In order to be an efficient (or potentially exceptional) sex education, one has to have a defined goal or learning outcome for students. In a world where information and factoids are readily available, a proficient sex educator needs to not only provide knowledge about the functions of sexuality (in the biological and social world)—this person needs to encourage and harness communication skills in students. The performance of a student after the course should be the primary goal of every sex educator, regardless of the social and political stance of the curriculum they are teaching.
Sexual discourse needs to be an approachable and full-bodied conversation. At the interpersonal or pseudo-expert level, sexual discourse begins and ends with “the chase,” ignoring the importance of sexual histories in sexual couplings (Moore & Davidson, 2000, p. 117). This limited discourse is dangerous, putting sexual individuals in uncomfortable spaces that block out potential sexual discussion at the social level. The importance of sexual safety needs to be the focus of sexual education, which includes self-care and being aware of surrounding bodies. Even if it sounds unnatural, the health of the body needs to precede sexual activity (this process ensured by the simple questions, “Do you have an STI? Have you slept with a lot of people?).
The barrier that blocks sexual individuals from these conversations is a lack of self-esteem. According to Moore and Davidson (2000), high self-esteem and efficient communication skills are necessary for functional sexual development (p. 122). Those who do not develop these skills can still participate in sexual activity, but it will be with great anxiety, guilt, and risk-taking behaviours. Through role playing exercises and actual practice, a student’s confidence will only grow as they witness improvement. This will begin a process of normality that this person will bring to every sexual encounter.
The most important sexual educator, the person who can aid sexual development’s healthy start, is the parental figure, especially if they are the same sex, gender and sexual orientation of the student. Research shows that family discussions of sex, especially between mother and daughter, help geminate sexual communication with partners later in life (Moore & Davidson, 2000). While this study is limited by the restricted diversity of the surveyed (white, heterosexual, middle- to upper-class, Christian cisgendered females), the importance of the family in promoting sexual behaviour and its representation is stressed regardless. (Moore & Davidson, 2000, p. 119-120). The family, as the first agent of socialisation, has an obligation to teach their children about sex and answer their questions. This procedure will, at the very least, keep their children form dangerous sexual spaces more often.
Sexual educators need to act as progenitors for these conversations. Sexual education does not end in the classroom—it continues into a student’s adult life, where sexual knowledge is assumed and, worse, treated as a commercial object, selling one’s body for sex as one sells their labour.
Moore, N. B. & Davidson, J. K., Sr. (2000). Communicating with new sex partners: Questions that make a difference. In N. B. Moore & J. K. Davidson, Sr. (Eds.) Speaking of Sexuality: Interdisciplinary Readings (2nd ed.) (pp. 117-22). Los Angeles, CA: Roxbury Publishing Company.