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Importance of Sex Education Lessons Essay

Updated August 11, 2022

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Importance of Sex Education Lessons Essay essay

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The public education system has many programs integrated within its system. One of the arguably most important lessons that’s being taught today is the lesson on Sex Education. Although it varies in each state, the main connotation of what type of program is being enacted in schools usually varies from Abstinence Only Education (no sex before marriage, or no sex at all) to an inclusive curriculum covering sexual disease, health and the human body, and types of birth control methods when it comes to the different areas of sex ed.

Abstinence only education is not only keeping those who are sexually active from having the proper education, but it causes a higher STD rate, incorporates religion into education, and is ineffective in its approach to educate children about sexual intercourse and the human body. The Abstinence only education movement needs to be removed from the public education system and replaced with the proper information that gives students a well rounded education when it comes to sexual intercourse and the human body.

Sexually transmitted diseases have been exposed to the world for decades, and variations of these sexual disease epidemics have come and gone. With Abstinence forward education, sexually transmitted disease preventions aren’t covered properly and thus leads to misinformation, causing increased percentages of STDs in those districts with the full on Abstinence lessons. According to Kathrin F. Stanger-Hall and David W. Hall of the medical journal article, “Abstinence-Only Education and Teen Pregnancy Rates: Why We Need Comprehensive Sex Education in the U.S”, these programs are not properly educating children in the risks and diseases that due to the fact that the central message of these programs is to delay sexual activity until marriage, and under the federal funding regulations most of these programs, cannot include information about contraception or safer-sex practices. Although these programs focus on this central theme and there are many states that push the main level of abstinence education, the level at which abstinence is taught varies as seen in the chart below.

Although STD safety and knowledge can be taught with the Abstinence “Plus” Education, the state mandations that control what teachers may say when learning about sex education are strict, and according to Sex and HIV Education as of May 1, 2018, thirty seven states require abstinence only education, and twenty six require the enforcement of the strict rules concerning abstinence, along with the shocking fact that only thirteen out of the fifty United States require medically accurate information to be reinforced during these lessons.

The lax rules on teaching children about the specific risks and scientific processes that arise from sexual activity, even after marriage, is frightening. The only way to prevent STDs when it comes to sex is to educate children on these diseases, and how to prevent them if one engages in sexual activity with contraception, like condoms. A sex education researcher notes that “all successful programs ‘provide basic, accurate information about the risks of teen sexual activities and about ways to avoid intercourse or use methods of protection against pregnancy and STDs’…These findings corroborate a 1997 study by UNAIDS, which, based on twenty-two reports from around the world, found that comprehensive sexual health and HIV/AIDS education ‘delayed the onset of sexual activity, reduced the number of sexual partners, or reduced unplanned pregnancy and STD rates.”” (Unconstitutional Entanglements: The Religious Right, the Federal Government, and Abstinence).

Not teaching children about these contraceptives and how to be safe during consensual sex does not prevent the child from engaging in intercourse and only puts them at risk to gain/spread a harmful disease or for a girl to become pregnant.

Obviously, through the evidence of research, and the corroboration of how many states are enforcing these Abstinence laws, the proof of the matter is that Abstinence only education, while it may be widespread, is not useful in educating children about sexually transmitted diseases, which puts them at risk. To fully understand the process of how sex works and to fully prevent yourself from the risks of having unprotected sex without contraceptives, studies have proven that children need to have the full information about STDs, contraceptives and how to use them, to fully prevent risk to those individuals.

Not only is the teaching of Abstinence in the public education system a danger to students health concerning diseases, but it also stems from the incorporation of religion into the education system, and is still violating the separation of church and state today. According to the Yale Journal by Naomi Rivkind Shatz entitled “Unconstitutional Entanglements: The Religious Right, the Federal Government, and Abstinence Education in the Schools”, the origin of abstinence classes was purely religiously based. In the early 1960’s when sex education classes were first being integrated into the school education system, the class developed a controversial following, almost like today.

The allegations of teachers stripping in front of the students and rumors that sex ed classes were a Communist plot to take over America, plus the increase in sex outside of marriage and higher divorce rates caused an anti-sex ed movement, the rumors and lifestyle of that time refuting the importance of the education itself. Around the 1970s and early 1980s, the movement moved away from fighting against sex education in the schools and soon turned to the idea that controlling what was being taught would be more effective. Abstinence only education was soon developed and in 1981, a senator advocated for a law that would fund the teaching of abstinence in schools and community programs.

Most religions today enforce the idea of abstinence prior to marriage, but this concept has not been widely adapted amongst Americans in our society today. A recent study shows that 95% of Americans have premarital sex and 70% of adolescent women have sex by age nineteen. Today, this program is still taking over our education system even in modernized times. Studies show that the Abstinence-only education “provides very little practical information on the ‘how’ and focuses instead on instilling sexual values associated with certain conservative religious groups.

One researcher who spent time doing fieldwork and interviews in evangelical communities sees the difference as ‘whether the emphasis is on saving kids’ bodies or saving their souls.’”. The moral values that this education is being based off of shows that it’s faith based, not scientific based or educational as a “Sex Ed” class implies. These programs also enforce the view that marriage is between a man and a women, and some states teach that heterosexuality is wrong, even today.Abstinence education mostly is a Catholic movement, and reciprocates its values to students in public schools. Conservative Christian groups have advocated for legislation to fund the Abstinence only classes and the funding that goes to the school itself is also shared with those groups.

Although promoting religion with funding is no longer around today, faith-based groups still receive a significant amount of all abstinence-only funding. For example, 21.5% of the CBAE funding currently goes to faith-based groups, of which 93% are Christian.’ Seven million dollars had gone to ‘overtly Christian organizations,’ while none of the money had gone to Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, or other non-Christian religious groups.

With the origin, the funding, and the moral values that these classes are based off of, the fact remains that these programs aren’t looking out for the wellbeing of the children in these modern times, but are trying to shame kids for having sex before marriage and instill a fear based education instead of teaching actual lessons on sexual health; thus deeming Abstinence only education as a religious/moral teaching and pushing an agenda which should not be the basis of lessons in public school.

While Abstinence only education doesn’t protect against STDs or teach based off of a scientific and non religious foundation, it also doesn’t prepare kids with enough information that is deemed appropriate. As mentioned above and shown in the graph, not all states have to teach medically accurate information to students concerning their sexual education. Those thirteen states also take part in Abstinence teachings, which are, as proven above, not full of enough information on contraceptive and STD health. According to “Abstinence-Only Education Is Ineffective And Unethical, Report Argues”, one two thousand and four report they mention that was intended for House Democrats showed that the abstinence-based curriculum reinforces ‘gender stereotypes about female passivity and male aggressiveness’ which doesn’t educate children, but instead teaches and portrays traits that lead to domestic violence.

This is only a small example that, what education these children are receiving, is inappropriate and non educational for today; even harmful. The general consensus, even today, is that parents want their children to be informed on these sexual health problems and concerns, along with sexual behavior. According to a 2000 Kaiser Family Foundation study, 90% of parents wanted school sexuality education programs to cover birth control, 85% wanted the programs to include condom use, and 84% wanted the programs to cover the use and obtaining of other forms of contraception.

This shows that these programs aren’t covering even what parents believe to be correct for their children, and although Abstaining from sexual activity is an effective way to prevent pregnancy and avoid sexually transmitted diseases. But programs advocating abstinence often fail to prevent young people from having sex, researchers write in the September issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health. And this, along with the need for a more inclusive program, and the harm it can actually reinforce with its teachings, show that this program is ineffective at educating children on sexual education.

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