Kids of all ages have questions about their bodies, relationships, and yes, even sex. Just take a look at some of questions submitted during a class for preteen boys and girls.
(My favorite – “When a women says ‘I’m pregnent’ why is it so suprizing if they already know they had sex?”)
Kids have A LOT of questions and, unfortunately, not all of them have reliable parents to ask or out-of-school programs like this one where they can get the answers they need. Comprehensive sex ed as part of the school curriculum offers students an opportunity to ask these questions and get reliable answers. Why are we limiting this only to students who happen to live in districts that chose to teach comprehensive sex ed? With a nation-wide mandate for comprehensive sex ed, we can ensure all students have a place to ask their questions.
As the call for comprehensive sexual education grows louder, the push-back against it only intensifies. Claims that comprehensive sex ed encourage and trivialize sex are rampant, with many arguing that informing students about birth control options, abortions, and sexual health provides students with a means of engaging in premarital sex. However, there is absolutely no evidence to support that teens who are taught comprehensive sex ed are more likely to engage in premarital sex.
This knowledge does not stop opponents from claiming comprehensive sex ed is fundamentally flawed. Lori Cole, executive director of the Eagle Forum, a conservative lobby group, argues that comprehensive sex ed sends mixed signals to students by giving kids more information about risky behaviors rather than simply teaching them to avoid those behaviors. She argues that teaching students about contraception yet advising them to wait to have sex gives students conflicting messages about when to have sex. The fact of the matter though, is that teens are already having premarital sex, whether they are being taught comprehensive sex ed or not. In fact, Mississippi, which predominantly teaches students that abstinence is the only responsible choice, has one of the highest teen birth rates in the country. We need to stop fooling ourselves with this idea that all young people are saintly virgins and start actually preparing them for the awkward, yet important, realities of sex. Teaching teens about contraceptives is not going to motivate them to have sex, because clearly they are already self-motivated enough; comprehensive sexual education simply gives them the tools they need to be safe.
Contrary to the beliefs of its opponents, comprehensive sex ed does not entail handing out condoms and saying “have fun kids.” It still promotes abstinence as the most effective way of preventing STIs and unwanted pregnancies. In fact, comprehensive sex ed is shown to reduce the frequency of sex by almost 30%. Furthermore, when people fight against comprehensive sex ed, they aren’t just fighting against contraception knowledge, they are also fighting against knowledge of healthy relationships, the avoidance of unwanted sexual advancements, and medically accurate information.
So, no, Lori, comprehensive sex ed does not send mixed signals or promote premarital sex, it just acknowledges the fact that teens are going to have sex so they might as well be prepared.
After the University of Tennessee’s sex week had it’s funds slashed and reputation condemned, students decided to take matters into their own… phones? Hookup, an app created by students and dedicated to providing accurate sexual education, gives students and young adults instant answers for their sex-related questions. While striving for a “cool, older-cousin vibe”, the sexperts answering these questions are volunteer experts and Planned Parenthood educators located in the area. In addition to the anonymous “Ask a Sexpert” feature of the app, a “Share Your Story” section allows users to post anonymous stories.
Obviously an app cannot replace sex ed being taught in schools, but it can promote healthy and honest conversations about sex and the circulation of accurate information. Changing public policy to ensure that comprehensive sex ed is taught in all states is going to take awhile (*cough* Trump *cough*), so temporary solutions, like Hookup, are necessary to ensure young people are receiving accurate information.
Keep up the great work kids.
I remember feeling scandalized in the fifth grade when I heard some of my peers singing what i felt was a very vulgar rhyme: “Penis, vagina, all the way in China!” Childish and silly as it is, the rhyme did sum up what many grade school age students think about sex if they haven’t personally experienced it, because that’s what they learn. After reading MetroUK’s article, “We need to talk about the cum drip,” it’s occurred to me that our sexual education doesn’t just come from a classroom. It also comes from books, movies, and the general media. Unfortunately, these two sources of sex ed fall at very opposite ends of the spectrum. This leads to a Great Wall of misunderstanding: neither gives us a full picture. Media depicts sex as a hot, heavy, and somehow elegant process, but rarely messy or awkward or difficult. This post is not to say that sex is any of those things all the time. But at least for some people, at some times, it is- and the majority of us are probably not prepared for the dirty details of what sex is really like. The title of the article, which is worth a read if you have the time, is self-explanatory. It talks about what to do with the “cum drip” that occurs after having sex without a condom. In more specific terms, the article deals with the very messy fact that the semen does not just stay inside a person, rather, it exits the receptive organ. We’re not necessarily asking for a reformed sex ed program that goes into a graphic-detail description of sex, but even if you don’t live in China, this article is a good reminder that there’s way more to sex than “penis and vagina.”