Why Sex Education is Important
By: Fauzia Haque, Contributing Writer
Sex has always been such a taboo topic in homes, schools, and in the conversations of our personal lives. Not even just as a topic, but also as a word itself. So many people can’t even bring themselves to say the word, nor could they even imagine discussing it maturely. It is thought to be a vulgar aspect of our lives, even though it is a very normal process that most adolescents do not even know about.
America’s Sex Education Policies in Schools:
Within the United States, only 13 out of the 50 American states require sex education to be taught with medical accuracy, leaving much of what sex is about up to teenagers’ young and developing minds. When students are proficiently versed in sex education and how it works, they feel confident in their newfound knowledge and of acknowledging how protection methods work. They make safer and more educated decisions when they sustain the knowledge necessary to make such an influential decision. Legislation regarding sex education falls dramatically lower than the bar most states have set, establishing inequalities in what different public school students learn as some states may require more than others. Most states do not even require comprehensible sex education, which leaves teenagers vulnerable to what they might hear or perceive from their own resources, namely from social media.
Sex education has failed its students so severely that within the United States alone, live birth to women aged fifteen to nineteen occur with a birth rate of 17.4 live births to a population per one thousand women. That birth rate alone estimates that 179,871 babies were birthed by women within the aforementioned age cohort. Most of these pregnancies tend to be unwanted due to unforeseen circumstances. The best way to enable the safety of teenage girls and boys is to make sure that they are educated on what they choose to do and know that contraceptives should be available to them.
Inadequate sex education also puts teenagers, who are vulnerable and exposed to raging hormones, in unsafe environments and conditions. Multiple young adults within the age range of fifteen to twenty-four have been extremely susceptible to contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and infections. In 2013, fifteen to twenty-four year-olds accounted for fifty percent of all the new reports of STDs in America while only being a quarter of the population at the time. That statistic had raised concerns among medical experts across the country for the disparities in sex education and the lack of comprehension present within these young adults.
These statistics represent the teenage population as a whole, but taking the statistics apart, viewers can see another drastic inequality in sex education, especially among minorities and different sexual orientations. The CDC states that teens belonging to the LGBTQ+ community are at higher risks of contracting STDs because the topic of sexual orientation is also taboo and considered horrid in the classroom. Black teens had a birth rate of 39 live births to a population of 1,000 teens whereas Latinas had a birth rate of 42 live births per 1,000 teens. The obvious inequalities in American school systems alone have led to risky pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and traumatic sexual experiences all because students were not given the proper opportunity to be well-versed in sex education and to have knowledge of a normal activity.
Comprehensible Sex Education:
Comprehensible sex education is defined as an age-appropriate, medically accurate transmission of information that covers a wide range of topics revolving around sexuality, contraception, abstinence, and disease prevention, according to the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. These aspects of sex education are critical in shaping a young mind’s perception of sex and the safe ways to go about it. Medical researchers have also stated that sex education should be all-inclusive while also dealing with the mental, physical, social, and economic consequences and factors that come into play. The traditional “talk” between adolescents and their parents should also scope out a wide range of topics revolving around sexuality without being awkward; if parents are entirely dependent on teachers and educational administrations to talk to their children about sex, the correct usage of contraceptives, and about abstinence, then there would be a broad scope of questions that most adolescents might have that would go unanswered. Parents must aid their kids in growing up to ensure that they grow up educated and safe.