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Sex Education and Teaching Polyamory to Youth

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Sigh. What a world. No matter where you are, there’s so much sexual education to change, so much sex-ed to teach, and so much more to improve! But where does it begin, and who decides where it ends? That’s a question that’s more important than ever before, and requires diligent focus.

We’re going to focus on what we can contribute to the education of people who hopefully stay young at heart from all the good sex they are having! Or at least all the great relationships they are a part of, and joyfully experiencing with integrity, honesty, morality and fluidity… as well as good ol’ love and happiness.

So, if you hadn’t been paying attention to the news (and I wouldn’t blame you if you were totally blocking that depressing and insane shit out of your awareness, ha ha), there is a lot of talk in the Ontario media about the new sex-ed curriculum, and how “radical” it is in what it will educate modern young people about. Some parents are threatening to take their children out of the Public School System in order to home school them for a month, or longer, if not boycott the system and transfer them to a religious school system such as the Catholic School Board or possibly a Muslim school. Considering the universal impact of the internet, and the infinitely easy accessibility of pornographic, sexual, nude, violent, abusive or just unconventional and extremely graphic material, these parents are  honestly out of their minds to think that “home schooling” will protect their children from sexual ideas and extreme concepts they disagree with.

And safety is priority one, that is no question! But at the same time, there is no doubt that parents of a sheltered, uneducated, unprepared child who is thrust into the social-media-controlled world of today will have NO CHANCE of protecting their fragile minds. The Snapchat/Vine/Facebook/Twitter/Instagram onslaught of images and information will undoubtedly alter their precious little brains in ways that their parents have NO CLUE about, and who will have no way to constantly monitor and pseudo-protect their children from anyways, so this “solution” of theirs is quite ridiculous. It’s extremely advanced and prescient for the Ontario School Board to choose to educate youth on concepts such as sexual fluidity, oral sex, CONSENT, and vitally crucial lessons in human interaction such as those. And teaching them young will not only protect the child’s mind from people who want to exploit the innocent, but it will also pre-emptively educate children on such grown-up subjects and give them the actual protection of their own understanding of such subjects as puberty, intercourse and STIs. But after you read the curriculum, notice what you DIDN’T notice…

In this 2015 upgrade to the Ontario School Board’s Sex-Ed Curriculum (its first update in 17 YEARS), this is a sample of what will be taught in 3 grades.

In Grade 5, kids will learn:

  • to identify parts of the reproductive system, and how the body changes during puberty
  • about the process of menstruation and sperm production
  • to describe emotional and interpersonal stresses related to puberty
  • to identify strategies to manage stress and enhance their emotional well-being and mental health

Puberty can be stressful, and helping students to understand changes in their bodies can help them cope. Students will also continue to learn the importance of showing respect for all, including those who may be entering puberty earlier or later than their peers.

Grade 7, youth will learn:

  • the importance of having a shared understanding with a partner about: delaying sexual activity until older, reasons for not becoming sexually active, the concept of consent and how to communicate consent, and the need to clearly communicate and understand decisions about sexual activity in a healthy relationship
  • how to identify common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and describe their symptoms
  • how to prevent STIs (including HIV) and unintended pregnancy, including delaying first intercourse and other sexual activities until they are older, and using condoms consistently if and when they become sexually active
  • physical, emotional, social and psychological factors to consider when making sexual health decisions (e.g., STIs, pregnancy, side effects of contraception, social labelling, cultural teachings, gender identity, and impact on other relationships)
  • how relationships with others and sexual health may be affected by physical and emotional changes in puberty and adolescence

Grade 9, teens will learn:

  • preventing STIs and unintended pregnancies and helpful sources of information and support (e.g., doctor, public health unit)
  • gender identity and sexual orientation, and how different things like acceptance, stigma, stereotypes, self-awareness, culture, religion, and media can influence a person’s understanding of themselves
  • how to build healthy relationships with peers, family members and potential romantic partners (e.g., honesty, open communication and respect)
  • how to think in advance and to apply their knowledge of sexual health and safety, including consent and sexual limits

For all grades, check out Sex Education in Ontario.

I was impressed with the curriculum’s gender diversity awareness and its inclusiveness of transgender truth and gay/lesbian/queer/etc. sexuality. BUT, there was ONE GLARING OMISSION I kept noticing…

There is NOTHING about POLYAMORY in the entire school board curriculum! Not ONE mention of the concept, not ONE suggestion that the possibility of having more than one partner is potentially healthy and happy and honorable, and not ONE lesson talking about non-monogamous relationships being a thing that can be chosen by teenagers who want to explore options beyond “the norm” (as gender-fluid children do, amongst others).

Quite perplexing! There are literally dozens of radical and revolutionary new concepts being taught to the youth of this generation that encompass almost all dimensions of modern human sexual diversity, except the one that essentially avoids the fundamental falsehood of The One True Mr. or Mrs. Right Fairytale… except the one that says there are MULTIPLE LOVERS AND SEX PARTNERS who can satisfy one’s heart and soul beyond belief… and that there’s nothing wrong with having relationships like this!

I participated in my first polyamorous relationship when I was 18, not yet out of high school… and I didn’t even learn the word until about five years later. But the point is, I was practicing polyamory when I was in high school, and NONE of my teachers or my student counsellors were part of that education. If they had been, who knows how much less heartbreak I might have caused, or how much more joy I could have shared by helping to teach my partners and friends about enthusiastic consent… FOR POLYAMORY!

Well, I can’t complain that much. I send love and respect to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Tony Pontes, director of the Peel Educational School Board, for taking a positive stance on educating ALL kids, youth, children and teenagers on the enormity of what sexual diversity encompasses, and realizing that there will be some people and some parents who don’t like what’s being taught. Fuck it. Kids gotta learn about transgender people, gays & lesbians, fetishes and taboos, safe sex and STIs, and all kinds of real shit in the world, because some of these kids ARE going to become these types of people, and many others will simply have life experiences with them, and need to know the truth to act and communicate respectfully and properly.

But one beautiful, brilliant day, I hope that we, as a society, will accept that monogamy and marriage is NOT the end-goal of all relationships, and that polyamory should be taught to children too!

Because honestly… in high school is when polyamory seems to be the MOST realistically popular option for teenagers to choose!!! And I salute such loving action.

In joy and truth,
Addi Stewart

A Beginner’s Guide to Polyamory

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