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If you haven't already been checking it out, Scarleteen is an invaluable resource for sex education and frank information for young people; it hosts around 200 comprehensive sexuality, health and relationship articles, guides and factsheets, as well as over 1,000 in-depth advice answers and extensive external resource lists for each topical section of the site. It even has a collective blog and an amazing dictionary of sexuality terms. This past month, a number of amazing sex educators have contributed to the Scarleteen Blog Carnival, designed to get a variety of voices in on the action as well as spread information regarding Scarleteen (including how you can donate to the cause!) For my Babeland.com contribution to the Scarleteen Blog Carnival, I am writing about why sex education is so important, specifically emphasizing why we should do what we can to support Scarleteen.com and keep good information open and accessible to young people. I started the discussion by putting the question to my own friends: Why is sex ed for youth so important?Christina, a recent UC Berkeley Psychology Graduate with a passion for sex education and information, put it frankly: "if we don't provide information, they will make it up. Because we want to encourage healthy and safe sexual practices, which grow out of good information and education. Because we want our children to see sex as a healthy part of their lives. Because if they think it's scary or dirty, they will be scared and sad and anxious, with their partners and spouses, and have difficulty with this normal part of relationships. Because if they are uneducated, they will make bad decisions, and put themselves and others at risk. Because without information, they will not be sexually confident, and will be vulnerable to others taking advantage of them. Because young people seek out information, forbidden or no, and we'd rather have them learn from us then from those who seek to influence them, or from those who know no better themselves."Christina also sent me this link to a photo slideshow from Slate.com of sex ed ads from Europe. She must have been reading my mind, because in the same moment, I was writing about how I recently had a chat with Babeland founder Rachel Venning about her trip to Germany. That talk took me back to when I myself traveled there, at the ripe age of 13. I remember this trip was the first time I saw boobs on the front of a magazine, out in front on the magazine rack (no brown paper wrapper) on the street near the cafe where we sipped our tea. There I also saw nudity on TV and learned about a different culture's less "puritanical" look at sexuality. If I have learned anything in my travels and experiences, it is that there is always something new to learn. Being open to learning and growing are very valuable traits in anyone, and that is what communicating about sex and sexuality does: it helps us to grow and understand ourselves, our life force and our power.Mark echoed a similar philosophy in his response to my question on Babeland's Facebook page, saying that "education is so important, western civilization is so behind other cultures and world attitudes regarding sex. The chastity belt some religions impose through their doctrine, as well inhibit open education and acceptance. It's time people realize that sexually uneducated children grow up and propagate the same fears and moral misunderstandings to the next generation. I moved to a state recently only to find that it has a law stating that it is illegal to posses a dildo, unless it's for education purposes. But adult teachers are embarrassed to use one in a class room for education. It's easier to turn on a pre-approved video and sit back and watch the lesson."In light of my own young experiences and considering my curiosity for life, who knows what I would have possibly seen by the time I was my daughter's (or, say, Willow Smith's) age, growing up nowadays! At 11 and 9 respectively, these kids are already grown up, in a sense. They are learning a lot about the world, every single day, and it truly amazes me how smart our children are. My daughter is still looking over my shoulder and asking questions at a rapid rate. I feel blessed that I can teach her and guide her, but also navigate her, as well as my own, limits. What happens, though, when a kid has a question and they don't have someone to talk to? These days, almost everyone does the same thing: they Google it. (Enter white screening and other ways that the Internet is trying to protect our children from the multi-million dollar industry of S.E.X.)When I was young and the Internet was a baby, things were different. I had to get my information from different places. I still remember what I ingested at a young age, including MTV, found Playboys, and anything that got my curious little mind going. The truth is that all children are the same as we were - they will one day be adults and like us, they will have to take time to process what they see, hear, and experience. Today, the Internet and all of its information can seem to be a blessing or a curse. I believe Scarleteen is one of the blessings.In the end, thinking about this project can make my mind wander to a lot of places, but I always try to come back to what's most important. I know sometimes my purpose in this world is not so much as the storyteller, but as the link or the messenger. So I have tried to include some links for you (mostly to posts at Moms in Babeland and AAGBlog) and a little bit of a story. I hope to leave you with what's important. My first thought is power. Sex is powerful. Knowledge is powerful.For these reasons, I am forever grateful for my opportunities to talk to the world via new forms of media, which are sprouting every day. I do believe sex education is not only important, it is vital and that is what makes Scarleteen so invaluable. I would like to thank Heather Corinna and AAG for their drive and diligence to keep this site as open and informative as possible. Please read more about the Scarleteen Blog Carnival and donate whatever you can. Whether it's a few dollars, a repost of this message or a conversation with someone you care about: spreading the word about sex positive information and communication is not just important, it is essential for a healthy life! These are just some of the ways we can all make it better for ourselves, each other and children: not just those in the United States, but all over the world. Thank you so much, Scarleteen! And thank you for reading. Please take this opportunity to donate now and learn more. and world attitudes regarding sex. The chastity belt some religions impose through their doctrine, as well inhibit open education and acceptance. It's time people realize that sexually uneducated children grow up and propagate the same fears and moral misunderstandings to the next generation. I moved to a state recently only to find that it has a law stating that it is illegal to posses a dildo, unless it's for education purposes. But adult teachers are embarrassed to use one in a class room for education. It's easier to turn on a pre-approved video and sit back and watch the lesson."In light of my own young experiences and considering my curiosity for life, who knows what I would have possibly seen by the time I was my daughter's (or, say, Willow Smith's) age, growing up nowadays! At 11 and 9 respectively, these kids are already grown up, in a sense. They are learning a lot about the world, every single day, and it truly amazes me how smart our children are. My daughter is still looking over my shoulder and asking questions at a rapid rate. I feel blessed that I can teach her and guide her, but also navigate her, as well as my own, limits. What happens, though, when a kid has a question and they don't have someone to talk to? These days, almost everyone does the same thing: they Google it. (Enter white screening and other ways that the Internet is trying to protect our children from the multi-million dollar industry of S.E.X.)When I was young and the Internet was a baby, things were different. I had to get my information from different places. I still remember what I ingested at a young age, including MTV, found Playboys, and anything that got my curious little mind going. The truth is that all children are the same as we were - they will one day be adults and like us, they will have to take time to process what they see, hear, and experience. Today, the Internet and all of its information can seem to be a blessing or a curse. I believe Scarleteen is one of the blessings.In the end, thinking about this project can make my mind wander to a lot of places, but I always try to come back to what's most important. I know sometimes my purpose in this world is not so much as the storyteller, but as the link or the messenger. So I have tried to include some links for you (mostly to posts at Moms in Babeland and AAGBlog) and a little bit of a story. I hope to leave you with what's important. My first thought is power. Sex is powerful. Knowledge is powerful.For these reasons, I am forever grateful for my opportunities to talk to the world via new forms of media, which are sprouting every day. I do believe sex education is not only important, it is vital and that is what makes Scarleteen so invaluable. I would like to thank Heather Corinna and AAG for their drive and diligence to keep this site as open and informative as possible. Please read more about the Scarleteen Blog Carnival and donate whatever you can. Whether it's a few dollars, a repost of this message or a conversation with someone you care about: spreading the word about sex positive information and communication is not just important, it is essential for a healthy life! These are just some of the ways we can all make it better for ourselves, each other and children: not just those in the United States, but all over the world. Thank you so much, Scarleteen! And thank you for reading. Please take this opportunity to donate now and learn more.