OPINION: Why the Youth Need Sex-Ed

By: Bryan Cornelio
Owlfeed Journalist

Over the past few years, teen pregnancies and the spread of STDs has been a common occurrence. A prevalent factor for this is the notion that teens are not receiving any or enough guidance over the subject.

Misconceptions such as the act of pulling out serving as a contraception is detrimental to the health and safety of teens who partake in sex. Sex education should be a mandatory class for the youth. Not educating the youth on sex could result in exposure to life-long and/or fatal diseases.

“I think teen pregnancy definitely has been a recurring situation a good number of students face throughout my years in teaching,” said AP Language teacher Gianna Miller.

“I feel like they aren’t ready and if you think of the number of problems that exist and connect them to how things are with general people,” Ms. Miller continued. “Raising a child is important and it requires so much effort, stress, and responsibility. You need to be ready and stable with proper standings and a fully developed mind and body.”

She shared how it pains her heart to see students go through such a rough time. One experience from a few years ago sticks out.

“I think for me, the most eye opening experience was in my second year of teaching,” she said. “A former student came back and shared how his current girlfriend was pregnant. I asked how things were for him and he was clueless over everything. It took me aback after he told me he didn’t even know what the pill was. He didn’t know what a lot and wasn’t making the right choices. And I just feel there should be people, if not parents then officials talking to them about this. I’m not saying parents should encourage them to that direction. I mean it’s their right to decide what they want. But I think people need to know the options.”

Photo credit: asahicom.com

Teen pregnancy has been a long standing problem. This is due to unsafe sex and a lack of knowledge. Providing teens education about sex leads to a healthier and more stable lifestyle.

“Teen years is a common time in which humans will feel the want and need for it, and by us not talking about it were sending taboo messages about sex,” said AP Biology and Honors Anatomy and Physiology teacher Carl McBee. “Ignorance in sexual health is detrimental and puts people at risk. People are gonna naturally wanna do it so we shouldn’t send cryptic messages over the topic and push the idea of discomfort all around it.”

McBee believes that sex education is something necessary that we need to dive into. He feels like without it we place a great portion of the future of our society in danger. Explicitly talking about how it would aid generations up ahead and avoid possible epidemics to occur.

“I think we send cryptic messages by not talking about it at all, the level of discomfort associated with it comes from us ignoring it overall,” McBee continued. “A lot of people argue it should be left to the household but the parents feel uncomfy themselves. Regardless of discomfort I feel as though we need to talk about it. Starting at an early age would most be most beneficial since we get to slowly build up information and comfort over the topic to the students in the long run.”

Due to teen’s lack of knowledge about sexual intercourse/interactions, tons of people in the past have fallen victims to STIs or STDs.

“We need to fight ignorance as early as possible, it would only aid and help discard the embarrassing and uncomfortable element that revolves around sex,” he said. “Arming them knowledge would only help them in the long run.”

Our popular culture and the media exacerbate the problem, profiting by exploiting sexuality, presenting coarse images of what makes a man or woman sexy and desirable, presenting teens and adolescents as sexy and sexual, and coupling the idea of instant sexual gratification with instant consumer gratification.

Educating individuals of protecting their bodies from possible long-term viruses should be an option that’s always available. Typically textbooks touch upon and present STIs but not with their prevention via the use of condoms. Very few textbooks make an attempt for promoting competencies relating to a healthy sexual behaviour. The new wave that the youth indulge themselves in is the notion of doing whatever it is that pleases them at the moment and worrying later.

McBee believes that this topic doesn’t have to cover a full course but rather a series of seminars discussing the psychology and mechanics of it. He states that, “Introducing forums would be just as important to having an optional class over sex-ed since kids will ask the right questions when given the opportunity.” Allowing students to have a way to communicate questions they may have over the topic and offering that guidance could serve as a major benefit to the future of society.

It’s common for schools to shun and push the notion of sexual interactions aside due to its “inappropriate” and “unacceptable” nature in a school setting. Barriers are often created by society from providing comprehensive sexual education due to high levels of discomfort among teachers and students in discussing sensitive sexual issues. This then discourages teachers to move away from the thought of educating students over such an important matter.

With that said, in the life span of a typical person during their years of being a teenager, being rebellious, wild and irrational easily consumes them and becomes part of their life. Policies designed to motivate individuals to avoid unintended pregnancies, improve their knowledge about contraception, and proper guidance in removing barriers to contraceptive access is a vital notion missing within society. We should be encouraging and reinforcing the idea of safe sex as much as we can to the right audience especially since media campaigns have been effective in changing behavior.

Teens will naturally still perform sexually related interactions with or without any type of knowledge. To avoid possible conflicts, the logical option to take is to educate kids for the chances that they may make “rebellious, or stupid” decisions which will most definitely result into someone’s life spiraling downwards.

Sex education should be available to teenagers due to the increase of teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases over the past few years. It’s something that should be an essential part of the school curriculum due to its massive impact to the lives and future of many. Not only can it save teens from falling victim to unwanted pregnancies but also avoid life-threatening infections.

It’s understandable why a lot of people are against sex-education because they want teens to practice abstinence but realistically the odds of that happening with raging hormones within the body is much lower. It should be highly encouraged to open that dialogue.

There’s so much misinformation in the internet that could lead a person to something harmful. I definitely think that families need to be more open-minded with this. But i think it’d be very helpful to have the school educate their kids for them. It can be uncomfortable discussing this topic but with the right regulations, strong curriculum, norms, and proper presentation this could be highly beneficial for the long run.