Sex Education in this country is failing our youth.
As someone who vividly remembers what sex-ed was like in my school, I can confirm that in states like mine where abstinence-only programs are taught, they are not teaching preparing kids. Young people in this country are walking away from sex-ed without what they need to know to have safe sex if they choose to do so. It is time to face the facts: teenagers have sex. Regardless of if they should be or if they are prepared or not, they can and will engage in sexual activity.
The real issue lies in being prepared. Kids are being misinformed and they are not receiving the kind of sex education that would prepare them. Without further ado, here are some examples of things that were never taught to me, or were complete misinformation.
1. Birth Control Options
As I mentioned before, the state I live in is an abstinence-only state, meaning that schools are required by state law to only teach about refraining from sexual activity. In sex-ed at my school the teacher who taught us that the only way we would not get pregnant and/or get STIs was to completely steer clear of sex.
I was not informed about dental dams, condoms, the various kinds of birth control (i.e. pills, the shot, IUD implants), or anything about Planned Parenthood or other birth control resources. The only information that my class was given was about how the only way to be safe was to not have sex. This, as I mentioned before is extremely ineffective. Statistics have shown that states with more cohesive sex-ed programs have lower teen pregnancy rates as well as lower amounts of people suffering from STIs.
2. Anything pertaining to non-straight sex
Because my state is conservative, the abstinence only education system is not the only downfall of sex-ed programs. They also never cover anything having to do homosexual sex.
Not only does this practice keep kids, especially LGBTQ individuals, in the dark about safe sex, it also does not provide an open-minded environment for LGBTQ students to feel comfortable about their sexuality.
3. Virginity doesn’t really mean much
Lastly, I was very wrongly informed about virginity. I vividly remember my teacher talking about virginity like it was a limb — if you lost it, it was a big deal. She spoke about it saying that it was part of us. She acted as if once we lost it we were worth less for some reason.
They did not teach us that virginity is a socially created construct and has little to no meaning medically.
Sex-ed programs in many states are failing the youth of this nation. Young people deserve to not be misled by the people that they trust to teach them.