Why Maeve Wiley is the Breakout Star of Sex Education

Maeve Sex Education program aims to provide comprehensive, evidence-based information about sexuality and relationships to teenagers and young adults. The goal is to empower youth with knowledge, communication skills, and resources to make informed decisions about their sexual health and well-being.

Unlike abstinence-only programs, Maeve takes a sex-positive approach that recognizes sexuality as a normal, healthy part of life. The curriculum covers topics far beyond just anatomy and reproduction. Subjects like consent, sexual orientation, gender identity, healthy relationships, and media literacy are all addressed.

The target audience is adolescents aged 13-19. This age range spans key developmental milestones like puberty, emerging romantic attractions, and increasing independence. Providing age-appropriate sex Maeve Sex Education during the teen years equips youth to navigate these changes and make safe, ethical choices.

Maeve aims to fill knowledge gaps left by insufficient school-based sex ed programs. All information is medically accurate, inclusive of diverse identities and experiences, and respectful of personal values. Maeve encourages open conversations around sexuality to empower teens and young adults.

Anatomy and Body Image

Understanding anatomy is an important part of developing a healthy relationship with your body. Here are some key terms and concepts:

  • External genitalia – the visible sex organs, including the penis and testicles in males, and the vulva in females. The vulva includes the clitoris, labia, vaginal opening, and urethra.

  • Internal reproductive organs – inside the body, these include the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes in females, and the testes, prostate gland, seminal vesicles, and vas deferens in males.

  • Secondary sex characteristics – physical features that develop during puberty, including pubic and underarm hair, enlarged breasts and wider hips in females, facial hair, Adam’s apple, and deepened voice in males. These reflect changes influenced by hormones.

  • Menstruation – the monthly discharge of blood and tissue from the uterus that begins at puberty in females. It results from cyclical hormonal changes and marks the body’s preparation for potential pregnancy each month.

Common questions about anatomy include:

  • Why don’t I look like models in magazines? Media images are often heavily edited and do not reflect realistic body diversity. Comparing yourself to others is unhealthy. Focus on appreciating your unique body.

  • Is my genitalia normal? There is wide variation in genital appearance, and most differences are normal. Some common concerns like breast or penis size tend to even out with age. If worried, discuss with a doctor.

  • Why is my voice changing? Voice changes in males during puberty result from the hormone testosterone. This is a normal part of development.

  • When will I get my period? Menstruation usually begins between ages 10-15, but varies individually. Talk to a trusted adult if you have concerns.

Developing a positive body image involves accepting natural variations in anatomy, avoiding harmful comparisons, caring for your body through nutrition and activity, and focusing on qualities beyond physical appearance.

Puberty and Development

It is initiated by hormonal signals from the brain to the gonads. Each person experiences puberty differently in terms of timing, order, and speed of changes.

Physical Changes

In girls, the first sign of puberty is usually breast development. Over the course of several years, breasts continue to grow in size and fullness. Pubic and underarm hair also starts to grow, initially sparse and straight and then coarser and curlier as puberty progresses. Girls experience a growth spurt and gain weight, particularly in the hips and thighs. Menstruation and ovulation begin, meaning a girl can get pregnant once ovulation starts.

In boys, the first sign is testicular enlargement. Over time, the penis grows longer, and pubic, underarm, facial, and body hair becomes darker and coarser. The voice deepens as the larynx grows, and boys experience growth spurts, gaining muscle mass and broader shoulders. They may have temporary breast growth during puberty as hormone levels fluctuate.

Emotional Changes

Puberty causes emotional and social changes as well as physical ones. Hormonal surges lead to mood swings, such as irritability or sensitivity. Teens start to develop an adult identity and care more about appearance, which affects self-esteem and confidence. Interest in romantic relationships emerges. Conflicts may arise as teens assert their independence. While these emotional growing pains are typical, if they become overwhelming, counseling can help provide support.


The start of menstruation is called menarche. Periods are irregular at first and may take a couple years to become regular. Menstrual cycles range from 21-45 days. Periods last 2-7 days on average. Common symptoms include cramps, bloating, headaches, tender breasts, acne, mood swings, and food cravings. Menstruation means pregnancy is possible if ovulation occurs. Managing menstruation takes preparation and practice. Tracking cycles, using pads and tampons, carrying supplies, and taking over-the-counter pain relievers are useful skills.

Common Experiences

Puberty can be an awkward or embarrassing time. Teens may feel self-conscious about their changing body and new sexual feelings. It’s important to know experiences like voice cracking, body odor, acne, wet dreams, and vaginal discharge are normal parts of puberty. Open communication with caregivers provides an opportunity to ask questions and get advice. Hygiene habits like showering, deodorant use, and washing genitals daily help teens feel more comfortable in their changing bodies.

