I’ve been spending some of my spare time volunteering for the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, working on helping them update some of the resources they have for teens in Illinois on sexual health and education. Its a really great cause and in the short time I’ve been helping out I’ve learned a TON! Its amazing how many programs there are out there that are sex positive and great for teens and young adults to check out for info on sexual health, dating advice, gender identity, LGBTQ issues, teen pregnancy and STD’s and safe sex.
I’ve done a post before on getting comfortable with teaching your kids about sex and some suggestions on how to approach it. As I think I posted before, my mom did a really great job with me and my sisters. We all made different choices too, but we were given the ability to have choices which is what I think is SUPER important.
Reality is Teens are going to have sex. There’s no pretending they aren’t, even if its not sexual intercourse they’re doing other things; as adults our definition of sex may be completely different than a teenager. So its important to talk about being safe, protected and cautious when it comes to sexual activity. The first thing my mom told me when I got old enough to be interested in boys (even though I was so painfully shy I would have never talked to a boy unless I knew them as a little kid; even then I would turn 50 shades of red!): “I know your eventually going to have sex, when you are ready, just tell me and we will get you on the pill. ” I believe she also added in there that was no way in hell she was taking care of a baby while I was at school. Thats exactly what I did too. I remember the exact day too, I was a little later than most, 19 years old, sophomore in college; standing in the community room at my dorm I called my mom and told her I wanted to go on the pill. All she said was ok, schedule the appt and I’ll help you pay for it. That was it. I wasn’t embarrassed, nervous or anything. I knew I could rely on my mom to trust me to make the right choice and be smart. And I was!
When I was a teen, I would have never thought to look up the kind of resources that the ICAH provides teen. To me, it seems so much more complicated for teens now (or maybe it was just where I grew up). Its a battle to get them the right education, access to contraception, the right information and trusting them to make educated decisions. I think a lot of times we don’t give teens enough credit to make smart choices. Give them the resources, tell them the options and let them decide. Bad decisions can make for shitty concequences but if they have the option to make a choice maybe they will choose to be good decision makers, and not just about sex.
If your interested in giving a teen some really valuable information on sex, stds, contraception, LGBTQ conversations or anything related to gender and sexual health I definitely encourage you to check out the ICAH or see if your state has a similar program. There needs to be more programs out there teaching teens to make good educated decisions.
One of my goals in life is to work in sex education. I’m super passionate about educating teens on sexual health but specifically girls. I think sometimes theres this mentality that sex is for men (its getting better though…Right on ladies!) But I want to change that! I want girls to feel empowered about their sexual health, their decisions and their sex lives! I’ve always been that girl has kept a stash of condoms in her nightstand drawer, not because I’m getting laid all the time, but because its MY responsibility to protect MYSELF. In the heat of the moment, I don’t want to rely on someone else, they only one I know is reliable is ME!