LIHUE — Sex education can be an embarrassing topic, but the YWCA is going to tackle it.
Women’s health nurse practitioner Virginia Beck will present a factual-but-humorous adventure during free classes at the Lihue Public Library.
“We really encourage the community to take advantage of this great opportunity for everybody to get more informed and get more comfortable with this topic that sometimes makes people blush or laugh,” said Renae Hamilton, YWCA of Kauai executive director.
Beck has been a nurse for more than 40 years.
“Our anatomy and our physiology is one of the most intricate biological machines on the planet, and we don’t give anyone an operating manual,” Beck said.
Beck has lived on Kauai for the last 50 years, but grew up on three continents and four islands with at least 13 different cultures. She said her attitudes are more open and compassionate to different ways of experiencing life.
“I’m a bit unorthodox, but I think that’s good,” Beck said. “You use humor with teens, you give them the facts, you make them aware that their choices can have repercussions.”
Class attendees will have opportunities to learn the the basics of the sexual system, from anatomy to safer sex, how the body and menstrual cycles work, and how to have a sexual life they can understand and control.
“When you honor young women and men for who they are and don’t preach to them, they can be safe and make wise decisions,” Beck said. “You just have to respect who people are and provide them with what they need.”
Both parents and youth are encouraged to attend the public classes.
“It’s important to hear accurate, honest, comprehensive education about sexual health, and Virginia will be a wonderful presenter,” said Hamilton. “She doesn’t shy away, and makes it fun.”
YWCA will also be sponsoring #MeTooKauai, a talk on sexual harassment. The free event with refreshments provided is scheduled 5:30 to 7 p.m. Jan. 24 at Ha Coffee Bar. A panel will share resources, experiences and laws pertaining to the issue.
“It’s just so timely with what we’ve all been hearing in the news about the #MeToo Movement,” Hamilton said.
Dr. Chia Granda will be there to help people learn what to do if they experience sexual harassment, along with lawyer Emiko Meyers speaking about legal remedies and options. Attendees will also have the opportunity to share concerns and suggestions for healing within the community.
“I don’t think there’s anything stopping this momentum of bringing more attention and really ending once and for all this sexual harassment,” Hamilton said, “so everybody can be treated with dignity and respect at all times.”
Beck’s passion for helping teens and young women understand sexuality is her driving force as a communicator and educator.
“It’s not about you just giving information,” Beck said. “It’s about you ensuring that the person at the other end of the conversation registers with you.”
Attending both sessions can give attendees the full toolbox on sex basics and reduce chances of pregnancy and disease. There will be displays and handouts on contraception and vaccinations.
The Sex Ed I presentation is scheduled Jan. 25, with Sex Ed II on Feb. 1, both at Lihue Public Library from 5 to 7 p.m. No reservations are required.
“I really care about people being healthy, and the sex talk is just one way I deliver the same message,” Beck said.