A collaborative program between the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention & Response (OSAPR) and The Center for Wellness & Health Promotion (CWHP). Public Health professionals from OSAPR and CWHP co-author an expert advice column answering all questions at the intersection of sexual health and sexual violence with our context experts, our own Sexual Literacy student intern.
Why is Sexual Literacy Important?
Over the past decade, considerable research has shown the importance of a comprehensive, ongoing, age-appropriate sexual health education (Braeken, Cardinal). We also see a clear connection between sexual health and sexual violence given that women, who are disproportionately targeted by sexual violence, are more likely to feel confident communicating their needs and desires when informed on sexual health (Weinstein, Walsh, Ward, 2006).
Students wanted more emphasis on the social and emotional aspects of their sexuality such as first sexual experiences and how to handle breakups.
The majority of internet searches include STI/HIV prevention and information as well as questions around sexual pleasure, and, how to communicate with your partner about what they want sexually (Holstrom, 2015). Online education reduces this barrier and addresses other concerns identified by youths such as perceived negativity around sex and sexuality (Helmer, Senior, Davison, Vodic, 2014), and a desire to remain anonymous while still getting their questions answered (Holstrom, 2015).