We Need Comprehensive Sex Ed

Access to comprehensive sex education for America’s youth may be a long way off. This article explains why, as well as why it’s so important we have consistent, comprehensive sex ed in schools.

As it stands today, only 23 states require that sex ed be taught at all — and just 19 require that the information be medically accurate, according to the National Council of State Legislatures. This means a full 37 states allow school districts to say whatever they want to about the effectiveness of condoms (or lack thereof), how to reduce the risk of STIs or pregnancy, and what happens if you decide to have sex. The same goes for broader questions of sexuality, such as LGBTQ issues. In short, the messages we get about sex while growing up have the capacity to profoundly shape our relationships and sex lives moving forward — and yet those messages are determined by a hodgepodge of federal, state, and local policies that often contradict scientific information about what keeps young people healthy.

Worse yet, most funding goes to abstinence only programs. These programs typically don’t teach students about STIs, contraception, or how to form healthy sexual relationships, and with a firm “just say no” approach can leave students with a lot of shame and confusion over their natural urges and desires. The current statistics on unplanned pregnancies and STIs among young people also indicates that these programs simply are not effective.

In contrast to abstinence-only programs, comprehensive sex education — which covers a wide variety of topics, including STIs, contraception, communication, healthy relationships, and sexual orientation — have been shown to increase condom and contraception use.

Comprehensive sex education also empowers those who might be shamed by abstinence only programs, and allows youth to better communicate about sex with potential partners. It provides a foundation for the self agency to protect their emotions and bodies while making the choices that are right for them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *