Teens Holding Off On Sex, But Still Need Comprehensive Sex Ed

A study published in online journal, Pediatrics concluded that teenagers are waiting to have sex until they get a little older, contrary to popular belief. One of the key findings is the researchers “found 0.6% of 10-year-olds, 1.1% of 11-year-olds and 2.4% of 12-year-olds said they had sex.” Teens are waiting to have sex. This phenomenon supports the claim that comprehensive sexual education should be taught within schools.

Comprehensive sexual education can be defined as a program that “teaches about abstinence as the best method for avoiding STDs (sexual transmitted diseases) and unintended pregnancy, but also teaches about condoms and contraception to reduce the risk of unintended pregnancy and of infection with STDs, including HIV. It also teaches interpersonal and communication skills and helps young people explore their own values, goals, and options.”

Comprehensive sexual education not only teaches positive communication skills, but explores interpersonal relationship violence as well. Studies have shown younger people who received comprehensive sexual education had lower reports of teen pregnancy. Teenagers were also more likely to reduce the number of sexual partners, reduce the frequency of sex, and delay sexual initiation, supporting the study that teenagers are waiting to have sex.

Many advocates for abstinence-only sexual education claim that teaching students about sexuality will increase to sexual behaviors. Numerous studies have shown no increase in sexual behaviors. Advocates that do cite research supporting abstinence-only programs have not used the most credible resources, either. They have cited studies that weren’t peer reviewed or the sample sizes were quite small. Parents that might be uncomfortable with comprehensive education could have the ability for their student to opt out of the workshop. The problem with comprehensive sexual education is that it tends to be in wealthier districts. This problem would need to be corrected, trying to introduce comprehensive sexual education into lower income schools.

I remember when I had my sex ed classes, we were unable to talk about condoms and birth control. We were taught that you should wait for marriage. They taught us that sex was scary, showing us pictures of STDs. It was a bit scary seeing what gonorrhea could look like when you’re 12. That was supposed to ward us away from sex. Clearly it didn’t, since my town had a few girls who were pregnant. I am not saying that comprehensive sexual education would have prevented all those teenage pregnancies, but at least we would have been informed and prepared a little better for sex.

Teens are not having sex as early as we would have thought and that is a positive thing. That is why comprehensive sexual education should introduced in schools or continued to being taught in schools.

Note: This is just a short piece on why comprehensive sexual education is great. I wrote an in-depth paper back in college explaining the positivity of comprehensive sexual education and its introduction in churches. If you’d like more information, send me a message.

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Michelle Adams

Currently serving as an AmeriCorps member at the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness with the Campaign to End Homelessness program, Michelle is passionate about ending homelessness. She graduated with a B.A. in Communication and a specialization in public relations and a minor in sexuality and conflict/management from Michigan State University. Her interests lie in writing about culture, sexuality/gender and homelessness. Offline she enjoys quoting How I Met Your Mother, volunteering, swinging at parks and stargazing.

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