Revealing Of Theme Of Sex In Education

  • Words 2635
  • Pages 6
Download PDF

In a culture where sex is practically bottle fed to every American through sugestive media, television, advertizements, and music, one would think this topic would be easily discussed for everyone. For U.S. citizens that is not the case; sex is a taboo area for most adolecents, especially in the school system. Traditional subjects such as english and math are widely accepted as a need, yet the need for extensive sexual health— a natural occurrence— has seldom been explored. One reason why it is not a common topic is no one can decide how to teach sexual health. With such differing views of how to approach it, to be open about all sexual information or not, sexuality education has become a split subject of debate. Sexual information is a basic human right and censoring it with Abstinence only education is dangerous to the health of young Americans. Comprehensive sexual education needs to be the only form of reproductive health education implemented in U.S. schools; using it increases contraceptive use— which leads to several positive outcomes, promotes body positivity and healthy personal relationships, and breaks harmful social norms like rape culture and purity culture.

Sexuality education is the teaching of reproduction and sexual anatomy, the risks with being sexually active and ways to prevent said risks. There are two primary forms of Reproductive education in the United States, Comprehensive and Abstinence only. Comprehensive sexual education is defined by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) as :

Click to get a unique essay

Our writers can write you a new plagiarism-free essay on any topic

“accurate information about human sexuality, including growth and development, human reproduction, anatomy, physiology, masturbation, family life, pregnancy, childbirth, parenthood, sexual response, sexual orientation, gender identity, contraception, abortion, sexual abuse, HIV/AIDS, and other sexually transmitted diseases”(SIECUS 19)

This detailed approach is all encompassing of all topics relating to sex and sexuality and is intended to be taugh throughout a child’s life. Abstinence only programs, on the other hand, focus on the idea that “Abstinence from sexual intercourse is the most effective method of preventing pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV” and do not go into large detail about much more than that (SIECUS 53). The division in opinion on which form of education is made clear by the different state requirements for health– reported by the National Conference of state Legislatures– where a mere “24 states and the District of Columbia require public schools teach sex education (21 of which mandate sex education and HIV education)” (NCSL). If left to the states individually there may never be a consensus on sexual health teachings, despite what popular opinion may be.

Everyone has their own views on sexual education, be parents, educators,young people, or old people. A group that is particularly crucial to look at opinions of are parents. The vast majority of parents support the idea that some form of sex education is necesary. A study, by Leslie Kantor and Nicole Lecitz, that examined a “diverse sample of 1,633 parents of children aged 9 to 21 years” concluded that “Regardless of political affiliation, parents overwhelmingly report that sex education in both middle and high school is important and want sex education to include a variety of topics such as puberty, healthy relationships, abstinence, birth control, and STDs” (Kantor, Levitz). This goes to show that Americans do not think abstinence only education should be the dominant health instruction, but abstinence should be mentioned as an option. Parents are one of the primary sources of sexual information for preteens and teens which means that their support is vital in the development of comprehensive sexual education in the U.S. Educators themselves also play an important role in which type of reproductive health to teach. “The Case for Comprehensive Education” from the AIDs Patient Care and STDs journal states that“more than 90% of teachers believe that students should be taught about contraception” so there is no lack of educators to teach in depth sex ed. (Starkman, Rajani 3). With this kind of support it seems questionable as to why there are not more extensive programs required.

The kind of support that gathers around these two vastly different approaches to sexual health education shows just which one is based on reason rather than personal values. As stated in “The Case for comprehensive Sex education” a vast array of medical associations and organizations such as “the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Nurses Association, and the American Public Health Association” all show their support for comprehensive sex education (Starkman, Rajani 5). The vast majority of organizational support for extensive sexual education stems from medical groups wishing to promote healthier people and decrease the spread of disease. On the other side, abstinence only education tends to be endorsed by religious groups that claim “adolescent sexual behavior is itself harmful” and the only moral way to prevent disease or unwanted pregnancies is to wait until marriage to engage in sex (Ott, Santelli). The sort of guilt that comes with Abstinence until marriage is not worth the inaccurate information gained.

