On Sex Education and Latinas

20 Sep

Lisa brought up sex education and I started preaching on a tangent, so I’m making a post about it.

I’d say easier access to birth control would help to correct the larger part of a massive problem, but for any progress made to be sustained we need sex education that extends beyond abstinence and that it needs to be offered bilingually. For the largest minority in the U.S., Latinos, birth control isn’t the silver bullet with Latinas, it’s better sex education AND birth control.

I personally can attest to this in Latino culture. My father is 100 percent Mexican and a Pastor. I attended a Christian school through elementary and middle school. My mother’s attempt at sex education was taking me to a Cracker Barrel (for breakfast…appetite eliminated) and flipping through an illustrated book she borrowed from the church. My sex education was essentially reading a borrowed copy of Cosmopolitan magazine under the covers with a flashlight at night (PITY ME). Sex does not exist in the Latino household.

According to the Pew Hispanic Center Study,  Latino parents aren’t discussing sex or birth control. “Just over half of Latino youths (53 percent) report that their parents talked to them about sex when they were growing up. A smaller share—39 percent—report that their parents talked to them about birth control.” Young Hispanics are having about the same amount of sex as other kids their age, but for some reason Latinas end up pregnant far more often than other races and ethnicity. I draw a parallel between the lack of transparency surrounding sex and the 51 percent of Latinas that will become pregnant before the age of 21, and one-fourth (26 percent) of Hispanic females that will be mothers by the time they reach age 19. Now, luckily for me I’ve never been pregnant. If I had, I probably would not find myself among the 32 percent of Latinos that have attained some level of a college education.

In summary…easier access to  birth control is a fantastic stride, but bilingual sex education that extends beyond abstinence is vital in sustaining any progress we make. Also, Cosmo Magazine does not get enough credit. Yes, they preach a very nasty shade of lipstick feminism and the sex tips are often ill-advised…but they taught me how to use a condom 🙂

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One Response to “On Sex Education and Latinas”

  1. jennifer ludy grove September 20, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

    Nice one Emily. (Although, could you link us to Lisa’s original post, because I can’t find it.) I have a suspicion many of us had the same flashlight education that you had. (I was tutored by my female cousin, who explained everything. She was older and wiser than me. I think I was 10, which would have made her 12.)

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