In early March, U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren of the House declared that America’s sex education is not enough. The stats don’t lie, with ridiculous sexually transmitted disease rates for those in their teens and twenties. Hultgren then submitted a bill that would spend $110 million annually for the next five years on grants to abstinence programs.
This is almost as ridiculous as the S.T.D. statistics. More ridiculous than the coke-heads we let grace our tabloids. *cough cough* States with more comprehensive sex education programs have much better S.T.D. and teen pregnancy statistics than states focusing on abstinence-only or abstinence-plus sexual education programs. Europe mostly does comprehensive sexual education, and it works tremendously better than America’s abstinence plan. This does not seem to matter.
The statistics have been ignored in America for far too long. Thankfully, Obama’s platform has been for comprehensive sex education.
The idea to rebrand abstinence only as risk avoidance is ludicrous. Sure, abstaining is avoiding risks. The real risk lies in how many teenagers are not actually going abstain, regardless of that type of education. The true risk avoidance would be to teach the full course. This includes the realities of sex, anatomy, pregnancy, statistics, contraceptives, S.T.D.s, and emotions. Then perhaps the adolescent is practically prepared.
Still, we need to get something straight with America’s lawmakers, members of school boards, and parents: the math is in. Teenagers who receive a more comprehensive sex education are less likely to get a S.T.D. or become pregnant. It does not matter if you are uncomfortable talking about these touchy and genuinely awkward subjects with your offspring. If they don’t receive a full education on the subject matter, then they are much more likely to fail.
What individuals should receive what rights has always been a discussion topic. We are past the time where only white men could own land and vote. America still has a long way to go in equality, from letting same-sex partners into hospital rooms to who has access to better health care. What should not conceivably be up for discussion are the rights of our minors. The youth’s future is entrusted to the adults. We are to teach them how to live, how to learn, and especially how to not ruin their lives before they have begun.
I’ve come to that age where some of my friends are deciding to have children. Considering my career path, they ask me “when are you supposed to tell your kids about sex?” The answer is, “always”. They are to know from the time they can talk what the correct names for their parts are. They should know where babies come from before they have the inkling to ask. Sexuality should never be an awkward topic. It is a part of all of our lives, for the rest of our lives. Give the youth honest and developmentally appropriate answers to their questions. This isn’t a subject that you want your kids to feel eternal anxiety about.