The difference in the information provided for students between the two approaches to sex ed is also distinctly different, one focusing only on only one option and the other providing a wealth of knowledge. Due to the overwhelmingly small requirements for teaching sex ed. teens tend to gain most insight from peers or inacurate media. Students who were taught using abstinence only reported “that their sexual education program did not provide them with the information they needed. Therefore, they found themselves in the position of seeking outside sources ” (Norwick 42) Extensive reproductive courses aid in reducing misconceptions about sex and spread accurate factual understandings. On the other hand, Abstinence based learning only deepens the misguidence. It has been known that abstinence based sex ed. only shares misleading information to manipulate students into thinking abstaining from sex is the only resonable option. AOUME does inform students about STIs/ STDs, however as Mary A. Otta and John S. Santelli state in their review of abstinence based programs “11 of the 13 commonly-used curricula contained false, misleading or distorted information about reproductive health”(Ott, Santelli). Abstinence only until marriage education’s purpous is to simply manipulate teens into behaving in a certain way not for the benefit of the children The fallacies reported in that same review included “inaccurate information about condom and other contraceptive effectiveness, the risks of sexual activity and the risks of abortion, as well as other scientific errors”, again distorting information to dissued youths from engaging in sexual activity (Ott, Santelli). It is made clear that the well being of the youth in question are not held to the utmost importance when abstinence based programs are implemented. Adolescents deserve to know all the facts and make the choice for themselves whether or not to engage in sexual activity.

Avoiding or abstaining from sexual activity may be the only guaranteed way to avoid pregnancy and any STDs, however it is not practical to assume all people will wait until marriage. Abstinence only educational practices will argue that it is necessary to discourage promiscuous behaviors, however this faulty standpoint refuses to acknowledge that sex part of most peoples lives well before marriage. A 2016 survey conducted by the Center for Disease Control states that “47 percent of all high school students say they have had sex”, all in all AOE does not promote health for teens that do engage in sex and turns a blind eye to the fact that almost half of students do engage in sex (NCSL). In fact a healthy sex life is quite important for developing teens. The waiting till marage policy does not decrese teen sex rates, areas using abstinence based education seem to have increased teen pregnancy rates, in support of that idea one study found that “ the more strongly abstinence is emphasized in state laws and policies, the higher the average teenage pregnancy and birth rate” (Stranger-Hall, Hall). Now one may argue that many other factors could play in those statistics, and that is true, however that was a common theme throughout the many areas that were studied for these findings. To further this idea the same study found that “states that taught comprehensive sex and/or HIV education and covered abstinence along with contraception and condom use… tended to have the lowest teen pregnancy rates”(Stranger-Hall, Hall). Contraceptive use is important for low teen pregnancy rates and STD rates, therefore detailed sexual education is the best choice.

One vital peice of information that purity based sex ed. programs leave out is that there are more than one option to prevent unwanted pregnancies or transfurrence of STD/ STI’s. Giving the proper information and access to preventatives has positive results, teens make informed responsible choices. A review ,by Douglas Kirby and B. A. Laris ,of multiple statistics measuring contraception use after comprehensive sex education states that of the studies “42% reported an increase in condom use and 40%, an increase in contraceptive use” (Kirby, Laris 3). Providing all of the options of birth control to use leads to an increased use of contraception, Contraceptives also help to decrease the rates in which STDs/ STIs are passed because they protect teens, so instructing on the various kinds would only make sense.

Of the developed nations in the world “United States still has the highest teen birth rate,” according to the CDC, which shows that Americans need to do something different (NCSL). One of the countries that is known for progressive sex education is the Netherlands. The Dutch have “one of the world’s lowest teen pregnancy rates, as well as having lower HIV infection and STD rates than the United States” (Sneen 5). The question we must ask, is what methods are used in the Netherlands to keep these rates so low? The answer is simply extensive sexuality education. Now the Dutch have a slightly different approach to reproductive teaching, they start children as early as possible. An article from the New York Times by Bonney J. Rough declares that “dutch sex education in homes and schools produces some of the world’s best sexual health outcomes and highest levels of gender equality” (Rough). The Netherlands not only covers sexuality extensively in the classroom, but also encourages the education to continue in an open discussion at home. Instead of parents and educators pretending teens are not having sex it would be better to equipt them with the proper protection when it happens.

