Comprehensive sex education needed

Katie Mara

Fictionalized characters, often in television or film, learn how to practice safe sex in class by slipping condoms over bananas. In actual sex education, condoms never make their way into the classroom, besides the condom that has been in Andrew’s wallet since he entered high school. Shielding their children from life’s “terrors,” parents called the Cookie Monster into question because he promotes obesity. Now they insist that the banana goes unprotected, because they fear a comprehensive sex education program encourages sex among young adults. However, I think it merely circulates the idea of safe sex, if and when students opt to have it.

Founded in 1981, the Adolescent Family Life Act (AFLA) fostered the growth of abstinence only education in the United States. Promoting abstinence as the only 100 percent foolproof method to avoid STIs and unwanted pregnancies, the AFLA is under strict stipulations to dissociate their lesson plans from religion, as well as to guarantee complete medical accuracy.

Sitting through an abstinence only lesson, a student is treated to an exploration of the human body and a detailed description of the effects of STIs. However, it does very little to prepare students for sex, whether they intend to have it directly after school or on their wedding night. By only addressing the fundamental properties of sex, students miss vital chapters, such as how STIs are spread, methods besides abstinence to prevent both diseases and pregnancies and community resources.

Furthermore, knowing vaginal sex is the main area of interest in the classroom, students are left in the dark in regards to other forms of sex. While oral sex is a main source of transfer for STIs, it is often not addressed in class. While anal sex can be a route to transmit STIs, it is also an absent topic in sex education.

Many adults, whether that indicates parents or educators, wish to preserve teenagers in their child like state, dancing with crabs under the sea, while not preparing them properly for the potential of crabs under their belt buckle.

Additionally, presenting sex as a shameful act can be damaging to a young adult, both physically and emotionally. Knowing abstinence is expected of them, students often shy away from asking respected adults any sexually related questions for fear of being judged.

Instead of asking a parent about the pain in her pelvic region after unprotected sex, a young female might find out later that she had chlamydia. Listening to her friend’s insistence that her recent weight gain is only a “food baby,” Bethany won’t be provided with options for her fetus.

Instead of talking to a teacher about his confusing feelings, as GLBTQ members are not addressed in abstinence only education, a homosexual student may simply avoid his “gay” thoughts, while suffering from chronically low self-esteem.

Teaching students the very basics of intercourse, which is essentially one of the few things abstinence-only education will teach students, confuses students into assuming they can handle sexual relations. However, if the mere fact that it’s not just where you stick it that impacts good sex were taught in the classroom –– it is also the proper use of protection ––  students would be much safer than if they were simply being shielded from the facts of sex.