Sex education – no math, no science, still interesting!

Sex education, which is sometimes called sexuality education or sex and relationships education, is the process of acquiring information and forming attitudes and beliefs about sex, sexual identity, relationships and intimacy. Sex education is also about developing young people’s skills so that they make informed choices about their behavior, and feel confident and competent about acting on these choices. It is widely accepted that young people have a right to sex education, partly because it is a means by which they are helped to protect themselves against abuse, exploitation, unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS.

Since The Sex Ed Chronicles is fiction based around sex education politics in the past, I was compelled to look at how No Child Left Behind affects sex education in the present.

The most obvious impact is that there is less time to teach sex education; emphasis on language arts and mathematics skills and tests has taken class time from all other subjects. I imagine there is less time for sex education taught in public schools in 2007, just as there is less time for recess. We need more of both in our schools.

When I researched sex education policy for The Sex Ed Chronicles, I read transcripts from state board of education hearings from 1980, the year that mandatory sex education, politically known as Family Life Education, passed in New Jersey, my home state. Those transcripts explained an overlap between sex education and health/physical education, home economics, biology and social studies. With less time available to teach these subjects, there is also a possibility that the units related to sex education get the short shrift. There is also a good chance that there is less oversight over sex education; politicians have a natural tendency to ignore policies that they cannot afford to enforce.

Safe sex is very important. That is because the primary evolutionary purpose for sexual drive is to reproduce. Failure to practice educated and safe sex can lead to unplanned pregnancy for teenagers who are just starting out in life. This is a usual pitfall for teenagers engaging in premarital sex. Those youngsters who neglect the value and importance of safe sex are often led to live with diminished potential because of early parenthood. The need for sex education pales in comparison to the burden of how those kids would raise families and kids of their own.

In addition to unplanned pregnancy would be the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. Simple sexual ailments like herpes and gonorrhea are easily transmitted. Worse, if the STD contracted is HIV or human immunodeficiency virus, there is a greater possibility for the occurrence of AIDS. Teenagers are most prone to the disease because they are curious and are open to being sexually adventurous.

What can parents and societies do to help ensure that teenagers would practice safe sex? For a start, parents might assert that ensuring that their kids abstain from sex would be the best way. However most recent studies have shown that abstinence-only education does not help prevent teenagers from engaging in sex. So if that would fail, it would be easy to just make the kids prepared for any possibility.

Disseminating knowledge about safe sex is highly recommended. It is the concept of still enjoying sex albeit the use of several tools and items to safeguard both parties. Through safe sex, unwanted pregnancy and sexual disease transfer can be effectively curtailed. There can be an obvious delineation in any lesson plan between educating teenagers on safe sex and encouraging it.