Educating younger generations is a step in the right direction to end the idea that rape culture is normal. Limiting a person’s knowledge on sex leads to unhealthy interpersonal and sexual relationships. Nancy Kendall researched in five different states observing techniques used in abstinence only and comprehensive classrooms and reported it in her book The Sex Education Debates. In her book Kendall observed that extensive sex education teaches that “no means no” and that partners are always responsible for obtaining consent from one another”, this is important information on what proper consent is from a sexual partner and stresses the need for verbal and concious permission to have sex (Kendall 211). Abstinence only until marriage “approaches assume that males are easily and naturally tempted sexually, and that it is girls’ responsibility to constrain their own behavior so that boys are not tempted”, this is an ideology that is antiquated and places all the blame on a victim and perpetuates unacceptable behaviors from young men (Kendall 211). A positive sexuality course would teach what sexual violence is and that it is wrong not that boys cannot help it. Interpersonal relationships tie largely into the world of attraction and sexuality which is why it is crucial to aid students in creating healthy bonds with others. Consent, communication with partners, and healthy relationships promote a healthy adult and will be the end to rape culture.

An unhealthy social norm that has its grip on the concept of sex education is purity culture. Purity culture is a damaging idea that is unrealistic to sexuality and does not encourage responsible choices. The main practices of this movement involve strick abstinence where even interacting with the opposite sex is frowned upon; dating all together is discouraged unless it is serious and with the intention of marriage. Purity culture focuses on the female verginity and shaming any girl who tempted a boy into sex; placing blame solely on females is a theme in this social construct. In The Sex Education Debates it is observed abstinence programs teach that,“ girls will lose themselves, their social attractiveness, and their long-term marital value through premarital sex” informing young girls that they are only valuable if they are virgins (Kendall 157).To these abstinence only classes sex is a thing to control or defeat, making it out to be as though sex takes over a person’s free will. In Jillian Norwick’s study, females who had abstinence only education previously reported “the environment of the classroom bred discussions of “shame” “disgust” and “guilt”for anyone who had already participated in sexual activity” (Norwick 30). On the contrary detailed sexual education helps teens own their sexuality teaching that being sexual is normal and healthy.

Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, and Transgender, also known as LGBT, students are embraced by progressive sex education. Teens are taught sexual orientation and are encouraged to develop their own sexualities and values creating a safe environment for sexuality and gender identity. In contrast abstinence teachings are dangerous to youth on the LGBT spectrum, pushing out any idea that being queer is normal or acceptable. Nancy Kendall, the writer of The Sex Educatio Debates, reported that, “AOUME programs used survey and demographic data to claim that homosexuality is more risky (emotionally, psychologically, socially, physically, and— unstated— spiritually) than heterosexuality and must therefore be presented as an unacceptable individual health choice”, which is manipulative and encourages homophobia (Kendall 183). Putting an end to the teaching of toxic prejudice is key to developing mentally healthy students Comprehensive sex programs are crucial in educating students on the forms of sexuality from creates a comfortable accepting environment for teens to grow in.

Reproductive health is a natural part of life and teaching adolecents about their bodies and what is regular helps promote body positivity and encourages a healthy sex life. It also creates a sense of self awareness and what to expect as one grows and matures both mentally and physically. As stated in the SECSUS Guidlines for Sexual Activity the goal off Comprehensive sex education is to “assist young people in developing a positive view of sexuality, provide them with information they need to take care of their sexual health, and help them acquire skills to make decisions now and in the future” (SECUS 19). Why teach that your body is shameful when every other person in the world has the same basic parts? Body positivity is featured in most functioning forms of comprehensive education. An article analyzing the functioning Dutch sexuality education, by Bonney J. Rough, states that “by normalizing all body parts and speaking of them regularly and straightforwardly with correct language, we send the message that every part of a person’s body is healthy, wholesome and worthy” (Rough) Body positivity is featured in most functioning forms of comprehensive education. Bringing up future generations with the idea that the human form is normal and all people are accepted creating a healthier mindset.

Instead of having the spotlight of sexual education be on lowering teen pregnancy and STI/STD rates the focus should shift to a broad range of accepting and healthy behaviors and decision making skills. If the youth are allowed a freer space to learn about themselves as sexual beings and respect one another in such regard healthy choices will be made. In result the rates of pregnancy and STIs will be lowered. Comprehensive sexual education is the only way to efficiently move forward in the world of sexual reproductive education.


We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you board with our cookie policy.