Asking for a Friend: Help! I want to learn more about sex, but it feels off-limits and I’m not sure where to go

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  • Each week, we respond to a question from our readers and give advice and resources they can turn to
  • This week, we help a student who wants to have a better sex education
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It’s perfectly normal to want to learn about sex, but make sure you’re getting the correct facts! Photo: Shutterstock

Need an answer to a personal question that you’ve never mustered the courage to ask? We’ve been there. Whether it is about school, family issues or social life, share your thoughts with us. If you have a question you’d like answered (about anything at all), please fill out this Google Form. Don’t worry – you will remain anonymous!

Dear Friend,

I have always been curious to learn more about sex, but it seems to be frowned upon if you talk about it at school. What should I do?

Best, Restless

Sex education in Hong Kong: Things you need to know, but were too afraid to ask

Dear Restless,

It’s pretty normal for teens to want to learn more about sex. During puberty, hormones affect your body, and it’s natural to have sexual feelings, thoughts and sensations.

As you mentioned, talking about sex can be sensitive and cause embarrassment or discomfort for some people. Here’s a little bit of advice we hope can help:

Talk to the right person

Make sure to find a trusted and mature person to talk to – maybe your best friend or a family member. If this feels too nerve-racking, you can reach out to other people, such as teachers, social workers or other health professionals. Having a bit of emotional distance may help you feel less anxious about asking your questions, and since they are professionals, they could give you more dependable feedback and appropriate information, and you could feel less worried about being judged.

Sex ed is very important, so don’t be ashamed about wanting to learn more. Photo: Shutterstock

Find the right place

Sensitive topics are better discussed in places where you can have some privacy.

You may be tempted to look for information somewhere online; while there are some verified and trusted sites in which you can find information, avoid discussing heartfelt ideas and personal information in a chat room or online with people you don’t know. This information could be visible to anyone, even years later, and you should be conscious of this and protect your digital footprint.

Hong Kong secondary students show better acceptance of gender identity, but lack sexual health knowledge

Find the right manner

Talking about sex can be interesting and informative as well as stressful. Make sure to prepare yourself for a serious discussion, and be respectful and courteous; if you’re speaking to a family member or friend, remember that this conversation could be just as awkward for them as you, and you don’t want them to feel made fun of or ashamed.

Sex is natural, normal, and healthy, and it’s important to be educated about subjects like sexuality, contraception and consent. It’s good you’re taking the steps to learn more, and we hope you get all the information you’re looking for!

If you need more information, here are a couple of resources:

Hope that helps, Friend of a Friend

The question was answered by clinical psychologists from the Department of Health under Shall We Talk, a mental health initiative launched with the Advisory Committee on Mental Health.

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