Why Comprehensive Sex Education is Important for Teenagers
Wed, April 21, 2021

Why Comprehensive Sex Education is Important for Teenagers

Teenagers are naturally curious. They tend to explore anything strange to them. Whether parents like it or not, teens will soon become attracted to other teens / Photo by: Cathy Yeulet via 123RF

 

Teenagers are naturally curious. They tend to explore anything strange to them. Whether parents like it or not, teens will soon become attracted to other teens. They might also engage in sexual activities out of curiosity. Unfortunately, no proper sex education means more likely will they engage in unsafe sex, which can lead to early pregnancy or worse, acquiring sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that a total of 249,078 babies were born to women aged 15 to 19 years, with a birth rate of 24.2 per 1,000 women. Teenage mothers are reportedly more likely to have lower school achievement and to drop out of high school, face unemployment as a young adult, be incarcerated at some time during adolescence, and have more health problems. 

As of now, more than 40 million people are currently infected with HIV/AIDS across the globe. Of this number, 95 percent live in developing countries and half of them are younger than 25 years of age. 

Unfortunately, talking about sex remains a taboo in many countries, especially the most conservative ones. One of the misconceptions about sex education is that it promotes engaging in sexual activities that can get girls pregnant. There are also moral issues attached to it. However, sex education is just as important as our subjects at school. Learning about sex, human anatomy, contraceptives, and the other topics that make up sex education is ensuring that our teens are knowledgeable with these topics for their own safety

Sex Education

Sex is a natural part of life, and it happens with or without sex education. However, the lack of proper sex education has left many young people confused. They often receive conflicting information about relationships and sex as they make the transition from childhood to adulthood. Most of the time, teens acquire information about these topics on the internet, which is extremely unreliable. Worse, their perception of sex and relationships is being shaped by pornography. 

According to UNESCO, comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) is a curriculum-based process of teaching and learning about the cognitive, emotional, physical, and social aspects of sexuality. It aims to help teens acquire knowledge, attitudes, skills, and values that will empower them to realize their health, well-being, and dignity. Through CSE, they can consider how their choices affect their own well-being, develop respectful social and sexual relationships, and understand and ensure the protection of their rights throughout their lives.

Planned Parenthood, a nonprofit organization that provides sexual healthcare in the US and globally, stated that CSE refers to K-12 programs that cover a broad range of topics related to human development (including reproduction, puberty, sexual orientation, and gender identity), relationships (including families, friendships, romantic relationships, and dating), personal skills (including communication, negotiation, and decision-making), and others. 

CSE helps young people to make informed decisions about relationships and sexuality. This aims to make them understand how issues like gender-based violence, gender inequality, early and unintended pregnancies, HIV, and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) pose serious risks to their health and well-being. Also, teens who lack knowledge of proper sex and relationship education are vulnerable to harmful sexual behaviors and sexual exploitation. CSE provides an opportunity to present sexuality with a positive approach, emphasizing values such as respect, inclusion, non-discrimination, equality, empathy, responsibility, and reciprocity.

Sex is a natural part of life, and it happens with or without sex education. However, the lack of proper sex education has left many young people confused / Photo by: Josep Suria via 123RF

 

Why Sex Education is Necessary

Previous studies showed that many young people are sexually active in some way and this has increased over the last decade. However, two concerns arose: a low level of consistent condom use and increased rates of unwanted sex, particularly involving alcohol use. According to the Department of Education and Training of Victoria in Australia, a lot of teenagers acquire misinformed and sensationalist messages about sex through pop videos, advertisements, internet blogs, films, and television series. 

According to Verywell Health, an online site that provides reliable, understandable, and credible health information and expert advice, abstinence-only education doesn't affect the rate at which teenagers decide to have sex. It only makes teens more curious about sex and more likely to engage in it unsafely. This only denies them the chance to learn about acceptable options other than abstinence.

Parents should also understand that sex education is not encouraging kids to have sex. Instead, it gives them realistic and factual information about the safety of various sexual practices. It may encourage them to make more informed decisions before participating in alternative sexual behaviors. Without proper sex education, teens are more likely to engage in sexual activities that they may mistakenly assume as safe.

Also, sex education helps them understand themselves biologically and prepare to face the world so that they do not fall victim to sexual predators. It encourages them to speak up if their sexual boundaries are violated.

All young people have the right to get sex education as it is vital to their development, learning, and overall well-being. Learning in this area also contributes to academic success and positive mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. After all, it is designed to help them gain the information, skills, and motivation to make healthy decisions about sex and sexuality throughout their lives.

All young people have the right to get sex education as it is vital to their development, learning, and overall well-being / Photo by: luckybusiness via 123RF