Sex ed matters to me because education over stigma

Help Pass the Healthy Youth Act!

Ed. note: this post was originally published on the Community site.

In just minutes the Massachusetts Senate will take up Senate Bill 2048, also known as the Healthy Youth Act. The Healthy Youth Act would require schools offering sexual health education in Massachusetts to teach medically accurate, age-appropriate information. Currently, schools are not required to follow a statewide standard for sexual health curricula.

While organizing to build support for this bill at Wheaton College, many people approached us and shared stories of their sexual health education. The stories ranged from used-lollipop horror stories (the metaphor being that after you’ve had sex no one will want you) to a one hour lesson in the entire four years of high school.

Students arrive to college with vastly different knowledge levels of sexual health. This means that some students are very comfortable talking about sex, and know how to use birth control, while others experience discomfort when these topics are brought up. Access to medically accurate non-stigmatizing sexual health education would create healthier college communities. Implicit in any good sexual health curricula are honest discussions about sex and bodies. When we are made to feel ashamed of our bodies and what we do with them, it is hard to speak out and demand healthy communities. Comprehensive sexual health education would also help us change the conversation about reproductive experiences away from one of stigma and shame to one of compassion and understanding.

If passed, the Healthy Youth Act could be a great shift from the often defensive nature of the sexual and reproductive health movement. Instead of fighting bad laws, we would have a victory to celebrate. We could have a whole class of first year students who had received accurate sexual health education who could begin building healthy communities with their knowledge. And of course, the benefits would be felt far beyond college campuses. Standardizing the sexual health curriculum across the state would build healthier high schools, and would be a huge public health gain. Most importantly, people would be getting the factual sexual health education that everyone deserves.

If you are a Massachusetts constituent, contact your representative now! Find your legislator at It’s important your legislators know students care about comprehensive, medically accurate sexual health education and are willing to fight for it.

Alex is a development intern at Feministing.

Alex is a development intern at Feministing.

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