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English 212
2002 Second Paper
On Serendip

Sample Sex Ed Outline

Lindsay Updegrove


Today, mothers and their teenage daughters have a difficult time talking about sex. This problem stems from a variety of origins. Teenage girls often feel that their mothers play the role of the preacher when it comes to sex. Most mothers find the thought of their daughter becoming sexually active disturbing, and therefore avoid the awkward subject. One issue does stand out as the primary source of the uneasiness mothers and daughters experience in communicating about sex: most mothers lack the information necessary to teach their daughters about sexuality.

"A mother who believes that 'babies are made from menstrual blood' or that they 'come from the hospital' cannot help her daughter sort out fact from fantasy." (Kirkpatrick 120) Sex education would certainly be a prescriptive way of dealing with this problem. The sex education that mothers give to their daughters should not be a one-time thing, in the form of a "big talk." It should instead be an ongoing, developing process that opens up lines of communication between mothers and daughters in early childhood. Therefore, a mother needs to have had education that prepares her for the day when her daughter asks the initial questions about her body.

The principal question that mothers have regarding their daughters and sex is "how to communicate?" Sex Ed needs to address appropriate forms of communication at different stages in a girl's life. For example, during the years when a child's language is still developing rapidly, it would not be feasible for the mother and daughter to actually speak about sex. At this time, the mother can express trust and begin to demonstrate values regarding sexuality. The educational environment should be open to small group discussion so that mothers can become more comfortable with speaking about sex.

Here is a sample timeline of curriculum. Ages are approximate and subjective.

Early Childhood (Aged 3-6): The mother should be instructed in

Communicating the proper terminology for body parts

Addressing the difference between the sexes

Explaining the basic fact of reproduction

*Mothers should encourage questions and try not to avoid or ignore them

Later Childhood (Aged 7-10):

Menstruation- communicate that it is a positive thing
Physical development- respecting and caring for the body
Discuss mother and daughter's perceptions of what it means to be female
*Mothers should share personal experience and demonstrate values as much as possible

Adolescence:

Discuss cultural standards- what pressures are present in the daughter's environment?
Sexual relations- physical and emotional significance
Sexual health- contraceptives (try to avoid limiting this discussion to warnings)
Desire- what are the pleasurable aspects of sex?
*The mother should make her values clear throughout this discussion

The media can be a very useful tool in discussing issues of sex. If the daughter has questions about something she saw on television, the mother should try to answer them instead of maintaining an awkward silence. Mothers and daughters can watch movies or read books and magazines together, and discuss the sexual issues breached in these sources. In the event of discussions about general attitudes toward sexual subjects, the mother should always try to relate on a personal level in order to demonstrate the values she wishes to communicate. "Adolescents may relate more readily to information about sex if parents are willing to share their own values and experiences." (Simanski 8)

When mothers demonstrate an attitude of open communication regarding sex, daughters have the reassurance of someone to rely upon during the years of coming to terms with their sexuality. Sexual education, in some form or another, has always been passed from mother to daughter. The crucial thing now is to make sure that the education is the best possible for the daughters of today.


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