I have been Talking About Sexuality and Sexual Health to people for 23 years. I want to share my experiences and insights to empower you to have open, honest and necessary conversations about sex with your kids, patients, partners and friends. Human Sexuality is relevant to everyone.
Some one called me a feminist last night...this is my respsonse - YouTube
Important to note that my message is about our current culture and the uncomfortable conversations that we all have to have. This is the only way that change will occur. Most of the wonderful men in our society are feminists without even realising. Feminism means equality for all; where power, privledge, safety, education, opportunity and society conversation etc are not male focused. Most Dad's of girls I know want this for their girls. Feminism is not a dirty word. Listen carefully to my words I'm not bagging ALL men I'm just asking us to flip the conversation.
Another example is: I was talking to some new parents recently about the Mum going back to work and the Dad verbalising the difficulties with access to maternity leave and child care for working Mum's/Families and how other countries manage this so much better than us, and he said to me "What are you (Women/Mum's) going to do about it, you can't just let the government make it so difficult" I said what can I do?... I wish I had said what are you going to do about it?
"...Every time someone makes a sexist comment or discriminates on the basis of gender, it becomes more acceptable, lessens people's respect for women, and erodes women's self-worth. Comments about how "Girls can't think 'logically' because they're too emotional...", "She's so ugly I don't know why anyone's even listening to her!" or "Wearing a skirt that short she was definitely asking for it..." end up leading to a society where women are 'worth' less, have less power, are less safe and are considered second-class citizens..."
So, here are some practical suggestions and examples of ways to take positive action: 1) Address the comment, not the person
"Nobody likes hearing that..."
"That's pretty offensive if you think about it..."
2) Ask a question that makes them rethink their statement
"How do you think that makes them feel?"
"I don't get it - what does that mean...?"
3) Use a "we statement" to gain support from people around you
"Yeah, I'm not sure we'd all agree with you there..."
"Is it just me or does everyone here think that's out of line?"
4) Take non-verbal action
If you really don't feel comfortable speaking up sometimes you can just give 'a look' to make it clear you thought the comment was lame. Don't laugh - just sigh, shake your head, or walk away.
5) Make the connection between the comment and the person's own experience
"So, would you say that about your girlfriend/sister/mother?"
"How do you reckon your girlfriend/sister/mother feels when people say stuff like that?"
International Women's Day aims to execelerate gender equality. Sexuality information and education has a-lot of catching up to do in this area. We fail in equality when we teach masturbation and wet dreams for boys (pleasurable) versus mensuration for girls (taboo and dirty), we also incorrectly name body parts.
In this video I give examples of why it is so important to name the vulva and not call it a vagina - which is an internal structure you can't see it on the outside. More links at the bottom of this post.
Children are receiving Human Sexuality messages all the time. In the absence of ongoing conversations at home and/or good education at school they learn from their surroundings; i.e. media, advertising, popular music. These versions are fake and misleading. They generally do not represent fulfilling, pleasurable, respectful, connected, consensual, partnerships.
Take this image above, for example, I see one person dominating the other. Using power over them, forcefully coercing them, I have outlined this in the video below. What do you see? Do you think that we are so used to these messages that we see this as a normal way to treat our Valentine?
In my online guide for parents How to have conversations about Sex and Sexuality with your children I give parents essential tips for providing their children with the knowledge they need to have a future of satisfying, fulfilling connected relationships. Society's current version of what it is to 'Being A Sexual Being' - just does not cut it.
"Puberty changes in my child caught me be surprise"
I'ts alarming how often I hear this from parents. Here is a tip - just like paying taxes, a sure thing in life, puberty is also a certainty. Make sure you are prepared for it so that you can support your child. Research shows that children who have accurate, comprehensive human sexuality education from a young age have better outcomes for their sexuality journey through life. When they have good knowledge they:
accept the changes that are happening to their body
they feel good about their bodies
they make better decisions regarding relationships later on
they can manage the changes that take place
they understand changing from a child to an adolescent to an adult
they understand human reproduction
they don't feel shame or guilt about their normal thoughts and experiences
Puberty occurs: Age 8 - 18: Girls Approx 8-14, Boys Approx 9-14 Everyobody is different
Thankfully it is compulsory (in most states of Australia) for schools to provide age appropriate, Human Sexuality education. Obviously parents are free, to opt out and remove their children from these lessons if they wish to. In my experience, parents RARELY remove their children. Most parents understand the immense importance of Human Sexuality education for their children.
For example, the most recent school I was involved in, with over 500 students receiving sexuality education from Prep to Year 6, NOT ONE, parent removed or opted their child out of the education. This is because of a transparent whole school approach of letting parents know what will be taught and when it will be taught. Providing parent and teacher Sexuality education to the school community is also a beneficial aspect of children's learning and support. Probably the most important outcome of sexuality education is protecting children from abuse.
Examples of Puberty Education in schools
Pictures below are of a class group activity lesson plan for 10 -12 year olds. Cards Can Be Found On Pg 144 Of This Document: Catching on early: Teaching and learning activities Sexuality Education Victorian Primary Schools.
In the activity below, the card we discuss the most is: 'bigger muscles' in males, we talk about how muscle size is not the only measure of strength: (i.e. intelligence, resilience, personality, determination, skill) and that just because someone has bigger muscles does that mean they have power over another person? A great teachable moment for respectful relationships and equality.
