Dear Future President,
Sexual education is under-taught in America. As a teenage female in this society, that fact has impacted me and my peers greatly. Our society is so partitioned on the grounds of morals, that it makes even the decision to educate a difficult one. Sexuality is an important thing to understand, especially when half of the high school population in America is reportedly engaging in sexual activities. The goal is to someday relieve the unwarranted stigma that has been placed on sexual education and have a standard curriculum instituted in schools around the country.
The World Health Organization defines sexual health as a state of physical, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality. It requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination, and violence. Learning about sexuality doesn’t have to be the crime against nature that many make it out to be. It can be safe, informative, and effective.
However, opponents of sexual education in schools believe that it infringes on their religious rights, as well as their parental rights. A majority of opposing opinions stem from previous opinions on other, similar matters such as planned parenthood and abstinence-only education. Planned Parenthood, an organization that specializes in sexual health, has been the recipient of backlash from pro-life organizations, and abstinence-only education organizations. (Abstinence-only programs focus on sexual health from the religious perspective). While these concerns are legitimate and should be considered, it should not be the sole basis of why we do not have a standard sexual education curriculum, as it is now.
Future of Sex Education Foundation writers Emily Bridges and Debra Hauser say that “Each year in the United States, about 750,000 teens become pregnant, with up to 82 percent of those pregnancies being unintended. Young people ages 15-24 account for 25 percent of all new HIV infections in the U.S. and makeup almost one-half of the over 19 million new STD infections Americans acquire each year.” These statistics are concerning. Teens today are becoming more and more sexually active while also becoming less and less safe. The simple, and logical solution is sexual education.
Proponents of sexual education would agree that it is a beneficial and necessary thing to have. Experts would agree that today’s society is prone to over-sexualization and under realization. With all of the factors that influence us, education should be one of them. Education allows us to become informed citizens. Sexual education can appeal to the majority of the population and gives the opportunity to educate American students.
The hypocrisy of today’s society is, in part, what is damaging the image of sexual education. Hypersexualization is creating tension between those who think it is appropriate to be educated sexually, and those who still believe in the naivety of today’s adolescents. Most of us are taught from a young age to be conservative, and abstinent and yet we are expected to thrive in an oversexualized pop-culture era. Sexual education is a way for students to understand not only their own sexual nature but to understand and respect the sexual nature of everyone else.
Sexual education is beneficial to students, as well as potential partners of students. It is the best way to make sure that they will understand sexuality in a way that will allow them to be safe. If the program is instated across the country, there is potential for a future with less STD’s, fewer unwanted pregnancies and abortions, and a better understanding and acceptance of sexuality.
Allexandra, Grade 12