Moments of Permanence - On sex education: this doesn't have to be complicated

About On sex education: this doesn't have to be complicated

Previous Entry On sex education: this doesn't have to be complicated May. 24th, 2015 @ 06:18 pm Next Entry
So, there's this ongoing debate in Certain Countries (*cough*) about sex education; between, well, actual education, and a concept I find nonsensical called 'abstinence-only'.

The reason I find it nonsensical is this: it is safe to assume that, of any group of teenagers, the majority of them will, at some point in their lives, engage in sexual activity.

This is true even if they remain purely abstinent virgins until their church-based heterosexual marriage. And most heterosexual married couples these days do, in fact, use contraception.

This means that the use of contraception falls fairly firmly into the category of general life skills that high school education should be teaching, anyway.

I think the approach my school took was actually pretty good. It opened with: "Here are the studies that show that becoming sexually active too young is really quite unhealthy for your emotional and social development. So, you know, keep that in mind. Also, if someone wants to have sex with you, it's your decision, and if they're pressuring you, it's a pretty good sign you should say no."

So far so good, in terms of discouraging us from going right out and banging the first person we saw.

However, it continued, more or less: "However, at some point in your lives, hopefully a fairly significant number of years from now, odds are most if not all of you are going to have sex, at which point it would be good for you to know a few things..."

At which point the class covered sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, methods of contraception, and the success rates to be expected from different forms of contraception with regards to pregnancy and disease prevention.

All in a framework of: We're telling you this now because ideally, it shouldn't be relevant yet, but we want you to know it when it is.
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From:[personal profile] firefly21
Date: May 26th, 2015 04:56 am (UTC)
I dislike the fact that my school presented sex education as "Obviously don't let anyone pressure you into sex, and wait til you're ready, but since you WILL be doing it sooner rather than later, here's all the details." Abstinence was never presented as a valid option and I wish it had been. Nor was there much time spent on "here are the negatives to becoming sexually active so young."
When even the teachers/curriculum is assuming you are going to be having sex by 15-17, then it's no wonder young men and women think it's normal - these attitudes are being reinforced by schools!
Anyway, obviously I think sex education (including contraception) is still important, but I would welcome more of a move towards educating ABOUT abstinence and the benefits of it, rather than just assuming everyone will rush out and have sex asap as teenagers.
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From:[personal profile] sami
Date: May 30th, 2015 10:51 am (UTC)
Yeah, the thing of, "Obviously you'll be doing it soon," that's not really okay for me. It was more just... so, hey, *eventually*... so here's the information you're going to want, because while you may well be married by then even so you're not going to want *infinite* kids, guys.

Our education on the Issues At Large also included a guest lecture by an HIV+ gentleman who explained much about the risks and why you don't want it... but he'd also been living with it for over a decade, so it was also, "Hey, people with HIV are still people and if, by some tragedy, you ever test positive yourself, don't just throw yourself off a bridge, okay?"

I think they hit a really good balance at my school, despite, you know, it being a very bogan government school, you know? It was just this really solid presentation of: no, really, right now just don't, you'll be much better off if you leave it... but when EVENTUALLY this becomes relevant to your life, THIS STUFF IS IMPORTANT OKAY here is the information.

They also seemed to pick the teachers who presented it quite well: it was always the thirty-something P.E. teachers, who were young enough to be able to deal with discussing sex with a bunch of teenagers, but old enough, well, to be able to deal with discussing sex with a bunch of teenagers.
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