The Sexually Transmitted Infection that causes genital warts and associated cervical changes (Human Papilloma Virus or HPV) is part of sex because it so easily transmits by genital to genital contact (rubbing i.e. during penis/ vagina intercourse) usually without partners being aware that it happens. Condoms only partially protect, because of the skin to skin contact risk. That is why up to 80 per cent of adults will be infected at some point in their lives.
"It is thought that the majority of sexually active individuals will be exposed to HPV infections during their lifetime. Most HPV infections will clear spontaneously." Melbourne Sexual Health Centre Fact Sheets
Thats right - if you have ever had genital to genital contact with another person; you are likely to have had HPV in your life time, usually without symptoms. However some people experience visible warts, some get changes associated with pre cancerous cervix changes and some people experience cervical and other cancers related to the HPV infection. This is the Sexually Transmissible Infection often referred to as the 'common cold' of sex, it is part of having sex, as it is so difficult to avoid.
It is one of the reasons that Sexuality Education aims to empower young people to make decisions that will lead them to avoid genital to genital sexual experiences. Teens need to know about it so they can avoid it.
In countries where teens get comprehensive sexuality information (such as STI prevention) - research shows they delay sexual intercourse to a later age.
Consent is not enough - teach you children 'Enthusiastic Consent'. So this means that everyone who is involved in the activity are doing so freely and willingly and their experience is positive and enjoyable.
What Is Consent? - Talking The Talk Sex & Health Education - YouTube
A great message to remind us to approach Sexuality with a positive attitude, it's about pleasure, joy & responsibility and respect.
Human Sexuality is not about fear, danger or discrimination. Human Sexuality is about being Human. There is no 'normal' but there are infinite amounts of normal variations. Human Sexuality encompasses basic Human Rights. Human Sexuality requires comprehensive and accurate education.
The World Health Organisation Recommendations - Key conceptual elements of sexual health (2005):
When viewed holistically and positively: -Sexual health is about well-being, not merely the absence of disease. -Sexual health involves respect, safety and freedom from discrimination and violence -Sexual health depends on the fulfilment of certain human rights. -Sexual health is relevant throughout the individual’s lifespan, not only to those in the reproductive years, but also to both the young and the elderly. -Sexual health is expressed through diverse sexualities and forms of sexual expression. -Sexual health is critically influenced by gender norms, roles, expectations and power dynamics. -Sexual health needs to be understood within specific social, economic and political contexts.
This blog is to clarify inaccuracies regarding a video I posted recently via Vimeo as a response to a recent Anti Safe Schools video by Political Posting Mumma (PPM) which went viral. I wrongly assumed the broader community would do their research and find out for themselves about the false and ridiculous inaccuracies in the video by Political Posting Mumma (PPM). My lack of specifics left my video open to misinterpretation and creation of more lies by the group that PPM appear to be affiliated with.
Clarification of false information by Political Posting Mumma (PPM)video and affiliated website comments :
I’m Vanessa Hamilton I am the owner and founder of Talking the Talk Sex and Health Education
I do not represent and never have been a part of Safe Schools
Safe Schools is an anti-bullying program
Talking the Talk is a Sexuality Education Service. A business Teaching Sexuality education and Child Safe Standards to parents, teachers, Health Professionals and students
The resources offered in the video were my own personal business resource links I have created - nothing to do with Safe Schools. People normally need to subscribe to my site to get the password to access them - common online business practice
Safe Schools is an anti-bullying program, it's not a part of the Victorian Curriculum:
Safe Schools is on Talking The Talk's recommended resource link list
Compulsory Sexuality Education is always taught with parental knowledge:
The most effective sexuality education programs also take a whole-school learning approach
Parents receive notification from schools about when, and what their children will be taught and can opt out
I have seen this in 100% of schools I have worked with
PPM claimed that education was slotted without parents knowing this is not that case in my experience
In Victoria (as well as NSW and SA) it is compulsory for government schools to provide sexuality education within the Health and Physical Education domain, including assessment and reporting against the Victorian Essential Learning Standards. Parents can opt out at any time. http://victoriancurriculum.vcaa.vic.edu.au/
This means that content is taught at age appropriate levels
It would be absurd to believe that an educator or teacher would teach students how to masturbate
I showed 4 of an activity set of 42 Puberty cards. The cards I showed pointed out normal human physiological sexual function which occurs at around puberty:Penis erections, wet dreams, clitoris erections, vaginal wetness. This is not teaching someone how to masturbate.
The other card examples: feel hungrier, grow taller, grow hair, stronger feelings, acne, etc...
Some other current False information on the Website affiliated with PPM:
"...The classroom content is so explicit, even VIMEO placed a warning on her video explaining that it ‘contains mature, or explicit, or sexually suggestive content. It may not be appropriate for all viewers..."
I put the 'Mature' rating on my own Vimeo video. I'm in the business of protecting children, so I always put Mature on my parent education videos, in order to protect children.
The person affiliated wiht PPM who has uploaded my video to You Tube has not put age restrictions on the video so is exposing children to the content of the video as well as the abhorrent comments based on incorrect information.
“ ...In her response video, Vanessa has confirmed that masturbation is being taught to children as young as TEN, as part of regular sex education…”
I referred to 4 cards of an activity set of 42 Puberty cards. The cards I showed pointed out normal human physiological sexual function which occurs at around puberty: Penis erections, wet dreams, clitoris erections, vaginal wetness. This is not teaching someone how to masturbate. See Masturbation listed above for more details.