Since the HIV/AIDS epidemic began in the U.S. in the early 1980s the issue of sex education for American youth has had the attention of the nation. There are about 400,000 teen births every year in the U.S, with about 9 billion in associated public costs. STI contraction in general, as well as teen pregnancy, have put the subject even more so on the forefront of the nation’s leading issues. The approach and method for proper and effective sex education has been hotly debated. Some believe that teaching abstinence-only until marriage is the best method while others believe that a more comprehensive approach, which includes abstinence promotion as well as contraceptive information, is necessary. Abstinence-only program curriculums disregard
The teenagers and children of today read about, listen to and watch all sorts of information about sex. While most adults have had some form of sex education, we must ask if this new generation is learning anything new or helpful from their sex education classes. The American culture and way of living is so absorbed in sex that children should be taught about it, people just can not agree on how to teach them. In her article New Sex ed Funding Ends Decade of Abstinence-Only, Kelli Kennedy proves that abstinence-only sex education classes and programs are not as good as regular sex education classes better than Shari Roan does in her article Teen pregnancy rates rises. Are abstinent-only programs to blame?
Sex education for American youth has been a topic of discussion across the nation since the early 1980s. Teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted disease are two major problems throughout the U.S.. Sexually transmitted infections have been an ongoing problem for American people since World War I. To combat the growing teen pregnancy and STI rates, the U.S. established organized sex education. Since sex education has been integrated in schools across the nation, it has been heavily influenced by religion. The federal government has funded abstinence-only education programs for over a quarter century. Abstinence-only
While the department of education does include a recommendation for school districts to develop and implement age-appropriate sex education, it’s not mandated in many states. There is confusion among teenagers about the different methods they can use to protect themselves; for example, contraceptives (such as birth control) do not prevent STI’s, but do prevent pregnancies. In fact, almost 37% of "18-25 year olds incorrectly believe at least one of the following: transmission of HIV is possible by sharing a glass, kissing, or touching a toilet seat" (The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation 2006). Without the proper knowledge, teens simply cannot be expected to act accordingly. Abstinence-only education gives students an incomplete education, and expects students to disregard the gaps in teachings. This isn't just unfair; it is dangerous. In a study performed by the American Journal of Public Health involving 4,000 teens over a period of seven years, they found that adolescents who used condoms during their first intercourse had on average the same number of partners as those who did not use a condom. However, the former group was 30 percent more likely to have used condoms in their most recent sexual encounter,
Imagine if the United States said “Okay, we’re banning driver’s Education in schools. We don’t think a sixteen year old is mentally and physically prepared to drive safely, and we don’t want to encourage that”. So of course, schools start pulling driver’s ed classes, but also say “Wait wait wait, sixteen year olds may not be ready to drive, but they’re going to anyway. Why not make it safer for them instead of putting them out on the road with no safety knowledge?” But, the country continues to say “They’re not ready so we’re not going to encourage that in schools” Sex education isn't just about pregnancy, it's about avoiding STDs and other health issues. The highest teenage STD rates are normally associated with abstinence-only education. Some STDs will cause life-long problems, and should be taught about to teens. Although there is an attempt to minimize teen pregnancy and stds, the rate of teen pregnancy is higher in the U.S. than other Western countries, Among teens aged 18–19, 41% report that they know little or nothing about condoms, and 1 in 4 teens in the US receives information about abstinence without receiving any information or instructions about birth control.
“The United States ranks first among developed nations in rates of both teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases” (Stanger-Hall, Hall, “Abstinence-Only Education and Teen Pregnancy Rates”). According to several studies, this is mainly due to the fact that numerous states teach abstinence-only education, which usually does not include material on contraception, STIs, nor pregnancy. The alternative to abstinence-only education is referred to as comprehensive sex-education, where the practice of abstinence is promoted, but students are additionally taught about contraception, STIs, pregnancy prevention, and interpersonal skills. Despite the beneficial results of this alternative, abstinence-only education is still taught all over the
“A mutually faithful monogamous relationship in the context of marriage is the expected standard of human sexual activity. Different people will disagree about the veracity of this statement, but we know that it does not reflect the experiences of the majority of young people” (Collins 1). Sexual education is a mandatory part of every grade school curriculum and is funded by the federal government. “The content of sexuality education curricula in America varies widely by region, by school district, and sometimes, by classroom” (Collins 1). I believe that because of this fact that it should be taught in a one consistent way.
