The demand that sex education should be taught in high schools is growing. Organizations such as the SIECUS (Sexuality Informed and Education Council of the United States) have been promoting sex education among teen since 1960. The majority of Americans agree that sex education should be available in all high schools, but the question is not if it should be provided but how, and what should be included in a standard course. Students who learn about contraceptive use in their sex education are less likely to develop STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) and HIVs, (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) and are at a lower risk of teen pregnancy (thinkprogress.org: Teen Pregnancy Highest in States with Abstinence Only Policies.) Statistics show that with the proper sex education class, teens are more likely to be cautious and responsible when initiating sex. Studies also suggest that abstinence techniques, such as scare tactics, have a negative impact on the psyche of developing teens. High school students should have the right to sex education for the benefit of their growth and development along with being aware of other sexually risks and behaviors.
Sex Education in the United States is on the rise. 93% of Americans believe that all high schools should institute sex education into their curriculum (npr.org: Sex Education in America.) Although, it is debated what is appropriate for teens to learn in sex education. Especially when discussing topics of abstinence and homosexuality, some Americans have different views of what information they want their children to be vulnerable to. Nine out of ten adults say that abstinence until marriage is the best thing to do; however, they all agree that teens will engage in sex regardless of he expected standard (fusion.net: Sex Education in American is Even Worse Than We Thought.) According to a high school survey, almost half of the students had already initiated sex, and 15% had had ex with four or more partners (cdc.gov/healthyyouth: Adolescents and School Health.) A new form a sex education called “abstinence plus” teaches students the importance of abstinence, while including information about safe sex and contraceptive use. Schools and parents have preferred this method because while it encourages students to sustain themselves until marriage, it shows them that they are not exiled if they choose to initiate sex prior to marriage.
The other debate that is becoming more and more popular in todays society is homosexuality. Young gay and bisexual men account for 72% of HIV infection among youth (cdc.gov/healthyyouth: Adolescents and School Health.) Most Americans want their children to learn homosexuality from a neutral point of view, while 18% feel Schools should teach homosexuality is wrong, and 8% believe high school students should learn to accept it (npr.org: Sex Education in America.) With society changing rapidly, youth are not really aware of the new and different LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans) laws and standards that there are. It is very essential for teens to gain that knowledge about different types of sexual orientation, so that they are aware and can form their own opinion on the topic of homosexuality. People forget to remember that sex education is not only about sexual intercourse, but it plays a big role in growth and development, parenthood, family life, and many other factors that influence the lives of young teens. An effective sex education class would include subjects such as human reproduction, sexual orientation, masturbation, gender identity, sex response, abortion, and sex abuse along with contraceptive use, pregnancy, and HIV and STD prevention (plannedparenthood.org: Sex Education in the United States.) When learning these topics, teens develop better relationships with themselves and others along with the important information they receive about the risk one takes while having unprotected sex.
Sex education classes would also provide information to students in a safe environment, rather than the alternative way of gathering information through the Internet or pornography. It is much more beneficial teaching teens in a classroom where they can ask any question they may have regarding sex to an educated adult, rather than getting the wrong information from peers or a website. Another reason sex education is such a necessity is because of all the STDs, HIV, and pregnancy risk that are affecting teens that have sex on a regular basis. Half of the twenty million new STDs each year were among youth ages fifteen to twenty-four (cdc.gov/healthyyouth: Adolescents and School Health.) Males make up more than three fourths of all HIV diagnosis among thirteen to nineteen year olds each year. Four out of ten sexually active teen girls have an STD that causes infertility or death (hhs,gov: Teen Pregnancy Trends and STD.) According to studies, states that do not require sex education like Mississippi and New Mexico have some of the highest teen pregnancy rates. Teens who receive some type of comprehension of sex are 60% less likely to get pregnant (thinkprogress.org: Teen Pregnancy Highest in States with Abstinence Only Policies. With the increasing demand of sex education for high school students, the teen birth rate has been declining, but it is still an issue in school that do not require sex education.
The United States experiences 850 thousand teen pregnancies each year, and 11% of females will have given birth by their twentieth birthday (advocatesforyouth.org Effective Sex Education by Brigid McKeon.) While the best form of protection would be abstinence from sex until marriage, abstinence education is not the solution. With abstinence education’s hostile description of sex, it actually damages the minds of teens. In abstinence education high school students are told to feel sinful about their body’s new urges due to puberty and hormones. This horrific education downs sex and makes teens feel devalued when engaging in sexual intercourse. Mot of the information is false and completely absurd. Haley Smith, a woman who took an abstinence education course while in high school, says they told her “if someone wants to use a condom with you it is less likely that they actually love you.” (fusion.net: Sex Education in the US is Even Worse Than we Thought.) The child is not given any information about sexual risks and behaviors and is left feeling bad about themselves. It is careless and negligent to ignore this issue that can be prevented just by giving teens the proper sex education class. Teenagers should learn about sex in a positive way so that when the time comes that they are for sex they do not feel devalued or judged. In the right sex education class students can learn about healthy sexual behaviors and being aware of the risks involved in having sex.