Why I Teach Sex Ed: Being Reborn into the World of Sex Education

by Julie Halpin

Julie Halpin
I feel like a curious child stumbling through the world of the unknown, mesmerized by anything new and easily distracted by something shiny. As I fumble through the stages of crawling, walking, and talking I am easily frustrated but excited and anxious to keep learning and take everything in.  I am fresh and new but what I am about to embark on is not a new concept or activity.  I am entering the exciting world of becoming a sex educator.

Throughout my collegiate experience sexual health and prevention had always been something I’ve advocated for but never something I thought I would ever do as a career.  I took sexuality studies and gender studies classes with my friends; volunteered as an HIV test counselor; and was the outspoken friend, who always gave lectures about condom use and getting tested; but never in a million years would I anticipate stumbling on the exciting and important title of an Education Specialist at Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.  As I navigate through all of the training, on-boarding, observing, and more training I’m starting to feel like I’ve got my legs under me. The last month has been full to the brim of learning, but now as I make my way out into the world and start teaching I feel confident, ready, and anxious like it is my first day of kindergarten.

My journey has been a strange one, full of twists and turns, but I feel like I’m making a difference and really doing something worthwhile. I love sex education. If we really want to see teen pregnancy and STD/HIV rates go down we must educate our youth to be proactive and aware of their own bodies and how to protect themselves. I fully believe it is everyone’s right to have access and knowledge to reproductive services and believe the more we can talk about with our children, the less “taboo” the subject will seem.  I look forward to how my progression continues from newborn to expert, but I’m thrilled to learn, grow, and to become more comfortable with my new surroundings.

Editor’s Note:
“Why I Teach Sex Ed” profiles sexuality educators throughout the nation. This column appears each Monday. If you teach sex ed and would like to tell your story, send your submission, in 350-700 words, to Bill@SexEdStore.com.