Sex Ed

America has the high rates of teen pregnancy, abortion, and new HIV infections. Television and the media are chalk full of sex. “Clean” television shows are becoming harder to find everyday. The television shows are normally not eluding to two married people having sex. Normally they show television characters with multiple partners. The phrase “sex sells” has taken over marketing tactics. Sex is used to sell everything from cars to cheese burgers. Women and men are both sexualized and become objects in media. Children are one internet search away from getting a distorted conception of sex. There is no way to know what they will come across if they search the internet for answers about sex and their bodies. It is everywhere except in education. I went to a Catholic school from the time I was in kindergarten through high school and absence was the only thing I was taught. We all had to get a permission slip signed in order to have the “talk.”  I can remember my friends and I being terrified to even ask questions about it.  When it was introduced to us, the presenter sited the Bible and left us to guess about the science portion of sex. I believe in the Bible but, I think we should have also learned about the anatomy of our body. We were also separated by gender so the girls learned nothing about boys and the boys did not learn anything about the girls. I thought that my peers in public school would have learned about sex. In my Biology class my Sophomore year of college, I learned that less than one third of my class mates had comprehensive sex ed. My class consisted of about one hundred and fifty students that were roughly eighteen and older. This Biology class was the first time two thirds of us had ever learned about sex in a classroom that was not absence only. This was shocking to me to learn. I thought I was one of the few people that had not learned about sex in a class room. No wonder America has more teen pregnancies and STDs than other countries! Leaving young people to the internet and each other to figure it all out on their own is obviously not efficient. There is a lot of false information on the internet. The perspective on sex that the internet provides does not foster respect. I’m not saying we should encourage young people to go out and have sex but, they need to be educated on what can happen if they do choose to have sex. They have a right to learn about their bodies and the bodies of their peers. We learn about all the functions of our body down to the organelles in a cell but we do not learn about sex. It is taboo to discuss sex with younger people even thought it is a function of the body. At some point most people do have sex so, educating young adults on sex is not telling them to go out and try it now but, it prepares them for the future. People should be educated on ways they can protect themselves against STDs. I did not fully understand the severity of some STDs. HIV which later develops into AIDS is literally deadly. When absence is the only thing being taught, the importance of condoms will not be taught. I disagree with passing out condoms to young adults. I think that they should take ownership of the fact that they are having sex and buy condoms at the store. I do believe the importance and proper use of condoms should be taught. Another side of the benefits of sex education is teaching how to recognize consent and abuse. Sexual Education can give children the vocabulary to speak out if they are ever sexually abused. Teaching consent is really important as well. All people in America, not just the younger generation could benefit from learning about how to give and receive consent for sex. This goes back to being able to protect themselves. They need to understand that consent cannot be given in certain situations. For example, when someone is intoxicated or passed out, they cannot give consent. Educating the youth on how to properly respect each other will have an impact on their future behaviors. There are so many benefits that could come from teaching sex education that is not absence only. By teaching children, they are not encouraging them to have sex, they are empowering them with knowledge to protect themselves.

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