Any teen in high school knows that some guys and girls decide to have certain sexual experiences, while others just don’t. What’s strange is that adults who once went to high school too can’t seem to wrap their head around the simple common sense fact that teenagers have sex.
Every other day there’s a new study trying to figure out where it all begins. At what age, at what exact moment in a girl’s life does she decide to give her first hand job or have her first kiss? The real answer is that everyone has these urges, experiences and becomes emotionally ready at very different points in their life.
The problem with this kind of thinking, with trying to determine an exact age or time, is that it totally defeats the purpose. Parents want to know how long they can put off talking to their kids about sex or providing them with birth control before they have to accept the fact that you’re not mommy and daddy’s little girl anymore. There’s this horrible notion that discussing sex with teens will make them want to have sex or be more likely to have sex. The fact of the matter is that almost anyone who has a human body is a sexual being and will become sexually curious. If we wait too long to educate each other about sex, mistakes are bound to happen.
When should sex education start? Before you can even have sex. If sex wasn’t such a big deal, if it didn’t feel so loaded, if it wasn’t so taboo–there would be a lot less pressure to have it (or have it irresponsibly). Like many of us do, we wouldn’t be sitting around wondering, “I’m ____ years old, is it OK that I haven’t had ____ sexual experience yet?” Having open, honest, and informative sexual discussions will make sex feel less like a big, scary, mysterious thing.
Places like The Netherlands which have the lowest teen pregnancy and abortion rates are successful because they teach kids to think of their sexuality as normal, but also as something that requires a level of personal responsibility. Sex education in The Netherlands begins when you’re as young as five years old, in and outside of school. The lesson is never don’t have sex, so much as it is, you’re going to eventually have sex, here is what you need to know.
People of all ages deserve to have information about their bodies, how they work, and what sex is because we’re all going to do it at some point.
Here’s a look at sex education in one Dutch elementary school class.
Do you think sex education should start earlier for teens? Let us know in the comments.