let's tell it like it is, and how it could be; how it was and of course how it should be
It was my last day of classes as an undergrad. Senior year! For so long, I had planned to be a fine arts major in college, then changed my mind right before sending applications out, and had settled on a Communications degree. Every uses communication, right? I enjoyed the practical application of communication theories and frameworks, but hadn't yet felt a strong pull into a field. No "this is what I want to do" moment.
One of my favorite classes of my undergrad career was also my last one - Gender and Communication. For our final class, the instructor had invited a guest speaker to come in and talk about sexual health. I still remember watching her at the front of the classroom, furiously writing stats and facts up on the whiteboard.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN JUST ABOUT EVERYONE WILL GET HPV?!?!?!?!
I MIGHT HAVE CHLAMYDIA AND NOT EVEN KNOW IT!?!?! NO SYMPTOMS!!!??
I had my very own private existential outburst right there in my char/desk combo. Why!? THE FUCK!? Had no one ever told me any of this before?!?! I was a college-educated (quasi) adult and (until now) had considered myself to be proactive at managing my sexual health. Heck, I had even gone BY MYSELF to Planned Parenthood at 15 years old to get on birth control and load up on condoms before ever having sex! If I - with my fancy college education and privileged as fuck upbringing and sex ed in school and longstanding subscription to Cosmo - hadn't gotten any of this information before, how was ANYONE supposed to know this stuff?
This was it. My moment. If no one else was gonna talk about this shit, well then I WAS GOING TO! (You can imagine my mom's exuberance when I called her after class to tell her, "Mom! I know what I'm gonna be when I grow up! A SEX EDUCATOR!")
After taking my panic down a notch, I decided to reach out to the guest speaker who gave me some great advice about getting started in the field. I started researching relevant grad school programs, applied to an internship at Planned Parenthood, and I guess you can say the rest is history!
The good news is, I found that there are so many bright, inspiring, compassionate others talking about this shit. The bad news is, there aren't nearly enough. Negative PREVENTABLE sexual health outcomes (ex. unintended pregnancy and STD transmission, to name the most obvious) are still abundant, talking about sexual pleasure is still taboo, and accounts of sexual violence are constantly in the media. So if any of you have ever thought about giving sex education a whirl, hit me up! I'd love to share more about my experience as well as some, er, advice? about becoming a fellow sex ed soldier.