Updated: Jul 4
Sex education workshops can be a powerful tool to spark conversations and destigmatise topics. That’s why we love delivering them in schools and universities across the country. Here’s why they can be so impactful.
Sex Ed Matters delivering a consent workshop to students at St Andrews, Pangbourne
Sometimes students don’t want to raise a problem with adults they know. This can be true for many reasons including they may fear being judged, they don’t want their parents or teachers to worry about them, they’re embarrassed, or they’re not sure if they want the person causing the problem to be held to account due to fear of being bullied as a result.
For these reasons and many more, students can feel more comfortable discussing topics like sexuality and consent with experts who they see yearly or every few months rather than every day. We can create a safe space where students can speak freely without fear their word may impact their wider academic life.
2. Starting the conversation
We’re never taught how to recognise or open up about sex education topics including harmful relationships, feeling isolated by friends or not having access to period products when you need them. Workshops can be the key to sparking these difficult conversations and empowering young people to speak up if something’s wrong.
3. Focus on positivity and actions
If sex education has to be just one thing, it should be empowering. Workshops give students the space to not only express their concerns but to explore how to overcome them and make positive change. For example, if a student raises a concern about street harassment, what school policy can they ask their school governing body to impose to showcase such behaviour won’t be tolerated? Or could they join the Our Streets Now campaign to make public sexual harassment a national offence?
This focus on positive action can prove to students they have agency. They can be the change they want to see in the world.
Sex Ed Matters delivering a consent workshop to students at Chiswick School, London
4. Discussing stigmas
A staggering number of sex education topics are deeply stigmatised. Usually, these stigmas are engrained in the fabric of society and introduced to us as individuals from an extremely early age.
For example, many girls are introduced to the topic of periods and menstruation in primary school. Similarly, often boys will never receive this education. By separating boys and girls at this very early stage, we’re teaching both that ‘periods’ should be a secretive topic exclusive to girls and women and which doesn’t impact any other gender or wider society. In reality this is of course simply untrue.
Workshops can help reverse this problem by giving all young people the tools they need to understand where stigmas come from, why they have existed for so long, how they can be harmful and what they can do to help overcome them and the harms they perpetrate. Sex education workshops aren’t just about discussing a topic; they also give students the space they need to discuss the stigma which have previously prevented them from expressing the anxieties or questions they may have. Workshops also help students understand where these stigma come from and imagine a world in which they don’t exist so they can take action and work to create this world for the benefit of future generations.
You can find our more about our workshops here, or feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to support you. You can also sign up to our mailing list here to keep updated about our work.