprised to see the number of students who attended my session. I had assumed – clearly incorrectly – that the people who would be most interested in my presentation would be older, established professionals who teach sex ed themselves. There were, of course, a fair number of those sprinkled in. But most of the room was full of 18 – 22 year olds.

Here’s a general overview of what I talked about: Why parents need classes on how to provide effective sex education for their children and teenagers, and a relatively in-depth description of what I present, along with parent reactions from past classes. Throughout my presentation I provided examples of essential pieces of information that I tell parents to pass on to their teenagers, because most teenagers are lacking them. (For example: explicit instructions on how to use a condom, that the pull out method doesn’t work for pregnancy or STD prevention because precum can start to leak out of a penis as soon as it is erect and it includes semen, etc.)

What startled me – although I shouldn’t have been surprised – was the number of college students who talked to me after my presentation, saying that they had received more sex education, and seen an adult (i.e., me) talk more candidly and honestly about sexuality in the last hour than they had ever before.

What a sad state of affairs – that our college students don’t know basic safety and physiology facts that have the potential to save their lives.

About Karen Rayne

Dr. Karen Rayne has been supporting parents and families since 2007 when she received her PhD in Educational Psychology. A specialist in child wellbeing, Dr. Rayne has spent much of her career supporting parents, teachers, and other adults who care for children and teenagers.