Could Kids Soon Be Getting Sex Ed From An App?

by Emma Cueto

It's no secret that the state of sex ed in this country kind of sucks — and now apparently law makers want to keep information about sex not only away from kids, but away from college students, as well. But to fight this latest wave of irrational opposition to knowledge, students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville are creating an app called Hookup to provide some much needed sex ed. Because while the Internet is great and everything, it's way more reliable to get your information from actual medical professionals.

The saga behind Hookup started last year when students at the University of Tennessee began organizing a campus Sex Week, as has been done at many other universities. As with most other Sex Weeks held on campuses around the country, the goal is to give students a chance to educate themselves on a wide range of topics surrounding sex, from basic safe sex practices to LGBT information to sex toys. Lawmakers were not pleased by the plan and passed a resolution condemning the whole event, calling it "an outrageous misuse of student fees and grant monies." The backlash caused the university to pull more than $11,000 in funding for the event. Fortunately organizers were able to raise the money themselves to put the event on anyway.

This year, Sex Week is being held for the second time at the University of Tennessee, but the students have also decided to introduce an app to provide answers to sex-related questions. Because as the backlash against Sex Week makes evident, a lot of kids are just not given access to the information and resources that they need when it comes to sex.

The app, called Hookup, will be the first app to provide teens and young adults with fast, judgement-free answers from sex experts for all their sex-related questions. The app is not set to fully launch until November, but the creators released a beta website this week that can give us all a glimpse of what it will look like once it's ready.

And so far, it looks pretty cool:

As do their plans for future features:

"Changing public policy in states like Tennessee is an extremely long-term solution to our sex education crisis," Brianna Rader, co-founder of Sexual Empowerment and Awareness at University of Tennessee, told Mic. "So a mobile app allows students to get all the information they need from their phones, which they are constantly on anyway." In other words, we definitely need to fix the state of sex education in this country, but until we do, kids still need to learn about sex. It not only leads to healthier, more enjoyable sex lives (and does not in fact cause kids to have sex sooner than abstinence only programs), but some of this information can literally save kids' lives.

And yet in spite of this, sex education is only required by law in 22 states, and only 19 of those require the information given to students to be medically accurate. So if you want to tell kids that vaginas suck up sperm or that condoms give you cancer, congrats! That's still legal in more than half the country. And if you want you child to be given vital information about an STI that can literally kill you, I regret to inform you that you might have some trouble with that, especially if you want it to be medically accurate.

So yeah, even though an app isn't a long-term solution to these problems, it's still important to give as many kids as possible access to reliable, accurate information about sex from medical professionals who don't have any agenda beyond making sure people have all the facts.

So basically, we need this app like yesterday.

Images: Giphy; Hookup (3)