Should sex education or abstinence betaught in schools? There is an ongoing debate between if schools should teachsex education or abstinence-only programs. The reason this topic becamecontroversial is that people don’t see eye to eye. There are strengths and weaknesses onboth sides of this debate.
Sex education teaches about sex and prevention, andthen there are abstinence-only programs. An abstinence-only program is a formof sex education that teaches not having sex outside of marriage. It oftenexcludes other types of sexual and reproductive health education, such as birthcontrol and safe sex. Thispaper should focus on the three strengths and weaknesses of the argument, whatshould be taught in schools, sex education or abstinence-only programs. A lot ofpeople feel that abstinence-only programs shouldbe taught in schools everywhere. The argument here is that young adolescentsshouldn’t be learning about sex and learn how to remain abstinence untilmarriage. When looking at this side of the debate there are reasons that support why abstinence-onlyprograms should be taught in schools and how it would help teens.
Abstinence-onlyprograms teach about the social pressure teens face on a day to day base andhow abstinence education improves decision-making skills while buildingself-assurance. Teens don’t know what to say when they are pressured intohaving sex and taking a class that teaches you what to do in times like this isjust what young adolescences need. This is just one of the reasons why people feel that abstinence-only programs should be taught in schools (Masl, 2004) Whyshould abstinence-only programs be taught in schools, instead of sex education?To support this debatable question, I’m going to focus on three strengths. Firstoff, being abstinent fromsex is the only method of pregnancy prevention that is 100% effective and teenswho abstain from sexual activity also prevent the risk of sexually transmitteddiseases. Every other method of contraception has a risk of failure. ResearcherSantelli (2007), states that a new studyshowed that contraceptive use is accountable for 86% of the decline in the U.S.
teenage pregnancy rate between 1995 and 2002. In addition, a teen who isabstinence and is in a relationship doesn’t have to worry about if theirpartner is with them just for sex. Teens are at their most vulnerable stage inlife and being tangled ina sexual relationship raises that vulnerability and the odds of being hurt bythat partner. When a teen is abstinent from sex it is easier for them to knowif their partner is with them for love or sex. Lastly, studies have found alink between low self-esteem and early sexual activity. A teen whointentionally chooses to wait to have sexual intercourse is less likely to lookto a relationship for validation and may be more self-reliant. Although thesestrengths support why abstinence-only programs shouldbe taught in schools, there are weaknesses that come with teaching youngadolescents to be abstinent (Rosenbaum, 2017). People feel teaching abstinent to teens arethe way to go, however, that’s not always the case.
I’m going to focus on the three weaknesses that support why abstinence-onlyprograms shouldn’t be taught in schools.First off, tellinga bunch of teenagers to be abstinent is not a realistic expectation. Abstinenceworks if teens pledge to be abstinent. However, according to scholar Janet E. Rosenbaum(2017), taking a pledge to being abstinent doesn’t make any changes at all inteens sexual behavior. Secondly, another weakness is teens who break theirpromises of abstinence are not likely to use contraceptives than teens who donot vow abstinence.
In January 2009, a report found that teens who break theirvow to abstinence are less likely to get tested for sexually transmitteddiseases and can have sexually transmitted diseases for longer periods of timethan teens who do not vow abstinence (“Centers for Disease Control andPrevention,”2017). Lastly, abstinence-only education directs the wrong messageto teen girls. Author Valenti argues, boys are taught that if they have sexthen that makes them a man. Girls are taught they have sex when they getmarried and if they lose their virginity before marriage than they are frownedupon, but teen girls lie and say they are virgins because they don’t want to be judged. Guys, on theother hand, do have sex, butthey lie and say they had it with seven other girls. Basically, girls aretaught to remain pure until marriage and boys are taught have sex as soon aspossible because that’s what makes you a man (Valenti, 2017).
Why should sex education be taught in schools, insteadof abstinence-only programs? I’m going to state three strengths that givesupport to why sex education needs to be taught in schools. First off, some ofthe sex education classes separate the boys from the girls, which savesembarrassment amongst students and teaches them what they need to know abouttheir body built on their gender. People feel awkward when talking about sex oreven their own bodies going through changes. Robert Crown is an example ofthis. Robert Crown is an introduction to puberty, but they do have a sexeducation program for teens. Robert Crown separates the boys from the girls tomake it more comfortable for the teens. Secondly, having sex education being taught in schoolscan clear up all those myths young adolescents hear about. For example, onemyth a lot of young adolescents believe is that you cannot get pregnant thefirst time.
Lastly, just to have that information about safe sex is key. Adolescentsstart to become sexually active at a young age and studies have shown thatyoung teens become sexually active before the inclusion of educational classes.According to the Centers for Disease Control (2017), 66% of high schoolstudents in America have had sex by their senior year, and about 65% of allSTIs contracted by Americans this year will happen in people under 24.
To helpteens be responsible, the values of inclusion of classes is important for them(Steinberg, 2017).For people who are for sex education,they have to know that there are flaws that come with it. I’m going to talk about the three weaknesses thatsupport why sex education shouldn’t be taught in schools.
First, sex educationprograms are sometimes teens can be immature about the subject being taught inclass. Students will get out of control and will not be paying attention towhat is being taught. Another weakness is that is that sex education can goagainst religious beliefs. A lot of religions believe in marriage beforeintercourse, so some parents would have a problem with the school teaching sexeducation.
Lastly, most teachers are not trained to teach sex education tostudents. Teachers can be biased about the taboo subject and instead ofteaching the students facts, they teach the students what they believe in. Thisis harmful to the students because the students won’t getthe information about sex they need (Santelli, 2007).Should sex education or abstinence betaught in schools? Teaching adolescents about sex is no doubt a controversialtopic in America.
This isn’t something that should be ignored and it willforever be a debatable question. My opinion is that sex education needs to betaught to young adolescents in schools everywhere. A lot of people aren’t awarethat sex education does teach about abstinence. They teach abstinence as being thebest method for avoiding sexually transmitted diseases but also teaches aboutcondoms and contraception to decrease the risk of unintentional pregnancy.