Sex Ed: Do It Right or Make a Change

You would think that it’s obvious if something is working then you keep it and if not then you change it, right? You would think this to be common sense but apparently common sense doesn’t apply to sexual education. Despite the fact that abstinence-only sex education has little to no positive effect on teen birth rates (and often increases them) people still believe that it is effective. Not only does abstinence-only sex education have the opposite effect of what it is intended to do but it also fuels the idea that people should feel guilty for having sex. This is why I believe that comprehensive sex education should be taught nationwide.

Many places use various forms of sex education usually split into two categories: Comprehensive Sex Education and Abstinence-Only (Until Marriage) Education. Comprehensive sex education includes information about contraceptive methods, how to avoid STI’s and unwanted pregnancy (abstinence being the most effective), and encourages students to explore not only their own morals and values but those of others. Abstinence-only education often includes little to no information about contraceptive methods and if so exaggerated statistics concerning the failure rates. Students are discouraged from exploring the values of others that differ from the morals of those taught.

Usually the purpose of sex education is to educate young adults in order to lower teen pregnancy and birth rates. Comprehensive sex education achieves this by educating young adults about different forms of contraception and their accurate succession rates however, very few abstinence-only display these. One example of a place in which the abstinence-only curricula was implemented is the state of Texas. Texas also happens to have the highest rate of teenage births nationally, a higher rate of teen sex than the national average, and the rate of teen sex in Texas is decreasing slower than the national rate. The failure of this system has cost taxpayers over one billion dollars.

The money and the lack of education is not the only reason that the abstinence-only curricula is a failure. The abstinence-only method of sex education causes students to feel guilty when they eventually decide to have sex. Many abstinence-only courses teach that "good girls say no", which for girls that decide to have premarital sex can be psychologically detrimental. In order to avoid  the problems that accompany the abstinence-only curricula and lower teenage birth rates, all sex education curricula in the United States should be converted to comprehensive sex education. Many petitions have been created to achieve this. The reason that this is important is because if you the curriculum is not going to serve its purpose and people are not willing to change it, then it may as well not even be nonexistent.