SEX education at school isn’t always a given. For those who missed out, Elisa Scarton Detti takes a crash course in the online resources available to help you make smart and safe sex decisions.
If you went to school overseas or were, like me, sent to a strict all-girls’ college, sex education might have been something your teacher glossed over or didn’t mention at all. In my school, there were no bananas and condoms or discussion of contraceptives. The only type of sex we learnt about was immaculate conception.
It seems I wasn’t alone. A survey by Youth Empowerment Against HIV/AIDS and the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition recently found that while 80 per cent of Australian students aged 15-29 supported sex education, little more than half were happy with what they received at school.
At 15, I thought no sex education was great. The whole topic made me uncomfortable. But 10 years on, I feel I might have missed something. When done properly, sex education is not just about contraceptives. It’s about making smart decisions, understanding the real meaning of consent and respect and learning how to speak your mind and be comfortable with something that is a natural part of life.
Even if you’re not sexually active and don’t plan to be for a long time, sex education gives you the building blocks to have healthy relationships later on.
Considering more than 80 per cent of the young people surveyed said they got information about sex from the internet, we’ve put together a DIY guide of some fantastic resources that should help fill the gaps in your sex education.
Sex, Etc covers everything you have ever wanted to know about sex. The content is a bit heavy on personal stories and FAQs, but the website is easy to use and eye catching, and most of the articles are written by young people. This website also gets top votes for its information on healthy relationships and sexuality.
Like it is isn’t as visually stimulating as some of the other online resources, but it’s tailored to Australia. The information is much more formal and staid – great if you want the medical nitty gritty without the teen lingo or Americanisms. This is the place to go for advice on unplanned pregnancies too.
The Smart Sex Resource is another really good, albeit American, outlet for unbiased information on safe sex and STIs. It’s streaks ahead of the similar Australian website, STI Health, which is all black and is frankly foreboding. As well as listing the types of STIs and symptoms, the website also takes the fear out of getting a sexual health test, which is a must for anyone who’s sexually active. There’s also a chat room where you can talk to a registered nurse in real time or ask questions anonymously.
Fun Science: Reproduction is a short and sweet video on reproduction. It’s presented by a cute English boy who draws little pictures to help us understand topics such as asexual and sexual reproduction. It’s like a semester’s worth of science classes in fast-forward.
Find a Different Word is an eye opener for anyone who has ever used the word ‘gay’ in a derogatory sense. I’m sure most of you have, but after watching this video, you’ll think twice.
Sex Myths debunks all of the believable and less believable stories out there about safe sex and pregnancy. It’s funny to watch, but the information stays with you long after the girl has stopped doing jumping jacks to get all the sperm out.
Porn sex vs real sex makes it on the list because it’s hard to find a better way to explain the difference between what you see on TV and what happens in real life – with food.
And the rest:
Love is respect is a blog on healthy relationships. It discusses current events and even breakdowns chart topping songs for messages on how to be a good partner. They also have some great advice columns and quizzes.
Adventures In Sex City is a comic book inspired computer game where you play the superhero in a fight against STIs. It’ll take all your sexual health knowledge to defeat the bad guy. The second part of the game looks at the role drugs and alcohol play in making bad sexual decisions.
The Safe Sex No Regrets booklet is a short resource you can print out or read online. It covers all the basics to make sure you’re prepared when you decide to have sex.