The Debate Over Sexual Education
Sexual education reform is a highly debated topic in states across the country. Do you teach children abstinence as the only way to avoid unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)? Is it our responsibility to inform children and young adults on ways to practice safe sex?
Many believe that teaching students about sex gives them sexual ideas that were not present in students before bringing up the topic. Most people would agree that sex is something young people are curious about long before sexual education classes. In today’s world, where sexual images are prevalent in television, advertisements, magazines, and anywhere else one looks, it is important that students are being well informed.
In February 2013, two bills were introduced to Congress. The first bill, entitled Abstinence Education Reallocation Act, would provide teenagers with abstinence-only education. The second bill, entitled The Real Education for Healthy Youth Act, would provide teenagers with a comprehensive sexual education program. It would cover topics regarding STDs, safe-sex practices, abstinence, LGBTQ issues, and more.
Abstinence is an important topic that needs to be covered in sexual education classes, but just because it is taught does not mean teens will adhere to it. By teaching abstinence only, educators are putting young people at risk for making unsafe decisions regarding sex.
The Real Education for Health Youth Act also teaches teenagers about gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation. These topics are extremely important in today’s social climate. With LGBTQ issues being the forefront of political and social debates, it is important that students understand people with differing sexual orientations. In educating students on these issues, it will hopefully start conversation and promote a space where people feel comfortable talking about sex and sexual orientation.
Teaching abstinence only, leaves teenagers and young adults who choose to engage in sexual activity in a dangerous position. In not teaching young people about safe sex, it is more likely they will engage in unsafe sexual practices, leading to the greater likelihood of STDs and unwanted pregnancies. It is important that teens are well informed about sex, so they are able to make healthy, safe decisions.
What do you think about the debate over sexual education? Let me know in the comments below or tweet at me @whatsthesich