Sex Education is Essential to the Education System 

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“Don’t have sex, because you will get pregnant and die! Don’t have sex in the missionary position, don’t have sex standing up, just don’t do it! Okay, promise? Okay, now everybody take some rubbers.”

Everyone remembers this iconic quote from Mean Girls right? As funny and crazy as it sounds this kind of language around sex education is a reality in the United States and is actually doing little towards preventing pregnancy.

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It all started with Bill Clinton’s Welfare Reform Act in 1996, which allocated millions to sex education classes that focused on abstinence-only education. But this plan ignored the obvious fact that some teenagers will likely experiment with sex. It also emphasizes shame surrounding women who are sexually active, heteronormativity and fails to provide crucial information about sexual health, positive and healthy relationships, consent and contraception.

Still in 2019 our government spends millions of dollars on federally funded abstinence-only programs that promote no sex until marriage. But recent studies reveal that these sex education plans are making no dents in teen pregnancy rates, are not reducing STDs within teens, or delaying the age in which people are losing their virginity.

And as the national regulations exist today, it allows states to determine what they believe is important and truthful about sex. To put a number to it, as of 2017 only 37 states regulations surrounding sex education mandated it must be abstinence based. Also only 13 states require sex education classes to consist of information that is medically, factually and technically accurate.

So why are we not reanalyzing this policy? Why does the government continue to pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into programs that are negatively affecting U.S. children? One of the main reasons in my opinion is that America has quite strong puritanical roots despite being a country of “freedom of religion.”

This is what has always baffled me about this approach is the religious roots within the education. The “sin” of having sex before marriage is very much rooted in faith identities, specifically faiths that not every American identifies with. This is also why many sex education programs leave out aspects of science in their education.

In my own experience in the public-school system, I never received any sex education. The one day in 7th grade they breezed through a generalized curriculum in my P.E./Health class I happened to have the flu. Never again in any mandatory health class in the rest of middle school or high school did they even mention it.

Sex education is essential to not only women, but everyone regardless of sexual identity. Especially as we begin to have more exposure to sexuality as a spectrum, there is more of a dire need to educate young people so that unwanted pregnancy and STIs can be prevented. Women often feel the pressures of being responsible for birth control and preventing pregnancy, something that should be everyone’s responsibility regardless of gender.

Also, unregulated sex education is harmful to the view of women. Often women are shamed and painted as “used” if they have had sex before marriage while there are no stigmas surrounding men who do the same.

Maybe if we had more detailed sex education to explain pregnancy prevention methods for men and women, we would have significantly less unwanted pregnancies. Then leading to less abortions: something everyone can support.

Tennessee has a law called the “Gateway Law,” which passed in 2012. This law allows teachers and school districts to be penalized for teaching students anything but abstinence based sex ed.

Luckily, students are now learning on these discrepancies in the provided sex education and seeking knowledge on their own. An example of students taking sex education into their own hands is an organization called Sexual Empowerment and Awareness at Tennessee (SEAT). This organization at UTK strives to foster comprehensive and intellectual discussion on sex, sexuality and relationships and educate the students at UTK.

Despite how some state legislators might feel, I think it is great to see students taking their sex education into their own hands since the government fails to teach programs that were effective and informative.

It has also been incredible to see other students recognize this important initiative and rally around SEAT during a time where the state is trying to tear them down by tearing down all of student programming.

Accurate sex education is essential to students all across the United States, and so is SEAT to the University of Tennessee.

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Sex Education is Essential to the Education System . (2022, Feb 09). Retrieved from

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