To answer this question, I feel that I must state that I am not a parent, but I am an Aunt to my nephew. I’m very close to him and I’ve played a large part in his life thus far, and he is 7 1/2 years old. With that being said, I have evolved certain beliefs that I have had and they continue to change and grow over time. In regards to sexual education, and not just anatomy based sex ed, I feel is extremely important to our youth and young adults. Growing up, I remember getting the traditional “change of life” educational lecture when I was in 5th grade in 2001. As girls we learned about our periods and how to care for ourselves. For the boys, I believe they learned a bit more about the sexual side of things involving their anatomy. From what I’ve heard from friends…they were told about how as they are getting older and hormones are being released in larger doses in their bodies, they will have increased body hair, including on their genitals. They will start getting erections randomly and more so in the morning when waking up. They were told, in a very mild and generalized statement, that it’s a form of arousal and that it was their bodies response to it and that it’s a completely normal and healthy matter of life. The girls were told about, or hinted at might be a better choice of words, that women have babies and they grow in our uterus and that’s about it. An actual class that detailed sexual education that didn’t just speak on anatomy, but also the birds and the bees as well if you will, didn’t come until I was around 14 in the 8th grade.
I feel that with what little we did learn about sexuality at that age, I was able to form a better opinion on how I felt about sex. Of course, with some education however, there will always be those who wish to experiment with said education and at least at that point, they are more aware of what they are doing, how this affects their bodies and furthermore, what is it they are experiencing. Sexual education for teens and even younger, personally I would say shortly after having the ‘changing bodies’ talk, would and has shown to be quite beneficial for the youth. In the documentary shown in class “Let’s Talk About Sex”, young persons in the Netherlands were educated on sexuality at a much younger age than what the United States is currently educating at. Statistically speaking, that country’s incidences of STI/STD transmissions and pregnancies are much lower than what we have here. Those youth are being properly and fully educated on sexuality, communication, relationships, and what our bodies can do, etc. By doing this, I feel will better the lives of those being educated. They might not get pregnant at such an early age, dismissing school because a child now takes precedence. They might be able to handle hardships easier within relations in their present and future just by understanding that communication plays a vital role in relationships, especially intimate ones.
2. By definition, communication is the transfer of information from one place to another. In relationships, communication allows to you explain to someone else what you are experiencing and what your needs are. The act of communicating not only helps to meet your needs, but it also helps you to be connected in your relationship. Good communication is an important part of all relationships and is an essential part of any healthy partnership. According to our text, “Communication is the thread that connects sexuality and intimacy. The quality of the communication affects the quality of the relationship, and the quality of the relationship affects the quality of the sex. Good relationships tend to feature good sex; bad relationships often feature bad sex. Sexuality, in fact, frequently serves as a barometer for the quality of the relationship. The ability to communicate about sex is important in developing and maintaining both sexual and relationship satisfaction. People who are satisfied with their sexual communication also tend to be satisfied with their relationships as a whole. Effective communication skills do not necessarily appear when a person falls in love; they can, however, be learned with practice.”
Communicationis a transactional process by which we use symbols, such as words, gestures, and movements, to establish human contact, exchange information, and reinforce or change our own attitudes and behaviors and those of others. Communication takes place simultaneously within cultural, social, and psychological contexts. These contexts affect our ability to communicate clearly by prescribing rules (usually unwritten or unconscious) for communicating about various subjects, including sexuality.
Good communication is pretty simple in theory, but at times obviously hard to do. “The process of articulating our feelings about sex can be very difficult, for several reasons. First, we rarely have models for talking openly and honestly about sexuality. As children and adolescents, we probably never discussed sex with our parents, let alone heard them talking about sex. Second, talking about sexual matters defines us as being interested in sex, and interest in sex is often identified with being sexually obsessive, immoral, prurient, or “bad.” If the topic of sex is tabooed, we further risk being labeled “bad.” Third, we may believe that talking about sex will threaten our relationships. We don’t talk about tabooed sexual feelings, fantasies, or desires because we fear that our partners may be repelled or disgusted. We also are reluctant to discuss sexual difficulties or problems because doing so may bring attention to our own role in them.”
Being aware of the skills and using them are two separate pallets. In assistance, there are three keys to good communication: self-disclosure, trust, and feedback. “Self-disclosure creates the environment for mutual understanding.” In laymen’s terms, this means, 100% transparency.
Through this process, “we not only reveal ourselves to others but also find out who we are. We discover feelings we have hidden, repressed, or ignored. We nurture forgotten aspects of ourselves by bringing them to the surface. Moreover, self-disclosure is reciprocal. If we self-disclose, we expect our partner to self-disclose as well. As we self-disclose, we build trust; as we withhold self-disclosure, we erode trust; a word frequently mentioned within conversation about relationships. Trust, by definition is a belief in the reliability and integrity of a person by definition. This notion is critical in any relationship for two reasons. First, self-disclosure requires trust because it makes us vulnerable. Second, the degree to which we trust a person influences how we interpret ambiguous or unexpected messages from the other party. The finial element in communication is feedback. Feedback is the ongoing process of restating, checking the accuracy of, questioning, and clarifying messages. Feedback begins with active listening and constructive feedback. Of all the ways “loop” partners respond, constructive feedback is the response that will receive the most positive feedback and encourage a zeal response.