Sexual Education: the Ignorant Teach Abstinence

Essay by kate08742College, UndergraduateA, April 2004

download word file, 3 pages 5.0

The statistics involving teenage sexuality are on the rise. Each year approximately 48 percent of students graduating from high-school have been sexually active at some point in their lives. Other countries, such as Canada, England, France, and Sweden, that have the same average age of first sexual encounters as the United States, hold a teen pregnancy rate half that of America's, and statistically less teens are infected with STI's. Sex Education in these countries is based on a policy explicitly favoring sex education, openness about sex, consistent messages throughout society, and access to contraceptives (Livin2). One would believe that a curriculum of that stature would be enforced in the United States. Yet only eighteen states and the District of Columbia require sexual education at all, though many more teach it electively. Some schools, however, do not feel it is appropriate to teach sex ed comprehensively despite undeniable evidence that teaching it so proves most effective.

In recent surveys it was found that 93 percent of Americans support providing comprehensive sexual education in high schools, eighty-four in junior highs (Cloniger1). But some schools continue to teach children that a 'mutually faithful monogamous relationship inside the context of marriage is the expected standard for human sexual activity, and straying from this standard is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects' (NCAE1). This isn't an exaggeration; this is actually a summary of the required curriculum for abstinence-only sexual education.

Abstinence-Only sexual education teaches not only that sex is harmful outside the context of marriage, but it provides statistics that imply condoms are basically ineffective, and sends off strong pro-life messages. The basic point of an Abstinence-Only sexual education is to frighten students away from thoughts of sexual intercourse. That would be all well and good if we lived in a June Clever-like...