Abstinence only education is hindering the lives of teens in today’s world. Schools should stop teaching abstinence only education since, it increases the rate of teens having sexual relations with other people, it does not give students adequate lessons on preventing STDs, and the rate of teen pregnancy is higher for students who receive abstinence only education. As a nation we need to help teens protect themselves with this topic and most importantly approach it with caution. Many schools believe that abstinence only education is the most effective way to instruct students on the topic of sex when it clearly is not.
The controversial topic of whether or not sex education curriculum should teach contraceptive use or abstinence-only is heavily debated. In 2013, the U.S. totaled 273,105 babies born by teenagers, ages from 15 to 19 (“About Teen Pregnancy”). This raises the question: why is the number of pregnancies so high? Is the reason for that unsettling high, number because abstinence-only is being taught or contraceptive use is being taught? Students who are taught abstinence-only are more likely to wait to have sex, which results in the lowering of teen pregnancy. The abstinence-only curriculum also reduces students sexual activity.The sex education curriculum in the U.S. should consist of abstinence-only education.
Human nature has shaped and developed many different social norms in our society, however, they also create many social problems when conflicting views come under scrutinization. Sexual education in America has been problematic since the late 1900’s because there is simply a lack of it. Sexual education has transformed over a hundred years, abated by the effect of religious upbringings and conservative outlooks. However, as evolved as it is today, it is still a national issue because of the ongoing struggle of comprehensive sexual education against abstinence, and in the midst of the two, students are still not being exposed to proper sexual health.
However, controversy arises when the discussion as to what the proper method of teaching sexual education should be. In the school system of the United States sex education is taught in two main forms: abstinence-only sex education, which focuses on abstaining from sexual activity prior to marriage and does not provide contraceptive knowledge, and comprehensive sex education, which focuses on sexual health as a whole including knowledge about contraceptives and how to avoid STDs. Currently the only federally funded programs implemented in public schools are abstinence-only. But does Abstinence-only sex education work? In order to provide an answer this paper will discuss the basic principles and practices which constitute abstinence-only sex education, the proponents argument for abstinence-only sex education and how abstinence-only education affects teen pregnancy and STD
America’s youth has always been, and will always be sexually active. Students need to be taught about sexual risks such as STI’s and unplanned pregnancies as well as how to counter those risks by correctly using condoms and birth control. Teenagers aged 15-19 who received comprehensive sex education had pregnancy rates 50% lower than teenagers who received abstinence only education (Kohler, et al. 348). By dispelling rumors and providing up to date information, society is arming its youth with the ability to make the safer and healthier choices. Also, teaching safe sex at school does not mean different moral values cannot be instilled at home or in places of worship. Parents and religious leaders can still encourage teenagers to practice abstinence only. Sexual education should be a dual effort between parents and teachers. If society does not ensure its youth has a comprehensive sexual education, then it is setting them up for
The debate over whether comprehensive sexual education should be taught in has been a controversial issue in the United States for over a decade. The United States has more than double the teenage pregnancy rate of any western industrialized country. Recent statistics has shown that more than a million teenagers become pregnant annually. In addition, teenagers have the highest rates of sexually transmitted disease of any age group. In fact, one in four young people contract a sexually transmitted disease by the age of twenty-one. Comprehensive sexual education in educational institutions is crucial as a means of combating the alarming rates of sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies amongst teenagers.
This is crucial considering the STD rates amongst teenagers. Roughly half of the new STD cases are solely teenagers (aged 15-24) in low-income areas (Kirby, 145). Along with the fear of STDs, which are still becoming more common, teenage pregnancy rates are also a major fear that seems to promote the abstinence only education. The United States is among the highest teenage pregnancy rates in comparison to European nations who implement a comprehensive sexual education system (Stanger-Hall et al.,
It has been almost thirty three years since the first federal funding was put to use in “. . . sex education programs that promote abstinence-only-until-marriage to the exclusion of all other approaches . . .” according to the article “Sex education” (2010) published by “Opposing Viewpoints in Context;” a website that specializes in covering social issues. Since then a muddy controversy has arisen over whether that is the best approach. On one hand is the traditional approach of abstinence (not having sex before marriage), and on the other is the idea that what is being done is not enough, and that there needs to be a more comprehensive approach. This entails not only warning against sex, but also teaching teens about how to have