I think most people would agree that no one should ENCOURAGE teens to have sex. However, this does not mean that we should not EDUCATE them about it. You can live in denial all you want, but teens are going to learn about sex one way or another. The question is, “Do you want them to learn the facts from an educated adult or the fallacies whispered in the halls or bragged about in the locker room”?
Children are becoming sexually active at a younger and younger age and subsequently becoming pregnant and contracting sexually transmitted diseases. Educating teens about the risks of engaging in sexual intercourse and related activities is less likely to encourage them to become sexually active than if you leave the task up to their friends and classmates. Teens tend to talk about the positive aspects of sex and pressure one another into “doing it” by ridiculing or otherwise harassing them. This is especially true for male youth, but is becoming more and more common among young females.
Well-executed sex education courses, on the other hand, inform teens about the many risks and consequences of having sex at a young age. Schools that refuse to educate youth about sex or preach only abstinence are doing nothing to protect their students. Teens have functioning reproductive organs just like any adult and the raging hormones to go along with them. Telling them “no” or keeping sex a mystery to them makes them all the more likely to experiment.
That being said, in an ideal world it would not be up to the schools to educate children about sex. Sex education should be done in the home. As parents, it’s your responsibility to protect your children, and when it comes to sex, this means educating them. Many parents are too uncomfortable to discuss sex with their children or are uniformed about sex themselves. Others consider forbidding their children to engage in sexual activities and preaching abstinence to be enough “education”. However, teenagers are rebellious and if you forbid them to do something they are all the more likely to want to do it. There is a balance that can be found between forbidding and encouraging. You can deny it all you want, but keeping your children in the dark will not result in them keeping it in their pants. If you don’t believe me, you might be in for a rude awakening.
Writing this, I am reminded of a class I took a few years back entitled “Lifespan Human Sexuality”. The majority of the class was female, very few of whom knew anything about their own reproductive organs. To my surprise and disappointment, they had false information regarding pregnancy and STD prevention and one woman even asked if you could get pregnant by performing fellatio! These were college-aged women! I even found out some things that I didn’t know or was misinformed about and I consider myself to be well-educated when it comes to sex and reproduction. This made me wonder how many other young men and women were putting themselves at risk simply because they were uninformed. And what about those men and women who didn’t have the benefit of a class such as this one? Where would they learn the information they needed to properly educate their own children?
So yes, schools should EDUCATE teens about sex, which is not even close to the same thing as ENCOURAGING them to do it. We educate children about the Holocaust – does that mean that we are encouraging them to emulate Hitler? I don’t think so. Until parents step up and take on the responsibility of sex education, it is up to the schools to protect the youth of America and make this world a better and safer place for them to be.