Relationships and Communication

Healthy relationships are built on mutual care, trust, respect and consent. Setting clear boundaries and communicating openly are essential.

  • Consent is freely given, reversible, informed, enthusiastic and specific. Partners should regularly check in with each other. Consenting to one act does not imply consent to others.

  • Setting boundaries means expressing what you are comfortable with in a relationship. Boundaries can evolve over time. Communicate boundaries clearly and respect your partner’s boundaries.

  • Communication is key. Discuss wants, needs, values, relationship status, sexual health history, likes/dislikes. Don’t make assumptions. Create an environment where you both feel safe sharing.

  • Difficult conversations – Disagreements happen. Approach them calmly and focus on resolving the issue. Reflect on your role. Compromise. Seek counseling if needed. Ending relationships respectfully maintains dignity.

Healthy relationships empower both partners to feel valued, respected, heard, and cared for emotionally and physically. Fostering open communication and respecting each other’s boundaries creates the foundation.

Identity and Gender

Gender identity and sexual orientation are complex topics that many young people have questions about as they develop their sense of self during puberty and young adulthood. It’s completely normal to feel unsure or still be figuring things out.

Gender Identity

Gender identity refers to your internal sense of your own gender, whether you identify as male, female, non-binary, genderfluid, or another identity. It’s different than the sex you were assigned at birth. Some people’s gender identity aligns with their sex assigned at birth, while others differ. There’s no right or wrong gender identity. Focus on exploring yourself and being true to who you are.

Sexual Orientation

Sexual orientation refers to who you’re romantically or sexually attracted to. Some common sexual orientations include heterosexual (attracted to the opposite gender), homosexual (attracted to the same gender), bisexual (attracted to multiple genders), pansexual (attracted to all genders), and asexual (experiencing little or no sexual attraction). Sexual orientation exists on a spectrum and can change over time. It’s normal to question and explore.

Common Questions

Many teens wonder if their attractions or feelings mean they might be gay, lesbian, bisexual or something else. It’s okay not to be sure. Focus on living authentically, treating others with respect, and finding supportive friends and mentors. While some know their identity early, it’s also common to continue exploring into adulthood. Give yourself permission to figure things out over time.

The most important thing is to know you’re not alone. Many resources exist to support LGBTQ+ youth in understanding, accepting, and celebrating themselves. If you’re questioning your identity or struggling with feeling different, consider reaching out to a counselor, teacher, doctor, or support hotline. There are caring adults who want to help, though finding the right person can take patience. With an open and understanding approach, you can thrive as your unique self.

Safer Sex Practices

Engaging in safer sex practices is crucial for protecting your sexual health and preventing issues like sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unintended pregnancy. There are many methods and resources available to help individuals practice safer sex.


Using contraception or birth control is one of the most effective ways to prevent pregnancy during sex. There are lots of contraceptive options to explore, including:

  • Condoms – Worn on a penis or sex toy. Male and female condoms provide protection against both STIs and pregnancy.

  • Birth control pills – Taken daily to prevent ovulation and thicken cervical mucus to block sperm. Do not protect against STIs.

  • IUDs – Small, T-shaped devices inserted into the uterus by a doctor to prevent fertilization. Last 3-12 years depending on type.

  • Implants – Tiny rods implanted in the arm that release hormones to prevent ovulation and thicken cervical mucus for 3-5 years.

  • Shots – Injections of the hormone progestin every 1-3 months to prevent ovulation.

  • Patches – Thin plastic patches placed on the skin that release hormones to prevent pregnancy. Must be replaced weekly.

  • Vaginal rings – Flexible rings inserted into the vagina that release hormones for 3 weeks at a time.

It’s important to discuss contraception with your healthcare provider to find the right method for your needs and lifestyle. Using contraception consistently and correctly is key for effectiveness.

STI Prevention

Along with contraception, barrier methods like condoms, dental dams, and gloves help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections during oral, vaginal, and anal sex. Getting regularly tested for STIs and having open communication with partners are also important prevention steps.

Vaccinations are available to protect against STIs like HPV and Hepatitis B. Using protection and having awareness about STIs can help individuals make informed choices to lower risks.


There are many resources to help learn about and access contraception and STI prevention methods:

  • Doctors and sexual health clinics provide information, testing, prescriptions, and access to contraception.

  • School nurses and counselors may be able to offer guidance on sexual health.

  • Online resources like Planned Parenthood and Bedsider provide education on all available contraceptive options.

  • Local health departments and community centers may offer free or low-cost contraception, testing, and treatment.

  • LGBTQ+ centers and youth organizations often provide inclusive sexual health services.

