Is Your [Sex] Education Adequate? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

     Do you ever wonder how effective your so-called “sex education” actually is at your school? It might not even have the title “sex education,” but the subject may be covered in your health class. We all had that talk - that very short talk - about sex in health class, but was it effective? I vividly remember the three college students who came to my health class to speak to us about the consequences of sex and about abstinence. They scared us with the horrors of STDs and pregnancy, repeating, “Say no to sex,” but is this really the right approach?

From what I have witnessed in high school, some people will have sex no matter what anyone tells them. Pressure from peers and even low self-esteem contribute to this decision more than a short talk on abstinence. The influence of sex is everywhere, including TV, movies and music. Many believe in and practice abstinence to prevent pregnancy and STDs because of their personal values, including religion, or past experiences.

If some teenagers are going to have sex anyway, why not teach them how to protect themselves? After all, the United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate of any developed country. It is twice that of England, France and Canada, three times the rate of Sweden and four times that of The Netherlands (CDC). That means a million American teens a year are getting pregnant, 78% of them unintentionally.

Teaching methods of safer sex rather than abstinence could help decrease these rates. For example, instead of simply teaching teens just to say “no,” why not show them how to protect themselves? I have known young adults who have had sex without even being aware of the proper precautions. Sure, everyone has heard of condoms, but do they know how to use one? Most young adults would laugh at this, but I guarantee most teens do not research methods of protection before they “do it.” They might not even know there are any other methods to prevent pregnancy and STDs, considering how young some of the sexually active youth are today. The average age for intercourse is 15.8 years, and it is no longer unusual to find kids as young as 12 engaging in sexual activity ( Now there’s a wake-up call!

Maybe your parents have covered the whole “safe sex” thing with you, or maybe not. That is not a common topic among parents and their children. Many parents rely on their child’s school to give those details that are too uncomfortable to talk about. In some areas, sex education is based more on safer-sex education than the idealistic idea of abstinence. I strongly believe that the practice of safe sex education rather than the sole idea of abstinence is more effective for many schools (except religious ones, of course) and should be taken into serious consideration for school districts nationwide.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 6 comments. Post your own now!

Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
yesterday at 8:36 pm
i love this so much!
AriesKitty said...
Aug. 5, 2010 at 10:56 pm
I agree, teaching safe sex would lower the birth rates.
amber_w_17 said...
Mar. 24, 2010 at 11:28 am
I like this article. I completely agree with you and I just recently submitted an article about pretty much the same thing. I would really appreciate it if you could take a few minutes and read mine because I would really appreciate your comments. Its titled Give Teens Condoms In High School.
zebraqueen said...
Jan. 21, 2009 at 8:59 pm
just because students are learning about sex doesn't mean they will do it right away. when they learn how to manage a checkbook in skills for learning, most students will not use a checkbook for many years after. so if they are allowed to learn about checking and banking, shouldn't they be able to learn about sex?
joshua said...
Dec. 8, 2008 at 2:16 pm
great artical i do think that you shuold teach how to pertect your self
phill replied...
Feb. 3, 2011 at 11:49 am
you spelled your words wrong buddy......lmfao
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