With California Lutheran University faculty currently reviewing the Core 21 requirements for undergraduate students, I have been considering what many college students should have a greater understanding of in the traditional college culture: a proper sex education. Although sexual education is often not sought out unless needed, it should be given greater value as a course for college students to prepare themselves for possible future encounters.
As a sociology minor, I had the opportunity to select from a variety of courses that I would not have known could benefit me personally and professionally. The biggest impact yet being Professor of Sociology Adina Nack’s ‘Sexuality and Society’ course at Cal Lutheran.
The course provides a combination of science and social patterns and allows students to study the ways in which our sexual identity impacts or doesn’t impact our lives. Debunking sex myths and stereotypes, this is a class I would recommend all students take at the start of their college career.
In high school, many students receive a limited sexual health class that promotes safe sex in a vague way, often with a patriarchal and traditional bias. Information on the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and transmission of HPV/AIDS is distributed, as well as how to prevent pregnancy.
However, sex education is much more than that. Conversations on consent during sex, healthy practices with ones partner(s), and how to make sex more enjoyable is necessary to protect the well-beings of students.
College is known to be a time to explore relationships and sexuality. In 2018, the National College Health Association published a report stating that 41% of college students are having sex with at least one partner in the last 12 months. Only 52.7% percent of those students used contraception, and 30% of this group said that their form of “contraception” was just withdrawing.
Nack said in an email interview that currently, there is only an “activity course” required, but health education has not been encouraged as a general education requirement.
“The review of the CORE 21 has not focused on the question of including any health education course in what will be the new general education requirements,” Nack said
Her students agree that her class is imperative for students. Senior Brittany Toney selected ‘Sexuality and Soceity’ as an elective for her sociology degree.
“I really wish I took it sooner, but honestly, I’m just super happy about what I’m learning,” Toney said.
Nack’s course is an incredible opportunity for introspection outside of the comfort of our own outlook on the world. After eight weeks in her class, a safe haven has been created to share personal experiences without judgment.
“I have learned so much already… we are only midway through the semester and I have already learned so much more than I have learned in my health classes, for reasons like we are actually talking about sexuality, and not just ‘don’t have sex and you won’t get a, b and c’,” Toney said.
Nack, who is also the Director of the Public Health Program, is a major advocate for students safety and well-being.
“Many of our university’s best innovations and programs focused on sexual health have come from administrators supporting collaborations between faculty, students and staff,” Nack said.
Myhope is that even if CORE 21 does not include an additional health class, specifically for sexual education, that students make it a priority to educate themselves on safer sex practices.
“I hope that students will advocate for more support for courses and educational events which support their physical and mental health, including their sexual health,” Nack said.
This article was updated Oct. 26 at 9 a.m. to correct Adina Nack’s title.