Sex Education: Fun Times, Good times

Ah, sex. Great dinner topic, am I right?

Many people are very uncomfortable with this subject and I can kind of see why. It’s the same way people are uncomfortable with discussing their recent bowl movement with their neighbors. Not only is it TMI, but also it is kind of a warning sign you should maybe pick a different living community.

At the same time, it is a natural part of human life. Why should people be embarrassed?

In school, at least in the USA, sex is not covered until seventh grade in public school. Sure, teachers go over basic anatomy in fifth and sixth grade, but nothing about intercourse; its just a basic run down of puberty so girls don’t think they are dying when they first get their period.  If you go to a private school, though, the admin has a lot more leeway with sexual instruction, so some worm their way out of teaching it at all.

Cause ignorance is bliss, right?

I’m going to narrate my experience in the sexual education system. My experience may be different from others, but that goes without saying. Without further ado, let’s dig in.

In fifth grade, there was a special day where girls and boys split up into unisex groups and went to separate classrooms for “The Talk.” My group went to the science teacher for the gifted program. There we sat down and the teacher presented a PowerPoint with information about the general female anatomy and menstruation. There were no specifics regarding male genitalia that I can remember and the presentation took about twenty to thirty minutes. After that was the question period where the teacher would answer questions, or we could write one down on a piece of paper and she would answer them at the end. The whole process went smoothly, and the teacher did her best to explain everything clearly.

In sixth grade, the same information was presented by the science teacher, but this time it was worked into the regular class schedule, so girls got physical information on both sexes.

In seventh grade, the school required students to take a comprehensive class about health. This class included dietary, physiological, and sexual education for one semester. This was the class most kids were introduced to sex via the school system. They may have had prior knowledge, as I did, going into the class. My teacher began with the basic anatomy, the whole shindig. She kind of glossed over what sexual intercourse actually was, opting for the ever-popular approach, “does anyone not know what sex is?” Like a middle schooler is going to honestly answer no. After that, she took several days to discuss the whole thing, and it was very informative.

Eighth grade gets a little sketchy. My original teacher moved to Texas due to a family situation and my class received a replacement teacher. He gave us a newspaper to read and annotate about the Lake Worth Lagoon for a month. Then he gave us a pamphlet on sex ed and had us read it out loud in class. That was it.

I just love knowing tax dollars went into this very in depth instruction.

Oh, but I left off the best part. So, we covered the organs and contraceptives like condoms and the pill, and that was fine. Then, we get to the page on emergency contraceptives like Plan B, and he just skips over it. A girl in class asked about them and he just said, “If you’re abstinent, you won’t have to worry about it.”

Well, thanks, asshat. Now I’m sure I’m going to join a convent.

At the time I was irritated, but I already knew what it was, so it wasn’t a huge deal. Then, I moved to High School and everything was dandy. I became acquaintances with a girl in my Marine Science class and she seemed pretty chill. Then, after the second week, I never saw her again. Apparently she got knocked up before school started and dropped out of high school at fourteen years old.

Who’s not worrying about it, again?

The people teaching teenagers to be abstinent aren’t going to suffer the consequences of this ignorance-based education. They aren’t going to have a kid at fourteen, drop out of high school, possibly get kicked out of the house, and be on welfare by the age of fifteen.

Later, when I was a junior in high school, I was talking to some sophomore girls. One thought using tampons would make her lose her virginity, one didn’t know that you don’t urinate out of your vagina, and the other decided to have sex within a few months, didn’t matter too much who with, just to “get it over with.”

10/10 sex ed right here.

Abstinence-based sexual education has gone on far too long.

So the next time you are embarrassed discussing the birds and the bees, think of the teenagers too embarrassed to ask if condoms prevent STDs in class, and certainly to their parents. If the adult is embarrassed, the teenager learns that sex is an embarrassing topic.

I was going to cite something here about teen pregnancy rates and the correlation to increased awareness of sexual activities and risks, but I found a beautiful article I would like to share instead.

Here is the link to the article

The entire platform of this ‘news site’ is being pro-life (A topic for a different time). The article popped up when I searched for information, and my interest was piqued. I did not want to share inaccurate information, so I checked it out. The main idea of this article is to demonstrate how areas with comprehensive sexual education show little to no reduction in STI or pregnancy rates. The article cites this study as its main support.

I checked out the study. First of all, the article uses the quote “There is little evidence that educational curriculum-based programs alone are effective in improving sexual and reproductive health outcomes for adolescents.”¹

This is very interesting, as I would have thought it was the opposite. I feel like knowing about HIV in the first place would make one more cautious when banging someone, but apparently I was wrong.

Plot twist: I was not wrong.

The article fails to disclose the rest of the abstract (where they took this quote). When taken in conjunction with the rest of the abstract, the quote takes on an entirely different meaning.

“There is a continued need to provide health services to adolescents that include contraceptive choices and condoms and that involve
them in the design of services. Schools may be a good place in which to provide these services. There is little evidence that educational
curriculum-based programmes alone are effective in improving sexual and reproductive health outcomes for adolescents. Incentive-based
interventions that focus on keeping young people in secondary school may reduce adolescent pregnancy but further trials are
needed to confirm this.”²

I know, WTF. This is completely different from what the article was stating. In reality, the study supports that these sexual education programs are needed. However, one must go to school in order for these curriculum-based programs to work. Given that five out of the eight studies were conducted in sub-Saharan Africa, I can see why attending school may be an issue when there is no monetary incentive; one could be working and earning money instead of attending school.

It’s almost like they took this one statement out of a credible source in order to further their political and monetary (the site relies on kind donations from its supporters) agenda with little regard to the misleading and manipulative nature of their information. I’ve never heard of that before.

And people wonder why I’m a cynical teenager.

References:

¹ Hoffman, Matthew Cullinan. “Major study: Sex-Ed programs don’t reduce STI’s, teen pregnancy, HIV.” LifeSiteNews, http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/major-international-study-finds-no-improvement-in-sexual-health-outcomes-fr. Accessed 24 Sept. 2017.

² Mason-Jones AJ, Sinclair D, Mathews C, Kagee A, Hillman A, Lombard C.
School-based interventions for preventing HIV, sexually transmitted infections, and pregnancy in adolescents.
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2016, Issue 11. Art. No.: CD006417.
DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006417.pub3.

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