Sexuality is obviously a big part of people’s lives. Regardless of context, whether that be romantic or a hook up, it cannot be denied that humanity as a whole cares a lot about sex, and education is offered to a wider and wider range of people to make sure we are safe about it.
But how much do people actually know? How much knowledge about safe sex is actually retained from all those mandatory sex-ed classes in high school? How often is that knowledge actually put into practice? Two students, were interviewed to get different viewpoints on the matter.
Colton Darnell, fourth year Law and Society major at Laurier Brantford says that people, on average, aren’t as informed as they should be.
“I say that because I believe that the students in high school do not pay particular attention to the subject,” he says. While the issue of safe sex is incredibly important, people in their teens simply don’t realize the dangers associated with unprotected sex.
Cassidy Worth, a third year Contemporary Studies student believes that students have the necessary education and information, but far too often simply ignore it. “Most students comprehend the notion about safe sex, but a lot of students when in the heat of the moment throw all common sense out the window because when they weigh the risk and pleasure factor usually in the heat of the moment they’d prefer to do pleasure.”
Worth goes on to remind us that “precum also impregnates women,” advising against the the commonly settled on “pull-out method” when the heat of the moment takes over, even when two partners don’t have access to protection at the moment. She says that sexual education programs very rarely actually discuss this, leaving a lots of room for error that many people simply don’t know about.
“Because a lot of people have the notion that it couldn’t happen to them, that of all people they wouldn’t be the one out of everyone to obtain an STD or get pregnant out of a few mistakes,” Worth continues. “So in regards of if students know enough I would say they know the risks but somewhat ignore it just for the instant gratification.”
It is also important to note the common preoccupation in people talking about safe sex with the idea of pregnancy, rather than dangers of STDs.
Different settings of early education also have a great impact on what one actually learns about safe sex. Worth states, “I went to a catholic school and I was just told that if I have sex I’ll get a disease and die. I do not remember having sex ed in high school since you had to take that course to experience it.”
This lines up with Darnell’s early experience, stating how much early sexual education was left up to the students to actively explore. “I had multiple classes in the subject, but I had far more teaching in the topic than most of my peers,” he says.
“Although I believe there are many that are well informed, I do not think that there is adequate focus in health [classes] to inform the kids,” Darnell explains. He believes that the ones who are actually educated enough about safe sex are those who actively seek out the information, which he feels not enough people do.
“The information is very accessible! The Wellness Centre and various programing is fantastic,” Darnell explains. He believes people who truly want to learn about sex easily have the tools available to do so, and also that people who are curious in the university setting are very likely to seek out that information. “Although I think many people may be ignorant in regards of what they actually know. I believe that people will be concerned enough about their health to look for the information,” Darnell says.
Worth believes we are privileged to have the access to information about safe sex that we do. Although she also thinks that simply seeing posters around won’t quite get the job done or get the message through to people. “Sex-ed is effective, as long as it is done actively and effectively,” she says. “The only thing that I would truly recommend that would truly change anything would be and will always be education. Education is an easy answer to correct most problems because just like racism or sexism, education and exposure broadens and makes us more aware about the things around us.”