Sex-free life no longer a solution

The new sex-education program that could replace abstinency-only education still doesn’t provide necessary information.

Nearly a decade after it started funding abstinence-only programs, Congress decided to cut the $100 million per year for the 10-year standard, but the replacement suggestions appear just as inadequate to prevent teen pregnancies.
jillian weir-reeves
The abstinence-only approach was rooted in a “not me, not now” policy that stressed the importance of waiting until marriage to engage in sexual activity. Abstinence-only programs dominated the sex education curriculum in many school districts for a number of years and have been funded $100 million per year since 2005, so the change is radical. These types of programs were viewed as the most beneficial technique for students.

Introduced by Senator Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., and Congresswoman Barbara Lee, D-Calif., the new bill emphasizes “above-the-waist” programs that will focus on helping students achieve goals, maintain healthy relationships and improve academically.

Some college students, such as sophomore sociology major Angelica Allen, said they think the change is a positive one.

“I think it’s a good change and needed because teens like to do what they’re told they can’t or shouldn’t do,” Allen said. “It can also make them aware of STDs.”

The new Personal Responsibility Education Program could remove the alluring, mysterious persona sex holds, but Allen’s theory leaves behind those students who aren’t just participating in sexual behaviors out of curiosity. The method would then become a re-run of a “Barney” episode, where students would learn about their internal feelings and the mechanical aspects of a relationship without addressing the risks involved with sexual intercourse.

“It’s unethical that we have decided to censor information about sex, when the activity has the potential to be life threatening,” said Clara Haignere, a public health professor.

Without introducing topics like contraceptives, the new method becomes another way to avoid the consequences of sex. The new approach needs to not only speak to students about bettering themselves, but also about protecting themselves. If topics like contraception were discussed without limitations, risks and consequences from unprotected sex could be avoided.

Congress may not be able to regulate sex, but it can pass legislation that provides students with honest and crucial information about sex.

“Students need all the uncensored information about sex before they engage in sex. They may not absorb all of the information, but at least they will know it’s there for them to explore or look into certain topics on their own,” Haignere said.

The American Medical Association website emphasizes the need to discuss controversial ideas to provide good sex education. The purpose for sex education, defined by the AMA, is to keep students safe and informed. The AMA recommends an integrated strategy that makes condoms available to students and provides factual information about reproductive biology, contraceptives and birth-control alternatives.

The back-and-forth trial-and-error approach lawmakers and sex education policy experts seem to be using toward sex education needs to end. If Congress fails to settle on an approach, young people will never receive the knowledge they deserve to keep themselves safe.

Jillian Weir-Reeves can be reached at jillian.weir-reeves@temple.edu.

2 Comments

  1. Sex is a normal healthy part of an ADULT Life.
    To not do it is to repress a very basic life need.
    Obviously the abstinence crowd never heard of Maslows’ Hierarchyy of Needs.
    Thats why Americans are such sex obsessed prudes.

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