The difference b etween ffective and ineffective sex education relies on how well students are inform ed on both the biological and the psychological workings of sex. Depending on the overal effectiveness of their sex education, students’ lives can be severely affected, f or better or for worse. Young people have a fundamental right to be instructed on acCL_J rate, unbiased information about their anatomies and sexuality. Therefore effectiv comprehensive sex education should be taught in every school, leaving stude nts with knowledge that will allow them to act responsibly in regards to their sex life.
The role that sex education plays in the initiation of sexual activity is controversial, mostly due to the stigma of sexuality in schools. In fact, there ar e many parents who prefer to have their children go without formal sex education jus t as there are many reasons why a person may not want their child to learn about sexua Iity. Most of us “don’t take challenges to our opinions of what is right or wrong about se xual behavior lightly. ” (Henslin). These personal reasons can range from religion, sh ame, or simply wanting to protect their child from the dangers of sex.
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In addition, it is commonly elieved that sex education encourages sexual activity. Apart from excluding t hese programs, abstinenceonly education programs often fail at informing student s as well and instead focus on the introducing students to biased and alarmingly inacc urate information. “The option to have sex is just as important as the option to not have sex” (Lafferty). Even so the option to choose can be easily influenced. Abstinenceonly programs are a prime example of this influence, these programs are known t o persuade students to undergo an abstinence pledge, which commits them to refrain fro m sex until marriage.
Do abstinence pledges work? As many as 1 in 8 teenagers take this pledge but does it more likely than other teens to delay sexual activity? A recent stud y, published in the journal Pediatrics made the conclusion that “w hile most teens wait until 17 to lose their virginity, those who take the pledge normally wait until they’re at least 21” (Boonstra). However, further research has shown that a young person’s background, such as their dedication to their religion, has a much larger impa ct on how long they wait to lose their virginity than just simply taking the pledge.
Other s tatistics, done by the US Department of Health, show that very few people, only 5 perc ntof all Americans, choose to be abstinent until marriage. With this information one c conclude that the pledge does not work how it’s intended and that the uninfo rmative subject matter of abstinenceonly education is not helpful for nearly every tee nager. Abstinence pledges do no harm, but students that do pledge should do so without basing their goals on biased information.
Biased information, present ed as fact, should never belong in a school’s curriculum, especially when it comes to the immensely critical and personal subject of sexuality. All of twelve US states re quire medically accurate sex ed. That means that schools in 38 states can choose w hether or not to educate teenagers on the biological aspects of sex. This includes educ ating them about their own anatomy, which if not done, puts teens at a much higher risk of accidental pregnancy and STIs than they would be otherwise. Why is it that only 8 states require that the information be unbiased?
There ar abstinenceonly programs out there that are not above deceiving their student s and instilling shame and fear using lies and other techniques. For example, if a pr ogram does talk about ST Is, it’s not to teach students about ST’s, instead it is to show hem the most gruesome, extreme scary pictures they can find. If they talk about bi rth control, they exaggerate the rates of failure, and say that it’s not a reliable way to prev pregnancy. They make girls scared by telling them theyll be branded as less t han if they have sex.
They go on to say that sex before marriage will ruin your relati onship and some even go as far as saying that if you have sex, a chemical will be released in your brain that will make you attached to the person forever. This isnt clearly not e ducation, it is purely antisex propaganda. And the worst part about it is that it doesn’t h lp to curb ST Is, or pregnancy, and it doesn’t stop people from having sex. It just ensures that when people do have sex, that it’s the most guilt ridden, unenjoyable and uni nformed experience possible.
Not to mention the most dangerous. Rates of STIs and teen pregnancy are higher in The United States than in most other industrialized countries. Teen pregnancy is considered both a social and a political issue. Both the Democratic and Republican parties share a political goal to lim it teen pregnancy, what differs is their avenues of reductions. In general the Republic an Party ites a need to return to conservative values, sometimes citing abstinence, wh ereas the Democratic Party cites the need for more access to birth control and sexual e ducation.
The two solutions for a drastic reduction in pregnancy rates can either come f rom teens having less sex or by teens using more contraceptives. “Researchers have ana lyzed the role of both over the last several decades, and they have concluded that the d eclines can primarily”although not exclusively”be attributed to improvements in te ens’ contraceptive use” (TOAH). Today, pregnancy, birth, and abortion rates are at a historical low. The nation l teen pregnancy rate has declined almost continuously over the last two decad Comprehensive sex education is imperative to retaining, and further advancin g these positive trends.
Allowing such methods in schools helps to put into motion all the widespread goals that are specified for virtually every type of sex education p rogram. “Research shows that giving kids information that they need to make healthy i nformed decisions about sexuality actually delays the age that they first have sex and t hat it lowers pregnancy rates and STIs” (Tampkins). When it comes to sex education in America, when are teens suppose to figure ut how to prevent STIs and pregnancy, how to communicate and foster a he althy relationship? Where do they learn about what consent looks like?
These are h uge factors to retaining a positive sex life and yet there are very few programs tha t will make the effort to include any of these issues. There is a problem with false informa tion, information that is meant to do well but it only denying the reality of the situa tion. These policies of ignorance, fear, and shame should be stopped. The fact that Americans do not automatically have access to effective sex education creates a terrible situation. Abstinenceonly programs do not teach afe sex. Which means that they don’t have to inform students about condoms, birth c ontrol, or anything ofthe sort.
Students shouldn’t have to find information by their own means but should instead be able to learn it in the classroom. In short, if schools are goi ng to teach sex education they might as well do it efficiently and effectively. Proper Instru ction on human sexuality includes topics such as sexual activity, sexual reproduction, a nd sexual anatomy. To leave topics out for the sole purpose of delaying sexual activity is nonsense because it is not realistic to believe that students will not have sex if you epeatedly warn them about its repercussions.