Vandy Sex Ed Launches New Blog To Complement Lack Of Sex Education On Campus – The Vanderbilt Hustler
Vandy Sex Ed Creates Safe Space to Reduce Sexual Health Stigma and Provide Much-needed Resources
Education about sexual health and behavior is arguably more important than ever. With fake news spread online and urban myths rampant, it can be difficult to stay up-to-date without extensive research, especially when it comes to the taboo and uncomfortable (although it shouldn’t be!) Topic of the week. sex. Fortunately, the Vandy Sex Ed team has the tools to provide accurate information and advice to the undergraduate population.
Offered through the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center, Vandy Sex Ed is an internship program that equips undergraduates with the knowledge and tools to be peer sex educators, according to Women’s Center Program Coordinator Bailey Via. Each intern takes a comprehensive and inclusive sex and sexuality education course from Planned Parenthood, while Project Safe trains them in consensual practices, Via said.
“Our interns have the tools to help themselves and their peers make healthy, informed decisions about sex and sexuality,” Via said. “We distinguish ourselves from the health center in that we do not offer clinical or medical work, but rather programming around sexual health.
Junior Katy Hamilton is in her second year in the Vandy Sex Ed program, having completed both a junior and senior internship. She said she initially heard about the internship from a classmate, who at the time was an intern with Vandy Sex Ed, in her anthropology course on reproductive health policy. Hamilton said the class was a motivator to apply for an intern, as she discovered gaps in the health and education systems in the United States, especially when it comes to reproductive health and awareness.
“I was drawn to the program because I became more aware of the limited amount of things in the United States when it comes to sex education. There are no federal regulations on sex education, and much of it is left to state regulations, ”Hamilton said.
According to information from the National Conference of the State Legislature on state policies on sex education, only 30 states require sex education of any kind, and only 22 require it to be medically, factually, or technically accurate. Additionally, 30 states allow parents to opt out of sex education on behalf of their children.
After completing the training, the trainees aim to educate the rest of the undergraduate population by running workshops for Greek Life, RA, Visions groups and some courses i.e. under normal circumstances. In the past, they’ve run workshops on birth control, contraceptives, the anatomy of STI prevention, and communication skills in romantic and sexual relationships, Via said. This year, Vandy Sex Ed changed their format with the launch of their new Blog.
“We have moved on to providing the information we would normally include in our workshops through online platforms like our Instagram and our blog,” Via said. “We chose this format because we know that Zoom fatigue is very real.”
Interns, along with Via, publish three blog posts each week with a new topic each week. These topics include sexualization, sensuality, identity, intimacy, health and behavior, anatomy, pleasure, and queer sex education.
“We think about holistic sexuality, what we call ‘from womb to grave.’ There is information that basically applies to everyone, at any age, including those who are asexual, ”Via said. “We also realize that people bring different values. “
Given the current circumstances, the blog and Instagram also provide information on how to have safe sex during a global pandemic, including healthy practices, and how to discuss whether sexual exclusivity includes emotional exclusivity, according to Hamilton.
“We are doing what we can to reach Vandy’s student body and provide resources for the current climate,” Hamilton said. “We’re realistic about what people are going through and what they’re going to want to do. “
This online format also has its advantages, as Via hopes that more students will have easy access to this information. According to Via, the blog is meant to be a place for people to ask questions anonymously, as sex education can be a hot topic and new to some.
“Whether we know the answer or not, we want to be able to let people know that we understand where they’re coming from and that we want to help them as much as we can,” Via said.
“When I took a health class in high school, it was more about fear than sex,” Hamilton said. “It is so important that students receive accurate and positive information when they enter a new environment with new freedoms. “