Yes, the title is a spin of The Education of Shelby Knox, the “good Southern Baptist girl” who challenged her town’s abstinence only policy as a high school student! As liberal as American society is, conversation pertaining to sex are giggled at, hushed at, or codified into ideology about religion or normative sexual behavior.
Although Knox and I come from two different back, our sex ed is quite similar:
1. My father told me that having sexual intercourse before marriage results in the stoning. That did not mean that my father would stone me had I engaged in pre-martial intercourse, but that was his scare tactic.
2. I was told to give my school a parental note that I did not need health class. This was in 9th grade – I took the course anyway and got an A.
3. We never discussed the concerns of the body – such as the birth cycle or adolescent development.
4. I did not even know what menstruation was until the day I got it. A very horrifying experience!
5. I was afraid to look at my changing body for years. It was not a matter of shame, but a fear because it was a topic that we never talked about at home.
Eventually I grew out of all these notions. Through my own research, biology classes, conversations with friends, and the media (surprisingly) I learned to like my body. I saw it as an amazing creation with so many process. It was an expression of my emotions. I out grew the shame of my naked body. Sex and sexuality became easy to talk about. I did not feel shy about asking questions regarding my health – mentally and physically. This process took years to re-learn my body.
As Knox and I both know, wether you are engaging in any form of sex or not, it is important that you have proper knowledge and tools. Even after adolescence the knowledge of STD’s and HIV, birth control, safe sex, emotional welfare, and general sexual health will be of use. This issue should not be left to the parent or religious institutions teachings only because the consequences of safe sex last forever.