Practicing safer sex is important for everyone, regardless of age, gender, or background. Seeking accurate information and making informed decisions can help individuals take charge of their sexual health.

Consent and Healthy Sexuality

Consent is an essential component of healthy sexuality. It refers to freely given, reversible, informed, enthusiastic, and specific permission to engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. Consent should never be assumed, it must be explicitly communicated.

It’s important to have open and honest conversations with partners about consent. Check in frequently, pay attention to body language, and don’t make assumptions. Consent can be withdrawn at any time, for any reason. A person’s willingness to engage in one sexual act does not imply consent for further acts. Silence or lack of resistance does not equal consent.

Coercion invalidates consent. Coercion could involve emotional manipulation, threats, guilt-tripping, or persistence after being told no. A power imbalance between partners can also create a coercive dynamic. True consent is freely given without any coercion, intimidation, or threats.

Healthy sexuality involves respecting each other’s boundaries. If someone indicates through their words or behaviors that they are hesitant, uncomfortable, or unsure, stop and check in. It’s essential to honor each other’s boundaries, even if you don’t understand or agree with them. Pressuring someone into unwanted activity is unethical and harmful.

With open communication, mutual care, and respect for boundaries, consent can be a healthy and positive part of relationships and sexuality. The culture around consent continues to evolve, and it’s important we each do our part to normalize these vital conversations.

Navigating Media and Pornography

The media and pornography often portray unrealistic depictions of sex and relationships that can negatively impact viewers’ expectations and self-image. It’s important to recognize that pornography is a performance designed for entertainment, not an educational resource.

Some problems with pornography include:

  • Unrealistic and exaggerated portrayals of human anatomy, sexual responses, and behaviors. Most porn depicts a narrow range of body types and sexual acts.

  • Lack of communication and consent practices. Porn often shows people engaging in sexual acts without any conversation, boundaries, or concern for consent.

  • Dehumanizing or harmful behavior. Some porn promotes aggression, lack of concern for partners’ pleasure, or unsafe practices.

  • Stereotyping people. Porn frequently relies on racial, gender, and other stereotypes.

  • Potential for unhealthy comparison. Viewing idealized bodies and acts could lower self-esteem and relationship satisfaction.

To develop healthy expectations and behaviors, it’s important to seek out ethical, diverse sources of sex education and remember that porn is not reality. If consuming porn, look for feminist, ethical productions that promote consent and pleasure for all partners. Focus on open communication in real relationships, not comparisons to fantasy standards. Though navigating media and porn can be challenging, with the right mindset and education, people can maintain positive self-image and relationships.

Accessing Health Services

Seeking out health services and having open conversations is an important part of taking care of yourself. Here are some tips for accessing the resources you need:

Local Clinics

  • Look up clinics in your area that provide sexual health services to teens. Many offer free or low-cost services like STI testing, birth control, counseling, and more.

  • Ask if they have youth-friendly hours or teen clinics. Many try to cater specifically to young people’s needs.

  • See if they accept drop-ins or if you need an appointment. This can help make access easier.

  • Know that you can receive confidential services without a parent or guardian’s permission in many areas. Ask the clinic about their consent policies.

Online Resources

  • Many online tools allow you to ask questions, take quizzes, get information, and even request mail delivery of things like at-home STI tests.

  • Search for youth-focused sexual health websites that provide judgement-free information.

  • Be cautious about sharing personal information online and make sure sites are credible. Stick to well-known organizations.

Talking with Parents/Trusted Adults

  • Identify a parent, teacher, counselor, doctor, or other adult you trust to have an open, caring conversation with.

  • Ask if they can help connect you to information and services or just listen and support you. Even if it’s awkward, most want to help.

  • If you don’t feel comfortable talking with the adults in your life, that’s okay too. The other resources here are still available to you.

  • Remember you deserve to get your needs met and there are always caring people ready to help, even if they’re not immediately obvious.

Conclusion and Summary

In conclusion, sex education empowers young people with the knowledge to make informed decisions about relationships, identity, and overall health. Key points covered in this guide include:

  • Understanding anatomy, puberty, and development
  • Building healthy relationships and open communication
  • Exploring identity and gender in a thoughtful way
  • Practicing consent, safety, and positive sexuality
  • Evaluating media and pornography with a critical lens
  • Accessing health resources and support systems

Comprehensive sex education provides a foundation of knowledge, but learning is lifelong. Continue expanding perspectives, ask questions, and keep an open mind. Emma Mackey Developing sexuality is a journey – approach it with care, empathy and courage.

There are many great resources available for further learning. Reach out to health organizations or inclusive communities to continue the conversation. Most importantly, know that you are worthy of respect, care and love. Our relationships shape us profoundly. May we build a society where all people can express their full humanity with compassion.

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