New Mexico Sexual Health
NMSH Founder Renée LaVail, LMFT, CST, ASC began treating youth with problematic sexual behaviors in 2011. The multisystemic therapy program works directly with youth, parents, family members, friends, the community, the legal system, and state agencies. Some important takeaways from this experience were:
- Our society does not acknowledge the importance of science-informed sexual education and the necessity to educate our children about their bodies.
- Professionals such as therapists, probation officers, teachers, and judges often decide on sexually-related behavior based on limited training and personal experience—not scientific data.
- The public, even professionals, tend to react more fearfully toward acts that are sexual compared to other types of aggressive or harmful behavior.
LaVail explains, “The clinical insight we provided would meet with either profound appreciation or absolute disregard. Witnessing legal charges describing children as young as 11 as sex offenders—a stigma that could follow them for life—was difficult to accept. As a community, we need to do better.”
Explore the links below for more in-depth information on sexual health and comprehensive sexual education.