Sex Ed in America: To Teach or Not to Teach


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Teen Vogue has rightfully deemed this subject as one of the biggest taboos in American culture.

It’s the conversation that no teen wants to have and all parents would like to avoid, but what good would it do for our younger generation if everyone kept the details to themselves?

Have you figured out the topic yet? If you were thinking ‘teens losing their virginity’, then you were spot on.

As normal as it is to be disappointed or shocked when we learn that our youth are becoming sexually active, it should be just as normal to educate them as much as possible.

Sex is often addressed as a forbidden action that should never be done until marriage. When the topic is realistically thought about, it’s inevitable to come across the fact that not everyone makes it to marriage before they are no longer a virgin. In the case of teenagers, the average age for both male and female are extremely low.

According to National Survey of Family Growth data, on average, girls lose their virginity at age 17 and boys lose their virginity at age 16.

The CDC also reported that virgins make up only 12.3 percent of females and 14.3 percent of males aged 20 to 24.

Knowing that information, one can only wonder why more and more teens are inclined to have sex. The answer to that question is simple…communication and education.

To begin with, we must first address the issue (because there is an issue).

Sex is too often frowned down upon and shamed. The problem is that there is too much shaming, and not enough education and conversations about our bodies and how we were made to reproduce.

The lack of normalization of sex contributes to sex education not being taught in schools and most importantly, at home. Last week, we discussed yet another taboo topic, “The Talk,” and we uncovered some groundbreaking realizations and tips to help overcome the fears often associated with sexual activity.

More and more teens are losing their virginity and experimenting with sex because they are either curious, pressured, forced or simply uneducated.

Studies show that 1 in 4 people surveyed said their parents never talked with them about sex. This neglect to communicate resulted in them wanting to find things out on their own.

This same study also showed that half of the people who were surveyed were never taught how to say ‘no’ to sex.

So when it came down to actually having sex, they didn’t really know how to say ‘no’ without upsetting their partner, or making things weird or uncomfortable.

Although many people would rather avoid having this awkward and invasive conversation, sex should be seen as something as normal as brushing your teeth or reading a book.

The more it is viewed as a bad thing, or a sinister act, the harder it will be to educate our youth about it. Sex education should not only include conversations about intercourse, it should also include education of safe sex, STDs, teenage pregnancy, HIV, contraception and more.

I always say that education is not only the teachers job, because learning ultimately begins at home. USC Suzanne Dworak- Peck School of Social Work Department of Nursing professor Dr. Theresa Granger says: “One of the weaknesses in our current system is that we’re trying to assign primary responsibility and it is too tall of an order for any single entity to try to tackle.”

In other words, it literally takes a village.  Whether it’s parents, doctors, or teachers, we should all be more transparent and educational when it comes to speaking with our tweens about sex and all that comes with it. Doing so could ultimately help children make smarter decisions and that issomething we all would appreciate.

Paishance Welch

Teens, Tweens & YoungAdults