Why Learning About Sexual Health Matters
Health class. The clock ticks mockingly in the corner of the room, separating us from our precious after school freedom. As a high school student, I understand the struggle of trying to tune into a lecture with seemingly no real-world value. However, if you’re a high school student as well, you should understand why learning about sexual health matters; 30% of teen girls cite pregnancy or parenthood as a key reason for dropping out of high school, and about half of high schoolers in America have their first sexual experience before graduation.
The need for sexual education is extremely important. Whether it’s for your or for a friend you never know when you could need it most. Here are a couple of things you should know about educating yourself:
Although it may seem daunting, there are easy ways to learn more. Sexual health can seem like an overwhelming topic to discuss, let alone research, but a simple place you can start is with learning about the different types of birth control. There are three major categories of birth control, which can be classified as barrier, medication, or “traditional” methods. Everyone’s experience is different; what birth control people decide to use now could change in the future. Finding the method that works for you currently is what’s most important.
The best way to inform yourself is by asking questions to trusted adults around you. You can further improve your understanding by having a simple conversation with someone who has had real life experiences and is open to talking about them. While it may seem awkward or intimidating to reach out, you should remember that your parents, teachers, and coaches were once teenagers too—they’ll be happy that you’re willing to have a mature, adult conversation with them. If you need ideas on questions to ask, click here.
Understand What Consent Looks Like
In high school, there’s a lot of peer pressure to have sex and be physically intimate with someone. However, it is important to understand and respect other people’s desires. Consent and open communication play a huge part in healthy relationships, and should always be understood no matter what. Talking to your partner about your boundaries before you get physical is a great way to ensure that both of you have a good time.
October is Power to Decide’s “Let’s Talk” Month, a month dedicated to having open conversations about sexual health and relationships. Although we are still young, sex is a very relevant and real topic in every day life. Don’t be afraid to educate yourself: you never know how much of a difference you can make in someone else’s life as well as your own by learning more.
Anna Labarca is a senior at Walt Whitman High School in Maryland. She writes for the student newspaper, The Black and White. She plans to study journalism in college and ins interning at Power to Decide to learn more about the role communications has in campaigns.