Discussion Of Whether Sexual Education Should Be Taught In High School

Throughout the history of American society, it has become more sexually dominated than it was in the past. The media portrays more risque and adult themes even though public schools are teaching abstinence-only curriculum. For as sexually dominated as American society is, sex is still considered a taboo topic. Because of that, misinformation spreads, and young people are becoming more prone to not take the necessary precautions to stay safe. Comprehensive sex education should be a high school graduation requirement to lower rates of teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and sexual violence, teach young people how to stay safe in a sexual relationship, and to break the stigma that comprehensive sex education would cause young people to be more sexually active.

The United States started to become worried about the rising rates of unmarried teenage pregnancies in the 1960s (marking the beginning of the sexual revolution) as well as the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the 1980s (Hall et al., 595). To begin to combat these issues, the government started to make policies for schools and communities to implement a sex education program around the late 1980s, which briefly helped deliver the knowledge necessary to students. In the late 1990s, 49 of the 50 states accepted funding from the government in order to teach abstinence-only until marriage (AOUM) sex education.

Traditionally, abstinence-only education was taught to stop young people from engaging in sex before marriage. According to Hall, “rigorous research has documented… the lack of efficacy of AOUM in delaying sexual initiation, reducing sexual risk behaviors, or improving reproductive health outcomes”. This statement shows that young people are still engaging in risky sexual behaviors while being taught AOUM education at schools. The federal government increased funding for AOUM education against the concerns vocalized by health professionals, sexuality educators, and human rights community members. This is due to the misinformation that abstinence-only education teaches. “AOUM withholds information about condoms and contraception, promotes religious ideologies and gender stereotypes, and stigmatizes adolescents with nonheteronormative sexual identities” (Hall et al., 595). Because of this, American society has failed to realize the toxicity of misinformation that has been promoted in the AOUM curriculum. The curriculum completely omits habits of practicing safe sex, ostracizes the LGBT community, and promotes negative behaviors associated with domestic and sexual violence.

Comprehensive sex education will help students make better decisions regarding their bodies. They would be more knowledgeable about the consequences of unsafe sex practices as well as how to practice safe sex. Students would also be able to be more informed of the signs of an unhealthy relationship (romantic and platonic) and what to do in those types of situations. Having this type of education will help young people in American society bring down the rates of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. It will also teach how to respect their bodies and to build healthy relationships from a young age. 

16 December 2021
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