Sunday, April 3, 2016

Sex Doesn't Exist: The Decline of Sex Education



The politics regarding sex education seem to be contradictory. Parents are gathering with legislators to take sex-ed out of schools while nationally, abstinence only programs have lost federal funding. The 80's movie cliche of the awkward condom- banana have now just become a legend of the past.

A lot of us grew up with two different examples of sex in our families. One in which our grandma got pregnant and married at 14 and the other where our grandmothers kept telling us that they were married at 25 and had never had any interest in the male persuasion beforehand because they trusted God would lead them to the right person. Our grandfathers kept silent as our mothers and grandmothers told us that were precious delicate flowers. You're not the only one if your parents didn't tell you to not have sex or if it was okay to have sex but rather mentioned there was such a thing and dangers associated with it. Maybe your parents didn't mention diddly squat because they expected that eighth grade homeroom would do the job.

But what happens when eighth grade homeroom has been replaced with "study skills" because a local city council member and a group of abstinence only parents lamented that sex education should only be taught at home? That's what happened in my hometown. In 2011, my high school underwent reconstruction of the ninth grade curriculum. Now students found an empty slot where Health used to be. This was a change after schools already changed from the curriculum from Sex Education to Health, but now students would not have either. Classes would no longer teach about sexual health. Now the students would sit in classrooms for an entire hour to do projects based on movies they watched and learn how to correctly highlight their notes for college preparedness.

I remember my sex education class. The teacher had us put questions into a jar. I remember the class laughing when my teacher pulled out a question that read, "Can you get an STD from third base?" and the surprise from more than half the class when he answered yes and explained how. Maybe it's arguable whether or not sex education was more of a laughing stock or educational, but I wonder how many people would have had to find out that STD's can be transmitted in many many ways the hard way without it. Sure it was uncomfortable, and not as effective as it could have been, but it was a lot easier to put a question into a jar, than it was to ask my mother and father these tough questions.

According to my boyfriend and best friend, sexual education happens outside of the classroom, a little more from your parents and moreso through socialization (T.V., online, porn, blogs, friends, word of mouth [no pun intended]).  Imagine how damaging this can be. A young male's only understanding of sex is from his cool friend who has "done it already," (so he must be an expert right?)

In my opinion, sex education was a necessary evil. If abstinence only campaigns do not work, and parents do not want young adults and children to have outside education about safe sex, where does one draw the line? Maybe in a world of information, it's not necessary anymore, because a quick Google search can take you to Web M.D. We don't exactly know, but one thing's for sure, just because you take Sex-ed away, doesn't mean students are not going to seek information, you might just make them more susceptible to incorrect information and discourage important discourse on the matter.

2 comments:

  1. The importance of sex ed shouldn't be undermined. You made a significant point pretty clear, the fact that young people seek answers in one way or another. Even when they ARE in sex ed, they still seek answers in a bunch of other ways you mentioned that could always be inaccurate or unsafe. Students should have sex ed at the very least to have somewhere to go to with their anonymous questions and become aware of all sorts of risks. I think many parents have a misconception about sex ed in schools. Calling it "sex education" implies you teach kids about sex in general, when nothing in a sex ed class is as emphasized as condoms, STD's, pregnancy, we all remember those disgusting close ups of the grossest diseases around, all the scary stuff to a kid. It should really be called "sex safety education," it would be harder to argue that a sex safety class is harmful like a sex ed class might be. What it is referred to might be trivial, but even religious parents need to understand that it is mainly for safety and health, not to encourage underage sex or teach kids that it is ok to have underage sex.

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  2. Having gone to a Catholic school, so it was very different experience than the traditional public school sex education. We never talked about birth control or waist have safe sex, and said it was preaching absence and the virtual evils of having sex before marriage. However, we did talk about it biologically. I don't think that we can ignore the need to teach our children about procreation how to do it safely. Sure, the Internet exists. But there is no substitute for human contact, human care, and human connection. So much of our lives or a place with electronics in today's world, and somethings need to be kept human to human: like sex (ed).

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