“Why do you do this?”

I teach sexuality education because I have been called to do so.  In the same way that a minister is called to minister spiritually to those in pain and in rapture, I have been called to educate our country’s youth about their bodies and how to be respectful of their own bodies and other people’s bodies.  This is my path.

How I got here is a complicated story of twists and turns, but it originated in acknowledging the lack of respect I saw in most of the adult population towards teenagers.  I felt that disrespect as a teenager, and I continue to see it today.

It took me about ten years of looking for where and how I could best make an impact on this situation, and then a friend asked me to catch her daughter up-to-speed on sexuality.  The young girl had started having sex, with minimal knowledge, and had made some potentially bad decisions.  There were no long-lasting, negative physical or emotional repercussions for the young girl, but I suddenly saw my path.

Here is my statement of belief that underlies everything I do as a sexuality educator:

I believe that…
…parents have to talk to their kids about sex.

I believe that…
…everyone has sex, and should therefore know about sex.

I believe that…
…sex is not all bad, even for teenagers.

You can read an extensive elaboration of each of those points here.  And if you disagree with what I’ve said, or find yourself reacting strongly to it, I really, deeply encourage you to read more.  You might be surprised.

There are too many adults who continue to disrespect our youth by suggesting they are incapable or unready for mature conversations about the nuances of sexuality, even as they are beginning to investigate the very real sexual activities themselves.  Everything I do is within the guidelines of SEICUS and in close conjunction with the sexuality education programs used by the UU and UCC churches.  I am working to become a certified sexuality educator.  I am good at guiding young people through this information, and improving their knowledge and skills in navigating the sexuality jungle.

But regardless of any of that, I have been called to this work.  Our youth, tomorrow’s adults, demand it of me.

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.