Sex ed. A phrase would make most middle schoolers cringe or giggle, and most high school students groan. Whether it was looking at diagrams of reproductive organs, reading about people who regret having sex before marriage, or watching slideshows with pictures of various genitals laden with disease, most sex education seemed disgusting and terrifying to students. Worst of all, much of it was incorrect. In reality, a shocking amount of sex education taught to students is misleading and untrue in many cases. This leads to problems such as STIs, STDs, and teen pregnancy which could possibly be avoided if students had been properly taught how to do so. After conducting a survey on anal sex experience among students in the rural Midwest, Dake et al. writes, “A study by Boekeloo and Howard found that 20% of adolescents did not believe that anal intercourse could transmit HIV” (Dake et al. 202). Misconceptions like these can end up causing health problems in students since they never had a chance to learn there was any physical danger caused by their actions.
Many schools across the country (and even the world) rely on abstinence-only education. “Abstinence-only” refers to any sex education which teaches students that sex before marriage should never happen, and if it does, the consequences are terrible. While talking about some sex education lessons taught by public schools, Jennifer Greenblatt, a law clerk, writes, “(O)ne curriculum incredulously warns ‘touching another person 's genitals 'can result in pregnancy’” (12). By teaching false information like this, the government, teachers, and parents believe students won’t participate in premarital sex. The flaw in this logic lies in the r...
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...nd Alabama-with 2 of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the country-do not require any sex education in school at all” (1). This information shows how sex education helps to prevent teen pregnancy since states where there is little to no sex education have higher teen pregnancy rates.
In order for any change to be made, the federal government would have to make abstinence-only sex education against the law. Public schools would be required by law to teach students about contraceptives and how to use them, ways to avoid STDs and STIs, and how to practice safe sex in general. Because it takes a lot of pressure to change laws and societal norms, people who agree schools need to teach more than abstinence must speak up to make a difference. Something in how sex education is taught must change so students know how to protect themselves from disease and teen pregnancy.
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