Sex education in schools - if you have a child , it’s undoubtedly something you’re going to encounter at some point during your child’s school education. You’ll want to know what your child is learning - but does that mean that those of us who do not have children should be unconcerned about the sex education that our children as a society are being taught? Not hardly - there are too many limitations placed on sex ed these days in school that the lack of comprehensive sex education is truly an epidemic of large proportions.
What do you think? Should we educate our kids about sex and how to be safe, or tell them to pretend all their friends aren’t having sex and hope for the best? Education or ignorance?
Every sex education program needs to include abstinence. It is a great choice for teens of all ages, because it keeps them completely safe from pregnancy, STD’s and emotional damage until they’re ready for it. But abstinence is just that - a choice. There are other choices when it comes to sex ed, mainly deciding to have sex and have protected or unprotected sex. It’s a choice that many of our teens today are making - they’re making the decisions, so why aren’t we talking to them about it?
According to a 2006 study from the Guttmacher Institute, abstinence only programs make up the sex education curriculum in half of the schools in the southern United States and 1 in 5 schools in the northern part of the U.S. Many schools absolutely forbid education on safer sex, such as education about available contraceptives. Some abstinence only education curriculums do touch on sexually transmitted diseases, if only to scare teens into becoming abstinent, and some touch on male and female anatomy and how babies are born.
Why are the schools in the United States choosing abstinent only curriculum? Waiting until marriage to have sex is largely a religious concept, and with the separation of church and state, schools are no longer allowed to have prayer in schools - so why are they promoting a form of sex education that is founded on religion? A little digging unearths some unsettling facts. $176 million dollars in government funding is available to schools in the United States who promote an abstinence only sex education program. $0 is available to schools in the United States who choose to teach comprehensive sex ed in their classrooms. The federal guidelines for sexual activity include anything that is sexually arousing - including kissing and hugging - and federal guidelines for these sex ed programs require teachers to suggest that sex outside of marriage is wrong and unsafe at any age.
Teens Will Choose To Have Sex - So What Do We Do?
Teaching abstinence in schools doesn’t automatically shut off a teenager’s hormones. It doesn’t suddenly make them not want to have sex, especially when our marketing, television shows and commericals, movies and music promote sex and sexuality at every turn. Our job as parents - and as a civilized society - is to teach children about all of their choices, including the choices to have sex both protected and unprotected. Knowledge is power and children deserve to know what their options are, including what can happen with each choice. Children deserve to know how you feel about sex and what you expect of them, as well as how to learn what they expect of themselves. A properly educated teenager may choose not to have sex at all, or they may choose to have safe, protected sex with someone they care about when they are ready. Uneducated or poorly educated children will not know what to do when a sexual situation arises, when they don’t understand why they should say no, or what to do when their bodies are telling them to do something entirely different. They may choose to have sex, but they may not know that there are options available to help make sex safer for both them and their partners, so they may end up pregnant or with a sexually transmitted diseases.
Perhaps it’s too soon to hope that the federal government will fund comprehensive sex education, but it certainly something we can take into our own hands. Find out what they’re teaching at your child’s school, and fill in the gaps. Give your children the power to choose - and to choose wisely.