Monday, April 9, 2012

Sex Education and contraception?

I used to think that sex education belonged at home.  I believed that parents should be teaching their children about sexual matters, not schools.  But as my own sons were growing up, I heard some of the stuff their friends were saying about sex and realized not all parents feel comfortable with these discussions and there was a lot of misinformation floating around.

Today, we see sex education being used as a political football.  Republican controlled state legislatures (at the behest of church leaders) have quietly been changing the sex ed programs in public schools.  Those programs no longer include a discussion about contraception!  Those programs now say abstinence is the only way to prevent pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.

Well ... duh ... yeah ... if we super glue pants zippers and issue chastity belts and make sure our young people know that "abstinence" means ANY sexually-oriented activity involving ANY body part, then they might be protected against pregnancy and STDs.

But here's the problem:  these religion-backed programs are not giving our young people the whole picture.  At some point, teenagers grow up and don't we want them armed with the information they'll need as young adults?  Information they should have before making the choices and decisions that are sure to come?

Or ... maybe even the information they need right now?  Here are some statements I've actually heard students make ... statements they believed were facts:

"I thought you couldn't get pregnant the first time you have sex."
"You can't get an STD just by kissing."
"But he pulled out in time and you can't get pregnant - right?"
"Oral sex really isn't sex."
"If you stand up and walk around after sex, you can't get pregnant."
"We're doing the rhythm thing so I'm safe."
"What are those things called?  Condoms?  Sure, he'll put one on - I think."

Three of the above statements were made by pregnant girls.  One statement was made by a girl that did end up pregnant.  I don't know where those teenagers got their information, but you can bet it wasn't from a good, comprehensive sex ed program!

A discussion about contraception most definitely should be included in a sex ed curriculum.  If you don't want your child to hear about it, then opt out of the sex ed program!  If your religious beliefs will be offended by a contraception discussion, then pull your child out of the program - have him sent to the library during the class time!  It's as simple as that!  But do not think, for one minute, that your beliefs should be applied to all students.

There is nothing wrong with including contraception in a comprehensive sex ed program because - sooner or later - these students need the information.  While that's going on, YOU teach your religious beliefs and your morals ... that way, your child gets everything he/she will need when the time comes to make some very important decisions.

Would you rather our young people get the actual facts  .... or are you going to be satisfied with what they "learned" from the kid down the street?  If you need a reminder, go back up and look at the student statements again.  

Interesting ... the word "abstinence" doesn't appear in any of those statements ... 

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