Reasons why sex education should be taught in schools

Overview

Teaching children about sex is not an easy task. Children and adolescents require much more than a one-time conversation about birds and bees in these times of precocious pre-teens, teen pregnancies, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Preventing pregnancy and having healthy sex should be continual, age-appropriate discussions.

In an ideal world, children would receive all of their information from their parents at home, but school should also be a valuable source of information. Abstinence-only schooling has been demonstrated time and time again to be ineffective.

Sex Education in the United States

In the United States, three types of sex education curricula are used: Abstinence-Only, Abstinence-Plus, and Comprehensive curricula. “Abstinence-Only” and “Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage” are two different types of abstinence. Abstinence is taught as the only ethically sound path for youths in these programs, which are also known as Sexual Risk Avoidance Programs. These curricula do not cover the use of contraception or condoms for disease prevention, much alone unplanned pregnancies. “Abstinence-Plus” education includes contraceptive and condom knowledge, but emphasizes abstinence until marriage. Youth are taught that sexuality is a natural and healthy part of life through “Comprehensive Sex Education.” This curriculum not only covers abstinence as the most effective strategy for youth to avoid unexpected pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases and infections, but it also prepares them to make informed decisions. The Comprehensive curriculum includes a wide range of shame-free themes such as human development, relationships, interpersonal skills, sexual expression, and more without inciting shame.

According to research funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services, abstinence-only curricula do not improve the sexual health of adolescents in the United States. Despite evidence that this method is ineffectual, over $1 billion in state and federal funds has been spent for abstinence-only education since 1996. Students in the United States frequently get sex education that is neither evidence-based nor values-neutral. Despite the fact that millions of children have benefited from federally funded abstinence programs, the 2004 Waxman Report found that 11 of the 13 curricula were inaccurate, containing unproven claims, subjective conclusions, or outright lies about reproductive health, gender traits, and the beginning of life. More than four out of ten high schools do not offer condom usage information in their sex education classes.

Top 10 Reasons to Support Sex Education in Schools

Here are ten reasons why schools should teach comprehensive sex education.

  1. Failure of Abstinence-Only Education

It has been proven time and over again through research: The rate at which teens opt to have sex is unaffected by abstinence-only instruction. 2 Given that abstinence-only education’s major goal is to achieve this, it’s evident that it doesn’t work.

  1. Teens Need to Be Aware of Safer Alternatives

One of the most serious drawbacks of abstinence-only education is that it denies youth the opportunity to learn about other viable alternatives to abstinence. This is a critical issue, given that no kind of sex education has been proved to properly convince teenagers not to have sex. 3

Parents and instructors, presumably, want their children to be as healthy and happy as possible. Even if those teens aren’t managing to conform to the standards of behavior that adults deem ideal, one would hope that this is true.

  1. Sex Education Doesn’t Boost Sexual Attraction

It doesn’t mean it will rain just because you have a raincoat on. Studies showing that abstinence-only education does not prevent children from having sex have a silver lining. What exactly is it, exactly? Other studies have found that distributing condoms in schools does not lead to increased promiscuity among children.

Numerous studies conducted over the last two decades have repeatedly shown that providing comprehensive sex education in schools has no negative consequences that most people fear. Providing condoms in schools, in other words, does not encourage adolescents to start having sex earlier or more frequently.

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  1. One in every two teenagers has had a sexual encounter

Teens are sexually active in big numbers.

In 2015, 41% of high school students have had sex at least once, according to the Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance Survey, or YRBSS.

Other discoveries include:

  • Four or more sexual partners accounted for 11.5 percent of the total.
  • The last time they had sex, 57 percent of sexually active students used condoms.
  • Only 18% of those polled said they had taken birth control tablets.

In addition, one-fifth of sexually active high school students had used drugs or alcohol prior to their most recent sex.

  1. Start Safe and Stay Safe

Those who start using condoms from the first time they have intercourse score higher on various sexual health metrics than teens who don’t, according to a 2007 study published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Over 4,000 teenagers were monitored for an average of nearly seven years by the researchers. They discovered that those who used condoms for their first sexual encounter had the same number of sexual partners as those who did not.

In addition, they were 30% more likely to use condoms during their most recent sexual encounter. They were also just half as likely to develop gonorrhea and chlamydia infections.

  1. Boys Should Be Taught to Be Good Men

Getting the right health care is an important part of staying healthy. Many boys quit seeking preventative health care as they get older. 8 This reduces their chances of being screened for STDs, among other things.

Holding traditional notions about masculinity is one of the most significant risk factors for not getting help. It’s critical that young men understand early on that one of the most “manly” things they can do is to take care of their health.

  1. Sex Ed Doesn’t Encourage Sex

Sex Education Doesn’t Urge Sex Sex education does not encourage children to have sex. Good comprehensive programs, like abstinence-only programs, teach students that abstinence is the only surefire way to avoid pregnancy and STDs.

 

The difference is that these programs also provide students with realistic and truthful information on the risks associated with various sexual habits, as well as how to increase their chances.

  1. Moral Values are instilled in children by their parents

Nothing in comprehensive sex education prohibits parents from instilling moral values in their children.

Having them learn the facts at school actually frees up time for parents to communicate their own religious beliefs and behavioral expectations.

  1. Know Means No

The more information children have, the more likely they are to respond “No.” Teenagers aren’t irrational. They recognize when a teacher tells students that only abstinence can protect them from the hazards of STDs and pregnancy. At the very least, they are aware that they are being duped.

Adolescents can make more educated judgments regarding sex if they have a clear knowledge of the hazards associated with various types of sexual behavior.

  1. Alternatives to Vaginal Sex Pose Risks

What can kids do if they aren’t given correct information regarding the dangers of sexual activity? Instead of vaginal intercourse, they have oral or even anal sex. Many teenagers, in particular, do not consider oral sex to be incompatible with abstinence. Even though oral intercourse can spread a variety of STDs, this is accurate.

Abstinence-only education urges pupils to refrain from sexual activity without ever explaining what sex is. Comprehensive sex education, on the other hand, may assist youth to make more educated judgments before engaging in alternative sexual behaviors if it is taught in schools. Teens may mistakenly believe that these practices are safe if they don’t have adequate information.

Options for the Future

The United States was the last developed country to establish national sex education standards, yet instruction is frequently delegated to underfunded non-profit organizations. People of all sexual orientations, gender identities, socioeconomic origins, levels of pre-existing health literacy, and ethnic and cultural backgrounds should be included in nationally mandated, federally financed comprehensive sex education. Understanding one’s own body is a human right, according to the United Nations. Legislators, youth service providers, and activists should work together to establish, fund, and implement comprehensive sex education curricula for all American students to ensure that no American adolescents are denied this right.

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