Why I Teach Sex Ed: Hope, among other things… Jeffrey W. Anthony

As I manage this blog, and twitter, and help with Facebook… I find that people are amazing, brilliant, and beautiful. I have read some rather inspiring “Why I Teach Sex Ed” blogs, hoping that my future is as fulfilling as those individuals’ lives are.

But why do I teach? Well, there are a couple of reasons.

I love knowing more than everyone else. I remember in high school, I got made fun of because I knew the anatomy of the male genitalia better than all the other “boys” in the class. I knew the female well too, to the point where on a few occasions I corrected my health ed teacher.

I like the thrill of it: people don’t like talking about things they consider socially taboo, which just makes me writhe with anticipation of their squirming when I say “masturbation”.

More seriously, and why I prefer to appear less serious, in high school, I was sexually assaulted. I conquer things by knowing more, so I had to learn everything I could about sexual health, sexuality, mental health, what have you. I felt so alone. But I felt like everyone knew. I hadn’t told anyone I was gay. I was afraid that someone would say “Well, you’re gay, so you should have liked it” and not have understood how emasculated I felt, how ripped of power, utterly destroyed I was.

I suppressed it for years. It was not until college when I was taking a class on being a peer sexual health educator at Rutgers, when we were having a class on domestic violence and sexual assault, and one student just wasn’t getting it, and kept saying “she’s dumb because she was raped. it was her fault” that something clicked, and years of careful repression and wall-building crumbled within seconds and I flew apart at the seams. The sad realization that information was no longer enough.

In working at Rutgers as a peer educator, having other students look to me for information, advice, and sometimes comfort, was, in some ways, terrifying, and in others, inspiring and healing. Being able to provide some degree of solace to those in need was and is extremely cathartic. While I do find it almost cliche to say “it gets better”, I do try with earnest to convey that message to students.

My hope is that not only do I just give out information and condoms, but I help individuals learn to think in a more pro-active, self-respecting way that enables them to healthier lives and relationships.

I hope I can be there for those who need someone, anyone, in their moment of need.

I hope that, through creating an environment where we can have open, honest conversations about sexuality, we learn to take that to a level where we can open dialogue about any and everything, with everyone.

3 Responses to “Why I Teach Sex Ed: Hope, among other things… Jeffrey W. Anthony”

  1. Molly Van Hart

    Yes yes yes! I love your sassy words and open and nuturing mentality. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Courtney

    This post is profound, heartwrenching, and utterly fantastic. Keep dreaming, loving knowledge, and trekking the path to fulfillment-for yourself and others.

  3. Liz

    This is powerful, for your honesty and your desire to educate others. You inspire me.