In the age of self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, and shows like Game of Thrones, one would think that America would have some sort of agenda on providing its students with sexual education. But, depending on the region within America you pick, you’ll find some of the most ill-educated students on one of the most widely-experienced and commonplace topics. Sex is in all of the media we consume; it’s a huge part of the political matters of today. And it’s about time we started talking about it.
We need to normalize the topic of sex.
There’s nothing wrong with asexuality, but only about 1% of the population is asexual. Given that the rest of the population will or wants to have sex at some point in their lives, it would make sense to educate the country on sex in an age-appropriate way. Even for those who do choose abstinence, it doesn’t hurt to have extra knowledge on a regular, human activity.
If the current “perfect life,” as advertised by American social norms, is to find a loving spouse, grow old together, and have kids, then shouldn’t sexual education be one of the foremost things on the American education system’s agenda? If America is going to tell all of its citizens that they should have children, then the country also needs to do its part in educating how that process even occurs.
In my school, sexual education was an optional elective. The closest thing we had to sex ed was our health classes, which focused only on reproductive diagrams and, for the female students, menstruation. Our teachers were careful not to ever go into the details of sex itself. The way in which American schools currently treat sex - as a taboo, as something inappropriate - might actually detriment how students learn about sex. Rather than introducing the topic in a safe, controlled environment, America chooses to let youths figure it out on their own, whether it be through a vague “talk” with their parents or through the little knowledge their friends have. America’s lack of sexual education also inadvertently turns sex into a more interesting topic for youths: to students of younger ages, anything against the rules or off the books might be appealing simply for the fact that it’s unapproved. If America takes a more open, straightforward path in talking about sex, students will learn more in a safer environment.
It’s our responsibility to prevent unplanned pregnancies in minors.
I don’t believe female teens should want to get pregnant or that teen pregnancies should be promoted. If a teen does get pregnant, she should receive all of the support she needs from her family and community in order to choose how to proceed with her pregnancy. However, these cases are still situations that should and can be prevented with a little sex ed. America shouldn’t look down on pregnant teens if it isn’t doing anything to educate young girls before they have sex (or giving them access to affordable ways to prevent these pregnancies). Part of the reason why sexual education is so important is that it can prevent unplanned pregnancies, which can heavily damage the lives of female youths. Unplanned pregnancies can shake their financial livelihoods, their physical and mental health, and their family situations. Many young girls will not have the proper support system they need in either choosing an abortion or carrying the baby to term.
The pro-life party should be at the forefront of the strive for sexual education. There would be far fewer abortions in the country if there were preemptive measures like sex ed to ensure protected sex. It makes no sense for the country to oppose abortive measures if it is not going to educate its youths before the pregnancy even happens.
We need to make youths aware of consent and safe sex.
In a world in which our president has been recorded to have grabbed women “by the pussy,” it is our utmost responsibility to teach youths about consent - a crucial part of sex. To ensure that all youths know their rights to say no, America needs to illuminate what counts as consent, and what can be considered coercion. Young students might hear the phrase “no means no” tossed around on social media, but it may be difficult to understand what that truly means in real life. Moreover, when youths get curious about sex, it’s hard for them to get definitive, accurate answers online: to ensure the safety of America’s young students, we need to be the ones responding to their doubts in class.
Sex ed is also a great opportunity to teach students about safe sex. Contraceptives and sexually transmitted diseases are both two essential topics that sexual education should cover. America’s students need to be aware of how to have safe sex and what exact steps to take to prevent unplanned pregnancies. When it comes to the health and well-being of our country’s youths, we should be as clear as possible.
Educating abstinence-only results in more teen pregnancies.
The above chart shows states graphed based on their abstinence education level (3 being the strictest abstinence guidelines and 1 being the lowest) and the number of teen pregnancies that occurred in that state in 2011. This study reveals that the more severe the abstinence education levels are, the more teen pregnancies happen. Abstinence education simply doesn’t work: youths who want to have sex are not going to listen to any teacher who tells them not to. They are going to act as they please, so it’s better to educate them before they have sex. Promoting abstinence to students who plan on having sex is only trying to ignore an issue that can’t be delayed.
Sexual education doesn’t cause kids to have sex.
It seems that the only reason why people promote abstinence-education is that they believe sexual education will result in or lead to more sex. However, as the previous reason shows, this assumption is baseless. Just because people are educated or know how to do things safely doesn’t mean that the number of youths having sex will automatically increase. Students who aren’t interested in having sex are not suddenly going to decide to have sex because of their sex ed class. And regardless, more safe sex is a better result than any amount of unprotected, non-consensual sex.
Sexual education is not going to result in more sex because there is nothing sexy about reproductive diagrams and classroom explanations. The assumption that sex ed would lead to more sex only springs from the view of sex as a taboo topic. If sex were normalized, then no one would see it as some sort of indecorous subject unsuited for schools.
Sex ed is an important part of a student’s knowledge and maturity. Sex is a common part of human life. It’s not an unnatural idea to bring discussions on sex into the classroom, where we can answer students’ doubts and reassure youths on how to have safe sex. The only thing stopping us from taking the steps toward proper sexual education is the outdated view of sex as a forbidden topic. We need to get past this self-set, virtual limitation on our conversations with the American youth; we need to start teaching our students some sex ed.