Tag Archives: sex education

“How To Snog Without Getting Hogwarts.” Boston University Offers Harry Potter Themed Sex-Ed Class, via The Huffington Post

Boston University is teaching students about safe sex and sexual health with a little bit of help from none other than wizard extraordinaire Harry Potter.

Last week, as part of “Frisky February,” a monthlong series of sexual health-related events at the university, students were invited to participate in “Sex-Ed at Hogwarts,” an interactive, “Harry Potter”-themed class about safe sex, consent and sexual health.

“At this event, half-bloods, house-elves, and muggles alike will learn the proper way to get consent to enter one’s chamber of secrets and how to snog without getting hogwarts,” said the event’s Facebook page. “We’ll be casting some sensual spells in CAS room 313. Hope you can apparate there.”

The class was the brainchild of Michelle Goode and Jamie Klufts, two graduate students who work as interns at the university’s Wellness and Prevention Services program. The duo, both avid Harry Potter fans, said that they hoped to use the magical world of the series as a launchpad to discuss important issues related to sex and sexuality.

“The goal is to use a creative lens to teach sexual health,” Klufts told the Daily Free Press. “Sexual health is often a topic that can provide a lot of discomfort, but by using Hogwarts and Harry Potter language, we hope to enlighten students and also make them more comfortable with learning about it. Additionally, it allows us to reach an audience that we may not have reached otherwise.”

According to the Boston Globe, Klufts and Goode came up with the idea for the Harry Potter-themed sex-ed class after realizing that author J.K. Rowling had missed a golden opportunity to educate her teen and young adult readers about sex when she chose to gloss over the topic in the series.

“[Sex education is] definitely a subject matter J.K. Rowling ignored in a major way,” Klufts told the Daily Free Press. “It’s highly unrealistic to believe that students of middle school and high school age aren’t thinking about sex or engaging in it, or at least coming to terms with their changing bodies and sexual health.”

Prevention starts with healthy sexuality

Want to prevent sexual violence? Start with healthy sexuality, via Bangor Daily News:

If I walked up to 100 strangers on the street and asked them to define healthy sexuality, I’m guessing responses would range from uncomfortable laughs to puzzled looks to real responses. In my life, I’ve certainly had difficulty defining what “healthy sexuality” means and in fact, most Americans do. Pause for a moment and think – what is healthy sexuality to you?

Sexual violence is perpetrated because of unhealthy sexual norms: strict gender roles (men are sex seekers and women sex gatekeepers), the idea that communicating about sex is weird and embarrassing, and a host of other risk factors proven to be associated with sexual violence perpetration.

Healthy sexuality is the opposite of that. It’s important that we as a culture not only recognize “no means no” (which is important!), but we also should be providing young people – and let’s be honest, everyone else – with the other side of that coin. The other side is that consent is the presence of an enthusiastic yes.

A sexually healthy person:

  • Recognizes and respects those enthusiastic yes moments;
  • Recognizes and respects when someone says or implies (through body language and non-verbal cues) no;
  • Is comfortable with different forms of gender expression;
  • Knows how to define their own boundaries;
  • Understands and recognizes body parts associated with sex; and
  • Is comfortable with asking for what they want and being okay with getting it – or not!

Healthy sexuality is also important to survivors healing from sexual violence. When someone experiences sexual violence, his or her sexual autonomy has been violated. Part of healthy sexuality means gaining that sexual autonomy back. Taking control of one’s own sexuality and one’s own body can be healing for a survivor.

Healthy sexuality isn’t easy in a culture where we teach people not to get raped instead of teaching people not rape others. It’s not easy in a culture where survivors are still shamed for talking about their experiences with sexual violence. But so many wonderful organizations and people are doing great work to shift the language we use, to change the way we talk about sexuality and how we treat each other, and to challenge institutions where unhealthy sexual norms are rampant.

A sexually healthy culture can’t be built in a vacuum. Unhealthy messages reach all of us at a very young age. However, there communities all over the world are speaking about healthy sex and sparking dialogue that teaches people what to do instead of just what not to do. And, eventually, we’ll live in a culture where healthy sexuality is the norm.

And honestly, I’d give that an enthusiastic yes.

Cross-posted at Speak About It’s blog – go check them out!

A new approach for sex education?

“For some reason, says educator Al Vernacchio, the metaphors for talking about sex in the US all come from baseball — scoring, getting to first base, etc. The problem is, this frames sex as a competition, with a winner and a loser. Instead, he suggests a new metaphor, one that’s more about shared pleasure, discussion and agreement, fulfillment and enjoyment. Let’s talk about … pizza.”