My junior year of high school, I wrote and presented an original oratory on comprehensive sex education. Being that our president at the time was this guy, the reform that I was passionately advocating (you know, like that kids get medically accurate info about getting jiggy with it) was a long shot. Instead, after my little sister began taking health around oh, 2004, she called me and said that a couple of guest speakers said that condoms almost always break and asked everyone in her class to take a vow of abstinence. I was irate. At 15, she was aghast. Who were these guest speakers to tell her that she should wait to swipe her V-card ’til marriage? Isn’t that a religiously-based belief, anyway? Em was just one teen among many who, during the Bush administration, were gypped on the reality of the “birds & bees.” The result: A sharp increase in teen pregnancy and STD rates. Doh.
Well, it only took about 10 years, but finally, there’s been some progress on the sex ed front! According to The New York Times: “[New health law] programs, to be financed by $375 million in grants to the states over five years, are meant to encourage teenagers to delay sexual activity but to use protection if they are already active — as half of all high school students are. Lessons on healthy relationships, financial literacy and other life skills are also woven into the program, called PREP for Personal Responsibility Education Program.”
Of course, conservative voices are trying to bring new rise to the Puritan movement, wagging fingers and noting that parents are going to be really ticked off by this change of tide.
For instance, there’s this Mr. Robert Rector, quoted in the NY Times piece who says, “Over 90 percent of parents want kids to be taught to abstain until they at least finish high school, and the comprehensive education curricula don’t do that — they pretty much normalize teen sexual activity.” GASP. “They contain very explicit sexual material.”
Explicit material, like…accurate information about human anatomy and conception?! Or instructions on how to correctly put on a condom? Despite the glaring statistics, some people still believe that kids will fare better with blinders on.
As former Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders said, “Do you go out and wreck your car just because you have insurance on it? Why do we feel that children are so stupid? Just because you talk to them about condoms, does does that mean they’re going to go out and have sex?”
Actually, it just means that when they do it (because you know, sorry for the wake-up call, but most teens are horny enough to do it before walking down the aisle) – they’re going to be educated about their own health and probably…hopefully…opt to have safe sex. (Remember when that was all the rage in the ’90s? Oh, how I miss the sleazy Clinton years!)
When it comes to sex, do you agree that knowledge is power?
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