There’s an interesting [read: incredibly dangerous] tension between teenagers who do not want to talk about sexual health with their teachers, teachers who often cannot inform students any further than an ineffective abstinence-only education, and the parents who threaten legal action when their children are introduced to the concept of intercourse as anything more than a marital, procreational act.
It’s completely understandable that teens feel squeamish about sex education in the classroom. Why? Teens get completely mixed messages. In the media, everyone is having very sexy sex. In the classroom, the lesson plans sound like they were created in a different century: sex is taboo, secretive, and illicit before marriage. Of course teens are clamming up in the classroom, feeling guilty about their actions after hours, and engaging in high-risk sexual activity regardless.
Deciding whether or not to have sex is a personal right, but being properly educated about sexual health should be considered a basic human right, mandatory and standardized in public education.
Not talking about sexual health in the classroom is similar to omitting the occurrence of genocide in history, or ignoring Shakespeare’s role in the construct of English literature. It’s a perpetuated ignorance and denial of science and humanity. Providing limited – to no – sex ed in the classroom is denying young people critical, often life-saving knowledge. It is denying them an understanding and respect for the nature of consent.
If you’re not receiving an adequate sex education in your school district, demand it. Talk about it. Ask your school leaders why you are being denied a full education. But don’t miss out in the meanwhile: there are an abundance of resources where you can learn about your sexual health, sexuality, and birth control options. Help spread the word.
P.S. – HBO’s John Oliver says it best. If you don’t have time to watch all 20 minutes, check out the 3 minute ‘Sex Ed’ infomercial below. Then follow up with the ever-accessible www.scarleteen.com for some excellent sex ed resources, and the always-helpfulwww.plannedparenthood.org for further reading.
Remember: It’s your body. You are entitled to know all that your body is capable of, the many ways you can protect it, and importantly, you are entitled to use it as you see fit.