#BetterSexTalk is a photography campaign that works to raise awareness around issues of sex education and sexual assault.
OUR MISSION: THE SEX TALK YOU (PROBABLY) NEVER GOT
Fourth grade; half-filled classroom. We were stuck dipping tampons into cups of water. Us girls watched cotton expand, while the boys played outside in the yard. This was the start of our very flawed sex educations — and possibly yours, too.
Our friends have memories of their own:
“We watched an animated movie about puberty and then we took a quiz.” Or, “My class labeled reproductive organs on figures of adults. It was like ‘pin the tail on the donkey,’ except with a uterus.” And, a personal favorite:
“I made a poster about chlamydia. On bright orange poster board. Using glitter.”
Then, there was “the talk.” For many of us, this meant an awkward and brief conversation with a family member, or a stern message about teenage pregnancy; mostly, though, it meant minimal eye contact and vague information. For some of us, the talk didn’t exist at all.
This is the sad reality of our current dialogue around sex. Pretty quickly, it became clear that none of us truly got what we wanted or needed from our respective “sex ed” classes in school, and, soon after, the #BetterSexTalk project was born.
We asked students one simple question:
If you could give one piece of advice about sex to a younger sibling, what would it be?
As you look through the images, you’ll notice that #BetterSexTalk highlights a connection between embarrassingly bad sex ed and gender-based violence. The majority of #BetterSexTalk responses mention consent, autonomy, and communication between partners, concepts that many of us learn too late — if at all. How can anyone expect a culture of consent if that language isn’t used or taught during our defining teenage years?
A crash-course in sexual respect during college orientation will never atone for years of inadequate sex ed.
We need to continue challenging the many ways sex education has failed us. In order to enact real change, we need more momentum. We need your voices.