By Sarah Averbeck, Young Adult Leader
The month of September recognizes World Sexual Health Month, raising awareness around issues regarding a personal sense of self-esteem; personal attractiveness and competence; freedom from sexually transmitted diseases; and sexual dysfunction. Sexual health embraces joy and sexuality throughout our lives. This is an important component of our physical and emotional health.
This month we celebrate:
- Recognizing and respecting the sexual rights we share
- Having access to sexual health information, education, and care
- Being able to experience sexual pleasure, satisfaction, and intimacy when desired
- Making an effort to prevent unintended pregnancies and STD’s, and where to seek care and treatment when needed
Consent is an agreement that is willfully given without any external pressures or factors.
- Given clearly while sober
- Voluntarily without coercion
- With confidence
- With awareness
Young Adult Leader Emma Bittar, a sophomore attending Tufts University, shares about her experience of educating on sexual health while working with Healthy Teens: “When I first began working with Healthy Teens five years ago, the experience was usually thick with tension and awkwardness”. This part was due to our own organizational maturity in educating about the subject.
As a team, we’ve worked really hard to improve our content, and delivery, to the point where this summer, Emma found that the topic was the youth’s favorite subject, generating some brilliant (and awkwardly funny!) conversations.
The contrast in the atmosphere is a true testament to the growth Healthy Teens has made over the past few years. The youth have an obvious desire for knowledge regarding sexual health, and to be able ask questions and have open discussions. Providing education in a peer setting is the best way the youth thrive, according to Emma.
While good progress has been made in recent years more generally, STDs have not disappeared. Teen pregnancy has not disappeared. Forced sexual activity has not disappeared. The work of Healthy Teens in this area remains as important today as it was when we started our efforts.
Thank you, Emma, for sharing the impact sexual health has made on you and the local community!
Resources for Victims, Friends, and Family Members of Sexual Abuse and Assault: