If there is one area of the education field that seems to be lacking (there are likely many), it would have to be in the arena of sex education. In particular, it seems that the curriculum does not include lessons on consent, something most people would say is extremely important.
As adults, many people understand the importance of consent, however, that does not necessarily mean that everyone understands what this means. While the idea of consent seems obvious, it is clear that more education is needed to properly address dangerous misunderstandings that surround the concept of consensual sexual activities.
Although there are many sex educators who teach lessons about consent in their classes, that does not mean that more cannot be done. In fact, for some educators, lessons on consent are actually missing from their plans. According to Bustle, a new survey done among Generation Z women and girls has indicated that they do not feel the sex education they need is being provided.
While many of these women feel that they have not been given adequate education on consent, in many cases they believe that they do know how to both receive and give it. However, while these women might feel like they know how to give and receive consent, the majority felt that their sex education classes did not prepare them for the real world in a way that was truly effective.
Perhaps if consent education was being taught in more classes, it could make a real impact on the lives of young people. Considering there are actually plenty of adults who would willingly take more sex education classes, it makes sense that improving the lessons offered to students would greatly improve their ability to make informed decisions.
The problem with the level of education most people have on consent is that there tends to be varying degrees of confusion over what is consensual when things like alcohol are entered into the mix. Considering the news is littered with cases of rape and he said, she said that leaves many individuals unwilling to speak out when they have been sexually assaulted, it seems as if perhaps the same people who believe they understand how to give and receive consent are the exact people who need a greater education.
An article by the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) goes into detail about not only the laws surrounding consent, but also what it is on a more fundamental level. At a very basic level, RAINN explains that “Consent is an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity.” However, they also make it clear, “Giving consent for one activity, one time, does not mean giving consent for increased or recurring sexual contact.”
Essentially, they want people to understand that just because they had a consensual sexual experience with someone, that does not mean that the consent is a given moving forward. Ultimately, one time does not mean that moving forward sex is a guarantee or an activity is allowed to happen again.
Every time people come together, there needs to be consent given, and if there are any questions or concerns they must be addressed. Someone can remove consent depending on how they feel about a situation and there is nothing wrong with this.
If sex education went into detail about how consent works in the real world and in real situations, as well as what it means to actually change one’s mind, perhaps more people would feel comfortable talking with their partners about the things they want and do not want to do in the bedroom. At the same time, perhaps there would be less problems around people attempting to report sexual assault and being ignored, made to feel like they are in the wrong, or any number of other issues associated with reporting things such as rape and assault.
While sex education can only take people so far in life, being properly taught how to give and receive consent could potentially save someone from an experience that haunts them for the rest of their lives. Educators do their best every day to impart what they can on their students, perhaps it is time that the curriculum catches up to the times a bit more.
Written by Kimberley Spinney
Bustle – Consent Still Isn’t Taught In Schools. Here’s How Sex Educators Want To Fix That
Bustle – The U.S. Girls Bill Of Rights Reveals The Top 10 Issues Gen Z Girls Care About
RAINN – What Consent Looks Like
Image Credit – IQRemix’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License