September 16-22 is Sexual Health Week which makes it perfect time to have 'the conversation' says Netbuddy's new sex & relationships expert Gill Leno...
Why is good sex and relationships education so important?
Sex and relationships education can be hit and miss at the best of times. Even in mainstream schools it's fair to say that it can be inconsistent; young people frequently report that it's too little, too late, and too focused on the biological end of things.
For children and young people with learning disabilities, a good, well-rounded awareness of sex and relationships is particularly important as it helps to protect against abuse and exploitation as well as providing a solid framework for appropriate behaviour, both sexually and socially.
It allows children to explore their bodies and their sexuality in a safer way, by giving them facts and information. It promotes a sense of equality and autonomy - sexuality and sexual expression is a deeply personal thing. Educating children and young people from a position of sexual positivity, non-bias and inclusivity means that they will have the same information as their peers in mainstream education and helps to undo some of the damage that misinformation can cause.
In working towards supporting young people to achieve their full potential, whatever that may be, good sex and relationships education plays an enormous part in underpinning their progress towards independence as it encourages and supports good social and sexual expression and a sense of self confidence. The earlier we start, the better.
Talk to me...However, it can be a bit of a challenge if it's something you don't feel confident about. That's why I'm delighted to be starting up a new Sex & Relationships forum on Netbuddy. It's time sex and relationships education was brought out into the open and discussed properly. Whatever is being done at school and college can only go so far without the support and contributions of parents and carers. It really does need to be a combined effort.
So let's share! I am happy to talk about anything – body changes, staying safe, what the law says and what sort of resources are out there. I can answer questions around the more practical end of talking about sex & relationships, for example how I teach about things like condoms and contraception and how my experiences might be useful for you. It takes a lot to make me blush, so please feel free to ask me anything!