The purpose of this blog was to emphasize the importance of comprehensive sexual education and to propose that it be implemented into school curricula nationwide. With a new Presidential Administration in the White House, it is more important than ever that the push for comprehensive sexual education is kept strong. While we addressed arguments opposing comprehensive sex ed as fairly as possible, we made sure to highlight why those arguments were flawed and stressed the importance of a comprehensive sex ed mandate. Although we were able to pinpoint a reason to continue advocating for comprehensive sex ed within each opposing argument, our research showed us that sex ed is controversial because our society is becoming increasingly conditioned to see sex in a certain light.
The discussion about comprehensive sexual education will always be controversial. There will be people who demand comprehensive programs, but there will also be those who think our children should be taught through abstinence-only programs. The resultant divide has created a discrepancy between those educated in states with comprehensive programs and those who have been educated in states without. If people can’t unite in support of the more effective option, comprehensive sexual education, then children will continue to develop into adults without a full understanding of their bodies or others’. Sexual education is not a personal preference because our sexual anatomies are a fact. At the present, less than half of American states are enacting a comprehensive sexual education program, and even less require education on HIV. The fact that not all programs are required to be medically accurate only serves to exacerbate the problem. The lack of standard and lack of information precision is a disservice to our children and ourselves. For all these reasons, we think sexual education should be mandated on the federal level, and encouragingly, it seems more people are coming around to the idea of a universal comprehensive sexual education program.
Perhaps the most surprising fact we learned from our research was that a majority of people do indeed support comprehensive sex ed. There is an overwhelming amount of parental, student, and teacher support for this movement. Even more surprising may be the fact that support for comprehensive sex ed ranges across all sorts of political and religious ideologies. Why is there so much controversy surrounding a topic that is so supported? Perhaps it is that sex is considered a family-only subject, and perhaps it is that the voice of the opposition has always been louder. Perhaps it is that society has simply changed, and sex is no longer tied so definitely to having children. Even as cultural perceptions of sex have changed and are changing still, we have concluded that the benefits of comprehensive sex ed tip the scales in its favor.
Overall, this blog helped us learn more about the policies important to us and gave us the chance to construct a comprehensive argument for it. We see the importance of looking at an argument from every angle to strengthen our stance. We believe in the importance of expanding your knowledge of topics you may think you already know well. We have learned more than we expected to during this project, and hope you did too!
Thank you for taking the time to follow @letstalkaboutsex! We hope you walk away with a new understanding or perspective about comprehensive sexual education that will inspire you to join us in advocating for it!
Sincerely, the Sexperts of COMM398O
Don’t let where you went to school determine what you know about birth control!
When examining the sex education curriculum of the United States and its various faults we should look to countries with leading comprehensive sex education programs and follow their lead.
As demonstrated by the case of a Texas high school where 15 percent of the student body contracted chlamydia, all while there was no policy on sexual education, it is clear that an openness in discussing sex and sex education is crucial for children and teens to fully understand sex and its consequence. A lack of comprehensive sex education can lead to an ignorant culture of sexual violence or latency when it comes to preventative measures that can/have become normalized in our culture. As far as education is concerned it is important to shine a global spotlight on sex education and consent advocacy. An example of implementing reactionary programming to combat cultural trends would be England’s attempt by the PSHE Association (Personal, Social, and Health Education Association) to implement educational programs to teach topics surrounding consent as a reaction to reports by the Office for National Statistics that stated that in 2014 there were over “7,000 sexual assaults against children aged 13 or younger, and more that 4,000 rapes of children under 16.” The result was an educational system to teach about the topic of sexual consent to children in schools as young as age 11. Programs such as this are critically important to communities and aiding children’s understanding of not only sex and inappropriate behavior but also in providing education on personal boundaries, which is something that we should try to replicate in the United States.
European countries, in general, have most of the world’s lowest teen birth rates with countries such as Germany, Italy, and Switzerland having less than 4 teen births per 1,000 people. This commonly low teen birth rate among European countries can be linked to a more common practice of progressive sex education. This further proves that American’s need to steer away from misguiding teens on the subjective dangers and moral implications of sex but focus rather on the positive and factual topics surrounding sex as to better inform their youth. This current fear mongering approach is far less effective as can be exemplified by the US having one of the highest teen birth rates of developed nations at around 30 teen births per 1,000.
“Abstinence-only programs grew increasingly popular in the early 2000s, when funding grew from $9 million in 1997 to $176 million by 2007.”
Comprehensive sex education should include the coverage of Sexually Transmitted Diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Linked here (https://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/hiv-aids-101/how-you-get-hiv-aids/index.html) is an informational guide to the diseases including symptoms and prevention.
As the discussion of mandating comprehensive sex education programming in public high schools rises and falls from the political spotlight the same arguments resurface. One of which proposes that the responsibility of teaching sex education to children and teens falls on the parents, thus, allowing for more particular control of the content provided. This argument is often paired with the belief that the government should stay out of structuring curriculums around a topic as broad and individualized as sex. However, it’s shown that methods such as this are rather ineffective and non-comprehensive.
The debate is a heated one, as exemplified by an Omaha Public Schools meeting where the discussion of updating the three-decade-old sex education curriculum resulted in a brawl between parents, some arguing against the change with the belief that, “parents should lead the private discussion of sexual expression.” This argument, however, does not guarantee that every child’s right to education about their own bodies and sexual safety would be met. It is more common now that the responsibility is shared between not only parents, but also health workers, teachers, and schools. This system works more effectively to provide coverage of a broader range of topics, as the student is provided education regarding a variety of perspectives, and avoids the pitfalls of abstinence-only sex ed.
The reality is also that the majority of parents and young people in America support the implementation of these comprehensive programs. So, while authors at ‘The Blaze’ and other more conservative individual’s argue that it is the duty of parents, the truth is that most parents don’t want to have that responsibility and young people don’t want to hear their parents version of ‘the talk’.
The bigger problem, however, is that parents (as great as they think they might be) may not provide comprehensive, all-covering sex education. Parents are more likely pass on beliefs that they hold to be true, many of which lean more on the side of opinion rather than fact. However, evidence shows that children provided with quality sex education through school are not more likely to become sexually active or increase sexual activity, contract STD’s or face adverse health effects. Teens with comprehensive sex education were also 50 percent less likely to become pregnant.
While it is important that parents start a dialogue with their children about sex and it’s various possible consequences it is crucial that public schools and government programs provide a standard that means every child receives the accurate knowledge to give them the basic need that is understanding their own body, their own sexuality, sexual health, the nature of consent, and basic biology.
Check out this Huffington Post article to see how sex education requirements vary from state to state in America. “These Maps Show Where Kids In America Get Terrifying Sex Ed”
Hi! I’m Laura Cross and I’m sophomore Communications major at the University of Maryland. I’m currently in the public relations track and hope to one day be working in PR in the entertainment industry, or politics, or the art world, who knows really? Additionally, I am an Art History major, more by accident than anything else, but I do love trekking into DC and visiting all of its wonderful museums. I am originally from Glasgow, Scotland where I attended a charter school that serious lacked comprehensive sex education in regards to sexual assault, personal safety, and LGBT students.