Most middle school students are not yet sexually active. Many of them are not even on the skinny end of the sexually active bell curve (that is, they don’t have boyfriends or girlfriends yet, they haven’t had a first kiss, they might not have even started their periods or had their first orgasm yet). So many parents ask me, “Why start comprehensive sex education now?”
Between busy school, home, and extra-curricular schedules, sex education is something that many parents find easy to put off until later – until it is a more pressing issue.
And while a fully comprehensive sexuality education obviously starts long before puberty, addressing issues like relationships and body parts and body image, there are many specific pieces of comprehensive sexuality education that the majority of young people are best suited to the middle school years.
Most middle school students are not yet sexually active. I know I already said that, but it’s really important. Most of the middle school students in my classes are open to conversation – and perspectives that may differ from their own – on many topics. My co-teacher and I are able to broaden their perspectives through thoughtful, age-appropriate activities and discussions in really amazing ways. When I have students in my classes who are more sexually active, they are just not as open to thoughtful discussions because the outcomes of these discussion hold meaning for their own understanding of themselves and their identity.
It is simply far better for young people to discuss sexuality with breadth and in-depth for the first time as a theoretical topic that does not hold bearing on their own sexuality rather than as an emerging sexually active individual who now has a whole new raft of conversations and thoughts with which to evaluate their past decisions and therefore their own identity.