The Impact of Education Systems on Sexual Culture
The education system that children grow up in has an incredibly large impact on their sexual culture, especially where adolescents are concerned. This is particularly true for young people who may have grown up with a lack of access to sexual education or who may have received stereotypes about their own gender.
Access to Sexual Education
Access to education about sexual health and healthy relationships is vital for young people, no matter their gender or sexual orientation. Coursework on this topic should teach students the basics of consent, sexual health and anatomy, as well as educate them on the different types of contraception and help them understand how to identify healthy relationships.
Though there has been a lot of progress in recent years, there is still a lack of education concerning topics such as LGBTQIA+ identities and relationships, sex work, and non-monogamous relationships. This lack of information not only contributes to knowledge gaps, but further entrenches existing stigmas and negative stereotypes.
Most traditional education systems encourage gender-based stereotypes, often implicitly. These stereotypes dictate how men and women should behave, dress and interact with one-another. This can lead to a culture where heterosexuality is seen as the norm and certain types of sexual behavior are seen as solely belonging to one gender or another.
Not only does this create higher barriers for people who may identify as belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community, but it also imposes limits on how heterosexual people can act and talk about their sexuality within society.
How We Can Change the System
In order to create a more inclusive and progressive society, we must open our education systems up to proper sex education that is relevant and applicable to all genders, sexual orientations and relationship types. We must also work to make sure that our students are not exposed to gender-based stereotypes as well as any other forms of discrimination.
Here’s what we can do to progress our education systems and eliminate any outdated concepts about gender and sexuality:
- Provide comprehensive sex education that is based on science and evidence
- Educate students on LGBTQIA+ topics and relationships
- Encourage everyone to view gender and sexuality as complex and diverse
- End the ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ mentality
- Dismantle gender norms and gender-based stereotypes
- Discuss healthy communication and relationships
- Provide open forums where students can ask questions
By implementing these changes, we can start to create a more understanding and respectful society where all genders and sexual orientations are recognized and accepted.