HUMAN SEXUALITY, BY HERDT AND POLEN.
Sexual literacy is the knowledge and skills needed to achieve sexual well-being in life. It’s taken society so long to realize that sexuality is a whole lot more than disease prevention. From the lack of sex education that we experienced in growing up, to the gap in holistic sexuality we came to experience in our college education, and on to the lack of accurate information that is out there online and in the media, we think sexual literacy is vitally important in the 21st century. This is how we can support people’s sexuality through acceptance of their desires and pleasure, intimate relationships, and the aspiration to want to experience sexual happiness throughout the life cycle.
Our approach takes each person as unique by focusing on their sexual individuality, even as we place behavior in the full context of culture, society, and such forces as the Internet, religion, and human rights. These are the huge institutions that help shape sexual literacy or illiteracy in today’s world, and we provide the knowledge and tools to critically think about them. Positive and holistic sexuality in our approach also requires emotional literacy, that is, knowing the words and meanings and ways of communicating feelings, needs, and goals in intimate relationships, providing the possibility for both pleasure and protection. To put a personal face on these challenges in the classroom, we have structured our book in the form of the narrative of sexual literacy not only drawing upon the latest research but also using our own experiences, the questions of our students, the experiences people have brought to the classroom, and the great changes occurring in society today, for example, through the emergence of new sexual cultures, diversity, and sexuality emerges as a human right.