Cosmo is Not a Substitute for Sex-Ed

By Chelsea Feuchs, JWI Intern

The magazine rack in the checkout aisle rarely holds quality works of literature.  In fact, with the cycle of bikini bod criticisms and relationship rumors, one issue hardly stands out from the other; except, of course for Cosmo.  This is the “scandalous” magazine, purchased by giggling tweens and young women who want a dose of sex advice for each celebrity gossip page they read.

As harmless as this may appear week by week, a recent Jezebel article compiled some of the most outrageous sex suggestions Cosmo has given over the years.  Reading these tips all together, it struck me that only in a world saturated by images of sex but remarkably silent about personal experiences and fears can a magazine like this thrive.  Our sex education must be improved so that publications such as this, with suggestions that are often degrading to women, do not rule our perceptions about bedroom behavior.

While Cosmo discusses what kinds of chocolate sauce to lick off your man (their heterosexual exclusivity is astounding), many health classes do not teach students the basics of safer sex. When high school graduates don’t understand contraceptives or consent, we are doing something wrong.

I want to be part of a society that utilizes the information we have.  We know about HIV/AIDS and other STI’s.  We have many types of birth control.  We have the tools to educate people properly about safer sex, healthy relationships, and the importance of consent, but we need to put them into action.

For readers tired of trashy magazines supplying the most readily available information about sex to young adults today, make a change.  Advocate for comprehensive sex-ed at your local schools.  Let the teens in your life know that you care about their relationships, with friends and with romantic partners.  Look into the acclaimed program Our Whole Lives (OWL) for guidelines about comprehensive sex-ed.  Whatever you do, start the conversation about sexuality and relationships so that accurate and empowering information reaches teens today.

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