PLEASURE IS HEALTHY
Youth evolve sex education
Only 18 states require sex education to be medically accurate, meaning less than half of U.S. youth receive scientifically-backed sex ed. Despite decades-long research indicating quality curriculum around these topics provides long-term benefits for youth both physically and mentally, this kind of education continues to be lacking in American schools. Today, we’re looking at where sex ed is heading as youth redefine and evolve the look and feel of sexual health.
ADVOCATES FOR YOUTH
Advocates for Youth is an organization that works with young people to ensure all young people have the tools to protect themselves from “STIs, HIV, and unintended pregnancies.” They’re even going one step further as they push for comprehensive sex education that includes curriculum around sexual pleasure. Brittany McBride, associate director of sexual education, says young people are no longer adhering to long-held ideas around sex and purity as they seek out education around pleasure, autonomy, and consent. Instead of letting adults – who, the organization argues, are often uncomfortable even discussing sex – lead the sex ed discussion, McBride says youth should lead as we evolve conversations around sexual health.
AMAZE, an initiative between the aforementioned nonprofit Advocates for Youth in collaboration with Answer and Youth Tech Health, envisions a world where “child and adolescent sexual development is natural and healthy.” Harnessing the power of digital media, AMAZE creates short, animated YouTube videos that provide an age-appropriate, non-judgmental space for youth to learn about everything from UTIs to relationships and technology. Backed by research that proves robust sex ed helps youth “delay sexual initiation” and use “contraceptive methods” when active, AMAZE’s digital tools are helping young people navigate sexual health on their terms.
As a certified internet sexologist, Shan Boodram studies and teaches sexual health with a focus on education to help people be “more competent and confident.” Boodram reaches Gen Z directly as Bumble’s official sex and relationship expert, where she guides youth through everything from using dating apps in 2022 to navigating the rising trend of alcohol-free first dates. On her wildly popular podcast Lovers & Friends – on which she often hosts young celebrities like Harry Jowsey – Boodram’s modern and open approach to sex ed is reaching Gen Z by the millions.
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