Sex Education is a Human Right

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The Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance (Woodhull), named in honor of Victoria Woodhull, joins the public discussion about sex education by framing it in the context of sexual freedom and human rights.

Woodhull is a leader in advocacy and activism for sexual freedom, rights, and liberty and also acts as a convener of activists and a resource for progressive initiatives that advance sexual freedom. Woodhull works hard to combat the prohibition of pleasure, advance an agenda that recognizes the wonderful diversity of sex, sexuality, and our rights as human beings to make informed, consensual choices in our lives; Woodhull recognizes that this agenda can be accomplished through comprehensive sex education. Woodhull believes that comprehensive sex education includes age-appropriate, medically accurate information on a broad set of topics related to sexuality, addresses both genders and transgender and all orientations and disability, and teaches how alcohol and drugs can effect responsible decision making.

However, Woodhull does not just approach sexual health as an educational issue, but also in the context of sexual freedom and our universal human rights.

Former U.S. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt with the English version of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which Woodhull posits on the inclusion of sexual freedom.

In their report, State of Sexual Freedom in the United States 2011, Woodhull advocates that human beings, including youth and adults, have the right to access information that will help them make the best decisions for themselves and lead happier lives. As sexuality is a part of every human being, access to sexuality information is a part of our basic human rights. Sexuality is not only about sex, either. In the broadest terms, sexuality encompasses everything from engaging in sexual acts, to how people see themselves in terms of body image and gender roles, to how people relate to others in emotional and physical relationships.

As such, Woodhull asserts that everyone deserves access to comprehensive sex education, because a lack of access to valid information about sex and sexuality is not only harmful and ineffective, but also contrary our fundamental humans rights. Along with the right to access vital information, we have the human right of sexual freedom, a freedom that is the right of all individuals to develop and express their unique sexuality, and includes the freedom of sexuality education and sexual health. Sexual freedom involves not only the freedom “to do” something sexually, but also the freedom “not to do” something sexually. Therefore, sexual health programs that boost sexual health, like comprehensive sex education, are the ideal for sexual freedom because they incorporate teachings about both abstinence and contraception.

Woodhull justifiably frames the discussion of sex education in the context of our fundamental human rights of education and sexual freedom.

If you want to find out more about the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance and their views on sexual health education and other key issues of sexual freedom, such as sex work and reproductive justice, you can visit their website. Also, you can attend Woodhull’s Sexual Freedom Summit (September 21-23), where Alison Gardner and Dan Massey, VenusPlusX’s founders who work closely throughout the year with Woodhull as members of its Advisory Council, will presenting their workshop session, “Sacred Sexuality and Erotic Communion, the Human Experience.”

Creative Commons Image Provided by: Wikimedia
Feature Image Provided by: Alifa Watkins 

 

Alifa Watkins

Alifa Watkins

Alifa Watkins is an honors student at American University (Washington, DC) majoring in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Her interests in sex education and youth sexual health motivates her research, blogging, and activism for comprehensive sex education, more progressive attitudes about adolescent sexuality, and the improvement of sexual health outcomes in America.
Alifa Watkins