Where Does Sexual Education Need to Catch Up?
It seems as though everyone vividly remembers how they were taught sexual education in high school. While a few may have had positive learning experiences, it seems the majority had ones that were very short-sighted in being useful. High school classrooms are always awkward for bringing up sensitive subjects, but sexual education should be one area that is thoroughly explained and taught with care. Unfortunately, sexual education and anatomy is something most public schools fail at teaching, and here’s why.
Homosexuality is Never Mentioned
In a study researching the experiences young people had in sex education, many had classes that were very science-based and technical, focusing on only relations between men and women. This leaves lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered students completely out of the picture, making the material much less relevant or useful. With rising numbers of LGBT youth in America, it doesn’t make sense to exclude them from this important conversation.
Some Sexual Activities Are Not Covered
Only sexual intercourse between a male and female is ever mentioned in most high schools, and no other sexual activities are recognized in classes, some of which could even be considered “safe sex”. While a high school course shouldn’t have to cover everything, such a limited view of sex is hurting students, and making the information outdated.
Only Abstinence is Discussed as a Contraceptive
Some schools go as far as teaching abstinence as the only ‘safe’ option, failing to educate about any contraceptives at all. Not only is this teaching method proven to be ineffective, but unexpected pregnancies that occur without the right education can be far more dangerous to teens. Not only that, but many schools don’t even consider discussing unplanned pregnancies with their students, so these women aren’t taught about safe options to take in these situations, such as adoption or the few abortion centers that help young mothers with child care and family planning rather than just kill the fetus.
Desire, Pleasure, and Consent are not Mentioned
For many schools, consent in never brought up or explained adequately. Everyone sticks to the physical mechanics of sex, while emotional aspects are always left out. In a similar vein, female sexual desire is sometimes not even acknowledged. One teen girl in a 2009 U.S. study said, “I think that they depict it was the guy wants to have sex and the girl doesn’t… They don’t realize that a lot of girls want to have sex, too. And so I don’t think that they focus on that enough at all.” Most sexual education makes it seem like only men have sexual pleasure, making for a very skewed depiction of straight sexual relationships.
Schools today are falling short on the information they teach in their sexual education classes. Whatever you may have been taught could be better or worse, but it’s definitely a subject worth discussing and changing for future generations.