The answer isn’t burying your head in the sand and pretending kids aren’t interested in sex. Instead, we need to realize that they need our help and guidance in understanding the complexities of becoming sexual beings and all of this.
According to the World Bank, the incidence of teenage pregnancies is lower in countries with extensive sex lives. Currently, the US has about five times the pregnancy rate of teenagers compared to European and Scandinavian countries.
Sex ed teaches children not only about sexuality, but also about their bodies and the emotional changes that come with puberty. Sex ed programs are designed to provide age-appropriate information – and as children get older and are likely to consider becoming sexual, they provide a safe place to talk about options, including sexual orientation, abstaining from sex, contraceptive choices, and STD precautions. In addition, sex ed provides a place to talk about consent and teaches our children that it is always their right to say no, change their minds at any time, and ask for help when they feel hurt. Sex ed is just as important to boys as it is to girls – both are at risk for the consequences of an unplanned pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, and criminal charges of inconsistent sex or rape.
While MT families should be a contributor to how much information their children get about sex, it is a community health issue that affects us all. Children who are not given the information they need run the risk of making uninformed decisions that can affect the lives of others and put themselves and others at risk of unwanted pregnancy and illness. Sex ed does not promote or enhance sexual activity; It provides our youth with the information they need to make good decisions.