The Wednesday Weigh-In: How can we give young people better sex education?

This morning the Guardian hosted a kick-ass live panel discussion with technical experts, advocates, teachers, writers, and more (see details below) to talk about one thing: how can we give young people better sex education?

This is a topic that comes up all the time on the blog because it is SO connected to, well, everything we write about. Reproductive health, fighting sexual assault, building consent culture, battling gender essentialism and more can all be traced to one thing: comprehensive, age appropriate, positively framed sexuality education!  That’s why we spend so much time shouting from the rooftops about sex ed:  defining what good sex education actually looks like and how to transform current programs into even more useful and sex positive versions of themselves so we can then make infographics about them and demand them for a stronger future and praise decisions to bring them to schools.

The Guardian conversation used an excellent article by Doortje Braeken, senior adviser on adolescents and young people at the International Planned Parenthood Federation, as a starting off point. “To work in sexual and reproductive health and rights is to be drip-fed a diet of warnings, doom-laden data on violence, population and epidemics; no wonder we have forgotten a central truth about sex – namely that it is pleasurable,” she writes. She joined the following people in a truly important dialogue about how we can revitalize a movement for a truly comprehensive approach.

Chelsea Ricker is a youth officer at IPPF
Jane Lees is chair of the Sex Education Forum
Alice Hoyle is an experienced SRE professional and member of PSHE Association’s advisory council
Tom Sherrington is headteacher at King Edward VI Grammar School in Chelmsford
Emma Rubach is head of editorial at YouthNet
Anne Philpott is the founder of the Pleasure Project
Alice Sholl is a student at the University of Liverpool and writes about sex education
Jennifer Hill is an education and training professional for Brook East Of England

I’d like to extend the conversation and keep it going here for today’s Wednesday weigh-in:

What were some of the first messages and lessons you received about sex? How do you wish they were different? What can we do know to bring the next generation of young people a better, more comprehensive sexuality education?

Brooklyn, NY

Lori Adelman is a writer and advocate focusing on race, gender, and sexual and reproductive rights. In addition to her work at Feministing, Lori is an Associate Director at Planned Parenthood Global. Lori has previously worked at the United Nations Foundation, the International Women’s Health Coalition, and Human Rights Watch, and has written for a host of print and digital properties including Rookie Magazine, The Grio, and the New York Times Magazine. She regularly appears on radio and television, and has spoken at college campuses across the U.S. about topics like the politics of black hair, transnational movement building, and the undercover feminism of Nicki Minaj. In 2014, she was named to The Root 100 list of the nation's most influential African Americans, and to the Forbes Magazine list of the "30 Under 30" successful people in media.

Lori Adelman is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Partnerships.

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