It seems like, these days, access to information is relatively instantaneous — and that includes access to sex-ed info. Ideally, the sexual education that you get at school teaches you exactly what you need to know to be prepared for sex, but when it doesn't, most of us have to fill in the gaps ourselves.
"Sex education, done well, is something that can have lifelong positive effects on people," Leslie Kantor, PhD, MPH, and Vice President of Education at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, tells Refinery29. "[It] goes beyond information and gives people a chance to look at their attitudes and beliefs and look at how those influence their behaviors. And strong sex education gives people the skills they need to negotiate in relationships and make decisions throughout their entire lives."
Dr. Kantor also stresses that sex ed can't be "a one-shot deal." Nor can it be a set of basic tenets pounded into your head over and over again. Instead, she says, it has to be a nuanced discussion that happens many times over the course of your life.
"Too often in our culture, we've thought of sexual education as a single 'talk.' Those of us who have been in the field for a while have really tried to change the conversation so that we think of this as a lifelong process," she says.
Preferably, as Dr. Kantor says, parents should be the ones informing their children and preparing them for a healthy outlook on sex. However, not everyone has that relationship with their parents — and that's okay. With the proliferation of apps specifically designed for sexual health and sex education, many of us can now get all of our most personal sex questions answered without a hitch.
If you're looking for the perfect app for you, we've got you covered: We downloaded and tested out seven apps so that you don't have to shop around. Ahead, we've rounded up and reviewed them for all of your sex-ed needs.
The gap between what we learned in sex ed and what we're learning through sexual experience is big — way too big. So we're helping to connect those dots by talking about the realities of sex, from how it's done to how to make sure it's consensual, safe, healthy, and pleasurable all at once. Check out more here.