Posted on 09 September 2014 by Rachel
IT WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE TO HAVE ONE LESS PRESSURE GROWING UP
9 September 2014
We spoke to a recent graduate about her experience of learning about Sex and Relationships growing up. Here’s what she had to say to us.
GROWING UP, THERE WAS LITTLE TALK OF SEX AND RELATIONSHIPS
I grew up in a single parent home from the age of six. Sex just wasn’t something that was discussed in our family. In fact, if I’m honest, there wasn’t a lot that wasdiscussed… emotions, relationships, or sex. Maybe mum found it difficult to talk about those types of things coming from a Catholic background. Whatever the reason, silence remained in our family.
School wasn’t much better. I went to two Catholic schools and for my time at both there was no particular sex education.
Most of what we learnt was through peers. Of course, as you could imagine, it was predominantly incorrect. You could say some of what we heard was quite funny! But, the down side was that it was also damaging. Many teenagers didn’t have that correct information around what safe sex is and why the understanding of relationships is so important when sex is concerned.
It would have really helped to have had the space to talk openly about sex, and ask the questions I guess every teenager has to eliminate the myths; particularly around safe sex and pregnancy.
I wish I’d understood more about the importance of relationships as a teenager… mainly to feel more confident around when it is okay to have sex, knowing that it is alright to wait and how to say ‘no’ without feeling pressured or feeling that you’re just being boring.
I remember back to a time when I was coming near to turning 16; and the pressure within school was immense. It was as if you were the ‘odd one out’ if you hadn’t yet had sex. It seemed like the talk around schools was all about who had and hadn’t slept together.
Looking back, it’s only now through experience and faith that I recognise how important it is to have an honest relationship with your boyfriend/girlfriend. Understanding who I am as an individual has led me to realise what I want for my future; and without that sex to me feels meaningless.
I suppose in a way, I appreciate sex as something special within a relationship now; not something teenagers do because of peer pressure which, for me, was once the case.
I wish school had made space for me to learn this sooner. As a teenager, it would have been nice to have one less pressure growing up.