What happens during our teenage years? Hormones are raging, bodies are changing, and we as a generation all have a desire for something, but here in Nicaragua, we often don’t know what that desire is – or if we do, a warped and twisted version of it. What is it? Sex. This is often a crucial part of being alive, a huge part of growing up, and a massive component of a person’s teenage years. And, from I have seen here in Nicaragua, this is a pretty problematic topic. This is because we aren’t born naturally just ‘knowing’ what to do. Our parents, our teachers, and our friends often teach us, and this allows us to know what to do, and when it’s an appropriate time to do it. But from what I’ve seen, in my mere 6 months in Nicaragua, is that there is none of that here. No words, no discussion, no whispered speech — nothing. However, without this education, we often do things wrong.
Contorted preconceptions, a lack of self control, and fear are often seen when a lack of education is apparent, rippling into our lives in just the ways you’d expect like with date rape, chastity until the 30s, and abortions. Now, these are secretive, taboo things, completely not allowed in today’s society. For instance, abortions are illegal in many areas, and shunned in others. A 30-year-old virgin is considered to be naïve. Rape is illegal everywhere in the world. Yet, we still have people who think rape isn’t a reality unless it is from an attacker with a gun in the middle of a dark alley, people who think they won’t get pregnant at night because the sperm are asleep, and unfortunate souls who are so afraid of sex that they act like it is the living embodiment of sin.
How can we as a community help solve this issue? For starters, a sex-ed class. Even just the smallest bit of information, ranging from biological information to the more personal, how-to side of things, helps. And, in a community where alcohol is as common as it is here, it’s shocking that there isn’t anything on either using protection, knowing what ‘no’ means, or both. We need a class on what a real relationship involves, rather than leaving students to find out what to do on the internet, a place where everything is blown out of proportion. Or a class about pregnancy. Anything would be better than what we have now. Sex is a part of real life, and teenagers are often disconnected from that, but we can still make real life mistakes, ones that affect us far into the future. A sex-ed class is something that is needed, needed desperately, here in Nicaragua, and we don’t have one — but it is needed, and should be implemented as soon as possible.