What is sex education and what is its purpose?
Sex education is acquiring information about the development of our bodies, sexuality, sex, and sexual behavior. Sex education aids people to get the information, motivation, and abilities to make the right decisions about sex and sexuality. Teenagers need this kind of information in order to make the right choices and protect themselves. There is controversy in whether sex education should be taught at schools, and often they teach abstinence only, but the fact that teens are not aware of this information leads to them making bad decisions on account of their ignorance. Sex education should be mandatory in all high-schools.
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Sex education plays a major role in the reduction of teenage pregnancies. It has been proven that sex education can help to scale down teenage pregnancies and births. In 2002, researchers from the University of Washington did a study on heterosexual teens ages 15-19. This study was based on 1,719 teens. The results showed that 25% of teenagers were taught abstinence-only education, 9% received no education at all, and 66% were taught sex education with mention of birth control. The teenagers who received sexual education were 60% less likely to become pregnant, or get someone else pregnant, than those who received no sexual education. Teenagers who received the abstinence-only education were 30% less likely to become pregnant, than those who did not receive any sexual education. In this study it is evident that sex education does help to reduce teenage pregnancies and that it should be taught.
The information you get on sex education should be from appropriate sources such as schools. In actuality, sex scenes and sex advertisement are everywhere. Sex scenes in TV shows and movies are fairly common, even when you are browsing the internet there is pages advertising sex that could give teenagers the wrong idea of how sex works. Parents being uncomfortable with discussing sex-related topics lead to teenagers searching for answers in the web and usually that information can be wrong or misleading. A clear example of this is pornography. Because of this, it is important that kids get this vital information from reliable sources such as well-trained teachers and school authorities, not from TV shows, movies or pornography.
Getting the proper sex education needed, reduces the number of teenagers with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). With sex education, teens can be aware that the major cause of an STD is sexual intercourse. Even oral sex can be a cause of a sexually transmitted disease. The LGBT+ youth also needs to be included in this narrative. Some teens think that if you’re having sex with someone of the same sex that there’s no actual risk, but that is not true. Some teenage boys think you don’t need a condom when having sexual intercourse with another boy, that is also false information. STDs can be transmitted from someone of the same sex. Sexual education teaches teens to insure their partners are tested for any type of sexually transmitted disease before participating in any kind of sexual act with them. “The purposes of school health education about AIDS/STDS are to prevent and control the spread of HIV/STD, and raise the level of understanding about associated problems. The goal is to promote behavior that prevents the transmission of HIV/STD.” (World Health Organization & Unesco, 1992).
Having sex education in schools can lower the rate of sexual abuse in children and provides them a way out. There are many teenagers who are sexually abused but do not come forward to the authorities about it and sometimes it is due to the fact that they do not comprehend what sexual abuse is. Teenagers are often vulnerable and can be preyed on without them even noticing. When they don’t receive the proper education about the subject, they don’t know that people can take advantage of them sexually (Finkelhor, pp. 169–194). Finkelhor also states that the ultimate goal is to teach skills to aid teenagers to identify dangerous situations and prevent sexual abuse. For example: teach them how to identify violation of boundaries, touching or forms of contact that are unnecessary or unwanted, and how to say no to improper invitations.
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On the other hand, some people say that sex education is not effective and does not give out the proper information to help teenagers in making the right decisions for themselves. A survey made showed that 26.4 percent of the students complained that the sex education taught was not enough and the teachers who were responsible hardly discussed about sex at all. (Parents, teachers still embarrassed about sex, 2010). However, research proved that sex education does facilitate information that is very needed and reduces sexual activity as teenagers received the right information from the classes. Some parents and teachers try to impose the abstinence-only method, which is not having sex at all. But when sexual abuse is present, there is no such thing as abstinence, so teens should be informed anyway.
In conclusion, sex education is extremely necessary for teenagers to be informed and make the right decisions. Teens need the opportunity to make choices considering all the factors involved, and with sex education they get that opportunity. Teens are most likely to engage in sexual activity anyway, so it is way better if they have their facts straight. This way they don’t go in blind. Sex and sexuality can be scary to teens when they are uncertain. The public should encourage the PTA to make a campaign to promote safe sex and all schools in the Miami Dade district should get on board with it. It can be something small like hiring actual experts on the subject so teens get their information from a good source. It can also be parents willing to teach their children the basics of safe sex. The change starts with us.
- Bridges, Emily, and Hauser, Debra. “Sexuality Education.” Advocates for Youth, May 2014, advocatesforyouth.org/resources/fact-sheets/sexuality-education-2/.
- Finkelhor, David. “The Prevention of Childhood Sexual Abuse.” The Future of Children, vol. 19, no. 2, 2009, pp. 169–194. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/27795052. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.
- Kohler, Pamela K., et al. “Abstinence-Only and Comprehensive Sex Education and the Initiation of Sexual Activity and Teen Pregnancy.” Journal of Adolescent Health, vol. 42, no. 4, 2008, pp. 344–351., doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2007.08.026.
- “Parents, Teachers Still Embarrassed about Sex.” Parents, Teachers Still Embarrassed about Sex - China.org.cn, Shanghai Daily, 22 Dec. 2010, www.china.org.cn/china/2010-12/22/content_21593396.htm.
- World Health Organization, School Health Education to Prevent AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases. WHO & UNESCO, 1994.
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