September is our favorite month here at Candor. It’s the month school begins, and our programs start back up; it’s the month of our annual fundraiser; and most importantly, it’s Sexual Health Awareness Month – our specialty!
For nearly 50 years, we have been providing puberty & sex education programs to students, and we want to use Sexual Health Awareness Month to emphasize: 1. Why these lessons are so important, and 2, talk about the life skills students learn through sex ed programming. These lessons are not just about STI and pregnancy prevention. These courses (formally) start the framework for students to learn about what healthy relationships look like (and what they don’t look like).
First, learning about our bodies, how they function, and how to care for them properly is a
fundamental part of becoming a healthy adult. I think we can all agree that life is hard, and if we don’t know how to properly take care of ourselves (good hygiene, emotional regulation, positive self-talk, etc.), life will be that much harder. Laying these bricks and practicing these healthy habits at a young age makes them easier to grasp, instead of unlearning poor behavior when we’re older and re-learning healthy ways to take care of ourselves. See our program outlines here for more information about these topics.
Second, while sex ed programs often teach students about STIs and pregnancy prevention, these are also the courses where students learn refusal skills, boundary setting, how to be an upstander, and overall respect, empathy, and compassion for themselves and their peers. A 2020 study showed social-emotional outcomes resulting from sex education in classrooms like “increased empathy, respect for others, improved communication, managing feelings, positive self-image (including body image), increase self-control and safety, and establishing and maintaining positive relationships.”1
Sex education teaches life skills. Skills that go beyond the physical relationships we have and teach students how to communicate, self-advocate, and understand the importance of respecting boundaries and articulating what they want and need.
Written by: Laura Benn-Digital Media Specialist, Candor Health Education