Remember high school and how it seemed like no matter who it was, no matter where you were, sex was always the topic at hand? Everyone discussed it like they knew everything, but you were completely clueless? When it came down to asking any of the hard questions, we went to our friends instead of teachers, a program, or even someone who’d had sex. Going to another clueless teenager for aide isn’t going to solve anything, it’ll keep the process going. Surely, schools need to realize how ridiculous this is. Most teenagers have gone through this continuous cycle of ignorance and sexual confusion. Most teenagers, including myself, didn’t have comprehensive sex education– and that’s where the problems started.
“Most teenagers, including myself, didn’t have comprehensive sex education– and that’s where the problems started.”
Without mandatory comprehensive sex education, we’re leading teenagers into the real world with no knowledge on how to safely live their lives in an intimate standing. Every school I’ve been to failed to teach me anything. All they said was ‘be abstinent and don’t upset Jesus.’ If they taught me all there was that comes with sex education, I probably wouldn’t have put myself through an abusive dating pattern for 6 years. I wouldn’t worry every time after I have sex if I’m pregnant or not. I wouldn’t question every little thing afterwards or if the new mark on my body is a sign of an STD. Sadly, I’m not alone. With the world around us revolving around sex, isn’t it scary that we all want something that we know very little about? To end the stigma on sex and live a healthy lifestyle, the US needs to mandate comprehensive sex education in all states.
Sex education isn’t just the elementary basics of sex: it goes into many subcategories that everyone needs to know. But most states aren’t taking the initiative. Only 22 states and the District of Columbia mandate sex education AND HIV/ AIDS education and 2 states only require sex education. Less than half of the states require any form of sex education. Who knows how much they’re leaving out? Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia require HIV education. Already, most states don’t require both– even though they go hand in hand educationally. But now, most states allow parents to censor whatever they want for their teenager: 38 states and the District of Columbia require school districts to allow the parents to step in on what their child should or shouldn’t learn when it comes to sex. Sex isn’t something to be censored, it’s meant to be embraced. The sooner the US educational system realizes this, the quicker we will handle all problems pertaining to teen pregnancy, abuse, and unsafe sex.
High school is the prime time for sexual activity. With hormones rising more than our stress over finals, it’s imperative to know the do’s and don’ts of sex. Now with a full comprehensive sex education– it’s not just sex. It’s important because it encompasses everything like the health behind it, how to avoid unhealthy relationship patterns, the concept of consent, education on gender identity, balancing sex/ academia, and so on.
Don’t believe lack of sex education is a problem? Studies show that every year, at least 750,000 teen pregnancies occur and 25 percent of all HIV infections in the US are made up of people aged 15-24. One in 10 high schoolers experience physical violence from a partner and countless have gone through emotional abuse. At ages 12-19, 47 percent know “little or nothing” about condoms and 72 percent know “little or nothing” about birth control pills. The majority of youth know nothing about how to protect themselves. I have been in a few emotionally degrading relationships– I assure you these are problems you can’t hide under the rug anymore.
The thought that abstinence teaches our kids to stay pure and not have crazy, wild sex is already ridiculous. This seems to be the mindset of so many people who pushed for an abstinence-focused and abstinence-only programs. But abstinence-only programs are full of flaws, something we can’t overlook anymore. We live in a country run by a man who is set on destroying the foundations of feminism, starting with Planned Parenthood– a known provider of giving comprehensive sex education. Leading countries in sex education, Netherlands and Denmark, integrate all forms of a healthy lifestyle by educating people as young as 4 and allowing porn in class. This has lead to drops in STDs, unwanted pregnancies, and sexual violence. It’s time the US takes the initiative.
As someone who only went to abstinence-pushing programs, they only teach us the failure rates, they teach us the fear behind sex, and all the reasons why we shouldn’t have it. Well guess what? We were young and we wanted to have sex. And we did. And it all left many of us a little battered in the end. We ended up going into this world without knowing anything.Studies show that sex education only decreases the rate of unsafe sex, teen pregnancies, and provide a better understanding of how to perform safe sex. Teaching kids about sex doesn’t make them more likely to perform unsafe sex. If anything, it’ll make us smarter and more prepared for when the days come, knowing all that comes with the choices of having sex.
I can’t stand by with thousands of teenagers are not getting the education they deserve– and neither should you. It’s time to stand up and demand comprehensive sex education. Isn’t it ironic that the people in charge want us to be safe and not get abortions, but won’t allow us the access to achieve safe sex? Don’t live in a society run by people who want to take away our birth control and right to know our own bodies. Sex is everywhere. It shouldn’t be a mystery anymore.
Delilah Gray is a Journalism Major with double minors in Political Science and Women’s Studies at Hofstra University. She hopes to also get her Masters in Education as soon as she graduates. Whatever she does with her life, she wants to work on journalism, activism, and help people. She enjoys bodypainting, writing short stories, exploring nature, going on road trips, writing articles all about social justice, and reading.