Let's Talk about "It"
We hope you enjoy this guest blog post by Cori DePue about Let's Talk Month!
I’ve always been the sensitive and inquisitive member of the family- the one with lots of questions, lots of emotion, and the one to openly approach all topics of conversation with little discomfort. So, it was no surprise that at an early age, I began to inquire about the ultimate, most cringe-worthy, heart-stoppingly awkward topic with my mother, much to her dismay. What’s a condom? How many holes do I have? What are they all there for? Hey Mom, can you tell me what crabs are? Every question I asked (about sex), she evaded, or left me with as little information as possible. My sweet mother is no different than a majority of the parents out there today, but these conversations are so important to engage in, and the sooner they get brought to the table, the better.
October is “Let’s Talk Month”, a national campaign that focuses on encouraging and helping parents communicate with their children about issues related to sexuality. It serves as an annual reminder to parents that there is no better time than now to rip off the band-aid and engage your kids on the dreaded “sex talk”.
In 2011, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) conducted a national survey to learn about how parents were talking to their kids about sex. The good news is that a majority of parents are opening up the discourse on sex and sexuality. But, the kids want more! According to research done by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, teenagers consistently admit that parents- not peers or popular culture- influence their decisions about relationships and sex.
What is so cool about these findings is that teens are interested in learning, especially from their parents. We know that young people want to be more engaged in their health, and youth who do feel comfortable talking with their parents or other trusted adults about safe sex, are more likely to make more well informed decisions about their sexual health.
According to the “Let’s Talk” poll conducted by PPFA, 90% of parents agree that comprehensive sex education that includes on birth control should be an essential part of high school curricula. However, as of July 1, 2014, only 22 states and the District of Colombia require that public schools teach sex education. So, the battle continues for comprehensive sex education.
In an era where there seems to be disagreement on nearly every topic, parents can widely agree on one issue: keeping kids safe and healthy, and that includes their sexual health. So, lets talk. Because the cost of not talking, is an awfully high price for young people to pay.
Cori DePue is a recent college graduate from the University of Iowa who moved to Denver in July 2013 to pursue a career in Public Health. She currently works as a yoga instructor at the Freyja Project, a camp counselor at Camp ArtReach, and a server at Highland Tap and Burger. She loves hiking, cooking, and being out in the sun. Cori is dedicated to encouraging youth and young people to be more engaged in their personal health!