Guerrilla Sex Ed is an online resource for those seeking out alternative sources of sex education because traditional, school-based sex ed has failed them. This site also provides information for those who want to advocate for better sexuality education within their school districts, but don’t know where to begin.
Despite copious amounts of research indicating that comprehensive sexuality education is more effective than abstinence-only education at reducing unplanned pregnancies and STIs, Americans remain sharply divided on how to best educate adolescents and teenagers about sex. On the one side are those who believe that the more information a teen has, the better prepared they are to make decisions about their sexual health. On the other side are those who believe that the best way to prevent unplanned pregnancies and the spread of STIs is to promote abstinence, full stop. Supporters of abstinence-only curricula believe that to give teens too much information about sex itself — and how to have it safely — is tantamount to giving teens permission to do so. But when adolescents face relational and sexual decision-making they’re unprepared for, there are often negative consequences.
Not only that, but lesson plans that purposely exclude certain identities send a message to kids that they’re not supported. That they don’t belong. When you can’t see yourself in the lessons you’re learning around sexuality, it can feel as if what you want… what you feel… what you are… is wrong.
School districts across the country are divided on the issue, too, with some opting for abstinence-heavy curricula, some opting for evidence-based curricula, and others opting not to mandate any form of sexuality education at all. In fact, according to the Guttmacher Institute, only 24 states and the District of Columbia mandate sex education, and only 13 states require it to be “medically accurate.” This leaves many teens at a disadvantage, particularly LGBTQ+ teens, who continue to be underrepresented and even stigmatized in many sex ed curricula.
When it comes down to it, though, these inadequacies do not stem from lack of effort on the part of certified sexuality educators. Teachers can’t control the flow of federal funding to abstinence-only curricula. Teachers can’t make the final decisions about the curriculum each school district chooses to adopt. And no matter how hard educators push for more comprehensive curricula, local lawmakers continue to make things difficult for them.
Hamstrung by draconian laws and a lack of funding, what is an enterprising, conscientious sex educator to do? What are parents to do? Where are teens supposed to get the information they need?
GUERRILLA SEX ED was created as a response to these questions. Here, educators, parents, and teens will find a roadmap for self-education, self-advocacy, and educational innovation.
- a primer on the legislative barriers to sexuality education on a state-by-state basis
- information on how readers can advocate for more comprehensive sexuality education within their districts
- and a slew of resources for those who are either seeking out alternative sources of sexual health information or who are seeking to create their own sex ed programs.
Hopefully, GUERRILLA SEX ED can provide a way out for those who feel trapped by the system in which they’re living and working.
Steph Auteri: Founder of Guerrilla Sex Ed
Steph Auteri has been writing about sex for almost 20 years now and has been published in the Atlantic, the Washington Post, VICE, Pacific Standard, and elsewhere. She is the author of A Dirty Word, a reported memoir about the ways in which our culture treats female sexuality like a dirty word.
In the past, Steph has collaborated with a number of sexuality professionals on books, academic articles, and blog posts. She was the Senior Writer and Editor for the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) and a volunteer for the Center for Sex Education, an educational affiliate of Planned Parenthood.
As a professional sex writer who has seen the horrors that poorly-executed sex ed hath wrought, Steph became both fascinated and dismayed by our country’s system of traditional, school-based sex education… particularly since her daughter was born. She now teaches a class on sex-positive parenting through PULP Public School, and she continues to write about sexuality — especially sexuality education — for a number of publications.
But is it enough? This online resource is her attempt to increase accessibility to sexuality education for those who are not receiving comprehensive, inclusive education within their school systems.