For many tweens and teens, sex and puberty are the last things they want to talk about with adults — especially awkward middle school health teachers. Sex education often becomes a source of laughter or shame for pre-pubescent youth, rather than an honest and inclusive dialogue. But it’s not their fault. Blume, a wellness brand focused on improving the health and wellbeing of teens and young adults, is shedding light on the lack of sexual health education available in schools with its new States Of Sex Ed resource.
The absence of adequate sex ed in public schools affects teens and young adults across the country. Only 13 states in the United States have medically accurate sex education in public schools, according to Planned Parenthood, and four of those states do not require schools to have a sex ed curriculum. In 15 states, sex education is mandated in public schools but not required to be medically accurate and in 20 states, sex education is not mandated in public schools at all. This massive discrepancy leaves young people floating through puberty and beyond with limited knowledge of the physical and emotional changes happening in their bodies. That's why Blume created a free sex education curriculum, in partnership with certified sex educators and organizers, accessible to all Internet users.
On Sept. 10, Blume launched a new nationwide sex education campaign called Puberty Do-Over, which includes both a website called The States of Sex Ed and a New York City subway campaign focusing on the idea of adult puberty from a skincare perspective. The States of Sex Ed website features sex-educator approved, medically accurate, and culturally inclusive sex education for free. In 2019, 1 in 2 sexually active Americans will contract a sexually transmitted infection before the age of 25, and an American is sexually assaulted every 92 seconds. The need for informative sex education becomes even more clear from these stats. Anyone can access Blume's new site and read the curriculum. Blume also encourages teachers to download the featured guides and bring them into the classroom.
When users enter the site, they are immediately greeted by the alarmingly small number of states with mandated, medically accurate sex education. The bulk of the curriculum content on the website falls into a downloadable gender, body science, and conception guide, pregnancy and contraception guide, healthy relationships guide, information on STIs and safe sex practices and an educator’s handbook for using the guides. There’s also a map that includes the status of sex education in each state and a take-action button allowing users to directly email state representatives about sex education. At the end of the scrolling site, users can test their knowledge with a pop quiz about contraception, STIs, and consent.
It’s important to note that this curriculum comes from a brand that sells skincare treatments and feminine hygiene products, and not a healthcare organization like Planned Parenthood. But Blume is getting the word out about the lack of sex education in schools nationwide. With access to extensive information about sex, skincare and the world of puberty, both teens and adults can find the answers they need. And let me tell you, that pop quiz is harder than you may think!