Thirty boys in the same hall, talking about STIs, contraception and healthy relationships would usually be an uncomfortable situation for any young adolescent student. However, thanks to the safe environment created by the mature, experienced speakers, the talks and lectures by these professionals in their specific field opened up the eyes of many students on sexual education and how it can affect someone’s life.

The first talk of three led by Kerry Addison was on the topic of sexually transmitted infections. STIs aren’t what fourteen-fifteen-year olds would talk about on a day to day basis, but in this fact-filled lecture, Ms. Addison’s direct approach to this sensitive topic allowed us to become more aware of the seriousness of these infections and how they spread and affect our lives. I thought that her use of examples of different scenarios of the contraction of STIs involving my fellow classmates allowed us to get a broader understanding of the epidemic and how it can be prevented.

The second lecture taught by Patricia Butler seemed to follow on from the first as it looked at the different methods of contraception, how affected they are and how to use them to prevent pregnancy. As my class and I sat down in the hall, I instantly felt a sudden awkward silence swarm over the group as another topic stereotyped as discomforting that isn’t commonly talked about between underage school students. However, yet again the speaker’s methods on recognising the different contraceptives such as the pill and the condom and how to use them became less and less of a sensitive subject within the hall as students stared intently at her diagrams of the male and female reproductive system and how each contraceptive associates with them. Her understanding that it was an unmentioned theme combined with her expert level of knowledge on the matter made our time with her very enjoyable from an educational perspective.

The third talk, run by Chanel Stevens, was on the idea of healthy relationships and how we as adolescents define them with different people. Throughout this talk, Ms. Stevens used a variety of approaches to helping us comprehend essential issues in society such as rape, consent, and sexual assault as well as using examples of thought-provoking scenarios in which these issues play a crucial part. I found that her way of giving every student a chance to speak instead of just speaking on and on for an hour or so meant that everyone had a more developed comprehension on the matter as they could ask questions without being judges on certain things they don’t understand. I also thought it was interesting how we as a class were able to come up with the concept of loyalty as the key characteristic within relationships between family members, friends or of sexual nature.

After the three talks had ended and we left the hall to go to our final two lessons of the day, I felt like as a student who hadn’t been taught to much about sexual education and was always pressured into thinking that the subject was of an inappropriate nature that I was finally able to speak out about certain things that once made me feel uncomfortable and have a wider grasp on those topics that are normally pushed to the side rather than actually being taught before it’s too late.