BY ELENA VALDEZ
As bodies change and hormone levels fluctuate, the inner sexual demon is aroused within teenagers. Sex is a natural part of life, and the time in which many come to this realization is during their teenage years. Many questions arise and the changes that stem from puberty leave students guessing and researching in their own time.
In schools, students are subjected to a sexual education course that is more of a joke than anything.
The biological, psychological and social impacts of sex should be made known to students in order for them to have a comprehensive and mature understanding.
Teenagers have sex, there is no way around that. Adolescents are not as innocent as their parents would hope for them to be. In these times of discovery, a cohesive, in-depth education would create the foundation to have smart and safe sex. Lesson plans are centered around body parts, which play a very important part, but they fail to recognize the other components.
A more inclusive sex-ed would aid in de-stigmatizing the subject and educating the public. Rather than neglecting to explain the many aspects of teenage sexuality and the exploration of it, mandated sex-ed should be thorough and leave students informed, not uncomfortable and still wondering.
Only 24 states in the country require sex-ed in school. As students of America mature, hundreds of thousands of students are still left in a state of confusion, believing in common myths such as the breaking of the hymen and that masturbation causes infertility.
A general misunderstanding of what sex itself is and how it can affect a person are common among youth. The biological, psychological and social impacts of sex should be made known to students in order for them to have a comprehensive and mature understanding.
Boundary setting, consent, communication and protection are only words to students in a science class. School systems do not arm their students with the necessary means to battle issues such as sexual assault and abusive relationships. Ignorance surrounding these topics will lead people into bad situations, oftentimes ones that could have been avoided through a simple educational conversation. Communication fails in the classroom and it carries into students’ personal lives.
The failure to even acknowledge queer sexuality by the school systems further stigmatizes teen sexuality, and fuels the preconceived notion that sex is only between a man and woman.
The many forms of birth control are seldom acknowledged or explained. Society’s typically traditional, close-minded values are presented on the whiteboard at the front of the class. The current curriculum does not go as far as to explain the importance of practicing consensual sex, getting tested and much more. The current sex-ed courses raise students who are clueless and still just as likely to explore their sexuality.
The risks associated with sex are touched upon more than the benefits. Sex is part of staying both physically and emotionally healthy; it can relieve tension, burn calories, lower blood pressure and increase overall mood as dopamine, the “feel-good” chemical, is released during sexual activity.
In 2017, the United States was reported as having one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates for a developed country; that in part is due to the fact that our education system is failing to provide a thorough sexual education. Students are forced to rely on other classmates and even social media sites for information that is, a vast majority of the time, untrue and underdeveloped.
Sex is defined as any sexual activity between two or more people, not constricted to specific genders. Heterosexual sex is not the only type of sex and that is a fact that cannot be ignored. The failure to even acknowledge queer sexuality by the school systems further stigmatizes teen sexuality, and fuels the preconceived notion that sex is only between a man and woman. Including all possible variations of sexual partners would discredit many myths and insecurities among the student population.
Fear of promiscuity must be put aside for education’s sake, so if adolescents do decide to try certain things, they will at least know how to be safe.
The importance of being tested is scarcely mentioned. Talking to a doctor without the fear of judgment isn’t necessarily encouraged. The youth is being brought up to stay ignorant and silent, rather than informed and healthy.
The risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is mentioned, but not stressed. Although nothing guarantees complete safety, abstinence is not the only method of prevention against these ailments. No sex is not the only way to prevent pregnancy. The most logical course of action is to inform adolescents that there are ways to have safe sex, because encouraging abstinence does not mean that it will be practiced.
Fear of promiscuity must be put aside for education’s sake, so if adolescents do decide to try certain things, they will at least know how to be safe. However awkward the birds and bees may be, it is important for students to learn proper sexual health and hygiene.
Photo courtesy of Caribbean Family Planning Affiliation