Sex is something that affects all of us, regardless of whether we like to think about it or not. Sex is everywhere! On television, in magazines, on social media, in our homes. While people do not want to admit sex is everywhere, there is one place many believe it should not be and that is in schools.
Popular opinion is that schools should not teach sex education and if they do, it should be very limited. The most popular method taught by schools is abstinence only. The most ineffective form of sexual education! Abstinence only education leads to riskier sexual behaviors. States that heavily teach abstinence only education have a higher rate of teenage pregnancy and a higher rate of Sexually Transmitted infections. The other problems involved with this kind of teaching is that this teaching is strong in religious undertones, making programs extremely homophobic. In these programs homosexuality is not addressed. The only sex is heterosexual and it is wrong before marriage! Another issue not addressed is healthy relationships. It makes sense that they wouldn’t have time for that while they are berating children about how wrong sex is.
There needed to be a solution to this problem. It did not make sense that such a natural and polarized act is not taught in schools. An Article in the Journal Sex Education titled ‘It’s got to be about enjoying yourself’: young people, sexual pleasure, and sex and relationships education, author Julia Hirst addressed more inequalities in sex education programs, but also gave solutions for fixing those problems. Hirst explains that no sex education programs focuses on the pleasure that happens during intercourse. That they dehumanize sex! The program Hirst developed called sexualities and relationships education or (SRE) focuses on important age appropriate conversations about healthy relationships, the mechanics of sex, different types of contraception, and mostly importantly pleasure. This program also addresses homosexuality and gender inequality, making the program beneficial for everyone!
The final issue that neither conventional sexual education programs or Hirst’s SRE program does not address is parental involvement. In a 2013 Article in the journal of school health discusses how family homework can help the effectiveness of sex education programs. In the study they chose a mixed group of 6th and 7th graders from eleven different middle schools and gave them homework assignments, these assignments were to be done with the help of their parents. The results yielded that the participants who received the homework were less likely to have intercourse earlier than intended and increased communication between students and their parents.
The two methods listen above are more effective than the normal sexual education curriculum which raises a big question, Why hasn’t anything changed?