Outdated Methods of Sex Education

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Imagine sitting in a class and suddenly an educator asks you to spit in a cup. After you and all your fellow classmates have spit in this cup this educator asks a female from your class to take a sip. Sitting there baffled, this is when your teacher compares this cup filled with disgusting bacteria to a woman with multiple sex partners (Rubenstein 525). It sounds absurd but this has been America’s one-sided approach to sex education which only addresses promiscuity. However, there is another side that America refuses to address; the existence of the LGBTQ community and sexual assault.

Will a newly mandated sex education curriculum in schools address the ever-growing issue of sexual assault allegations and the population of LGBTQ youth? The increase of damning sex scandals amongst our nation’s educators and everyday civilians shows the need for the government to ensure proper sex education that correlates with today’s issues. Legislation should be implemented to ensure young students including same-sex couples are taught basic concepts of consent as well as proper STD protection. The currently mandated sex education curriculum has alienated the LGBTQ community and has perpetuated gay stigmas. 8% of high school students identify as homosexual or bisexual (Schlanger).

By excluding these students we are discarding thousands of students across the nation. Far-right Christian organizations have been successful in their quest to silence those who wish to promote inclusive sex education. Some are replacing materials that support gay youth with anti-gay propaganda, while others are urging counselors to send students to “ex-gay” programs that emphasize that homosexuality can be changed (Henneman). Jessie Gillman, program manager for Advocates for Youth, and vivid supporter of inclusive sex education says, “a lot of abstinence-only-until-marriage curricula doesn’t address gay and lesbian youth as being something that exists” (Henneman).

Schools are not only trying to change a child’s identity but are also trying to exclude these students from the conversation. A report by U.S. Representative Henry Waxman of California has concluded that eleven out of the thirteen most popular abstinence-only programs have combined the ideas of science and religion, perpetuated anti-gay dogma, and contain numerous scientific errors (Henneman). Highlighting these errors Waxman states, “one curriculum falsely tells students that they can catch HIV through sweat and tears. Another wrongly says 50% of gay teens have HIV”(Henneman).

These programs not only have no regard for scientific accuracy but, also are promoting alienation and the use of discriminatory language. Schools also neglect to speak to students about consensual sex which is irresponsible considering the growth of young women and men who are assaulted. The reputation of Woodstock High School has been besmirched since three young male coaches were forced to resign due to sexual misconduct. Each of these men resigned due to engaging in relations with female students (‘Sex’). However, the Superintendent of Cherokee County Frank Petruzielo, defended the teachers in saying ¨that all new teachers learn the district’s code of ethics and that other teachers were unaware of the violations.” (‘Sex’).

Ensuring sex education includes consents prevents situations like this from occurring. The shocking truth is that students are unaware of the basic concepts of consent and are more susceptible to be assaulted simply because they’re mal-informed. A 2015 poll conducted by the Washington Post conveys the urgency of proper sex education, it says, “18 percent of college students think someone has consented as long as they don’t say ‘no’” (Weiss). Another survey published by Violence and Gender revealed that men are 32% more likely to consider sexually assaulting a woman if they don’t consider it sexual assault. The last and perhaps most disturbing statistic states, that “33.1 percent of women, 39.1 percent of LGBTQ people, and 8.6 percent of men experience nonconsensual sexual contact during college”(Weiss). These troubling statistics convey the dying need for comprehensive sex education in schools.

The current sex education curriculum is a disservice to our nation’s youth and must, therefore, be changed. The new federally petitioned sex education should be modeled to be medically accurate and unbiased. The California Healthy Youth Act embodies these goals and provides ‘pupils with knowledge and skills for making and implementing healthy decisions about sexuality’ (Rubenstein 533). Government implementing a comprehensive sex education program has proven effective in ‘delaying the initiation of sex, reducing the frequency of sex and the number of partners, and increasing condom or contraceptive use’ (Rubenstein 537).

Materials given to students should be “medically accurate” ensuring students are properly informed and ready to make healthy decisions. Rachel Rubenstein in “Sex Education: Funding Facts, Not Fear” defines “medically accurate” as being “information that is verified or supported by research conducted in compliance with scientific methods and published in peer-reviewed journals” (Rubenstein 533). Another priority must be to address the alienation and anti-gay dogma currently taking place in schools. Sex education should be a space for students to ask questions while they discuss the awkward change they are about to undergo.

In order to ensure this goal is met “the material cannot be biased and must be appropriate for students ‘of all races, genders, sexual orientations, and ethnic and cultural backgrounds’” (Rubenstein 534). This statute requires that schools make sex education materials applicable to students who are non-heterosexual or non-gender conforming. Rather than focusing solely on marital relationships students should also be informed on how to commit to long term relationship and how to recognize an unhealthy relationship. Schools must also provide a system in which students would receive sex education unless a parent actively refused. Although the promotion of this type of education provides a tremendous benefit some may refuse for their child to be exposed to this type of learning.

Parents may insist that promoting all-inclusive sex education curriculums or ideas contrary to abstinence will encourage students to have more sex and taint family values. However, abstinence supporters fail to realize that there is no scientific evidence that supports abstaining from sex. In the study referenced earlier in 2004, U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman released a report that exposed the nation’s top abstinence programs for “medical inaccuracies about contraceptives, the risks of sexual activity, perpetuating old-fashioned stereotypes about gender roles, and blurring the lines between religious and scientific concepts”(Henneman).

One study that could even remotely testify to the effectiveness of abstinence-only education did not meet the federal guidelines for abstinence-only programs. Three other programs that were analyzed did not demonstrate a delay in sex and therefore it cannot be said definitively that this form of education is effective. Avoiding conversation about all aspects of sex leaves students mal-informed and full of questions. When considering a newly mandated sex education program the overall health and wellbeing of students should be considered.

The outdated and unrealistic teaching of abstinence should be discarded and replaced with a method that can apply to all students. It should never again be implied that a woman with multiple sexual partners equates to a cup full of spit. Furthermore, never again should a young gay student be denied vital information simply due to their sexual orientation. It’s time for us to move forward into the age of enlightenment where we respect an individual’s right to live their best life.


Cite this paper

Outdated Methods of Sex Education. (2021, Apr 17). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/outdated-methods-of-sex-education/

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