When it comes to teaching young people about sex, it’s never going to be simple and straightforward. Today, with the rise in STDs and the risk of teen pregnancy, it’s more important than ever to be having those difficult conversations. It requires more than just a one-off chat about the birds and the bees. Healthy sex education should be an ongoing age-appropriate subject. Whilst a good deal of education comes from home, here are some compelling reasons why sex education is a must for schools:
- Abstinence only discussions do not work
Research repeatedly shows that telling young people to ‘just say no’ isn’t effective. It has little effect on the rate at which teens do decide to have sex. Whilst sex education doesn’t actively promote abstinence, it shouldn’t be feared as at least teaches young people how to do so in a safer manner.
Just say no approaches deny young people the opportunity to find out about options other than abstinence. For those who will engage in sexual activity, a comprehensive sex education programme provides them with information on how to stay safe and healthy. For those who will say ‘yes’, at least we are arming them with the required knowledge.
- Won’t sex education encourage promiscuous activity?
Over the last couple of decades, research has shown that providing sex education and even free condoms had not resulted in the increased sexual activity that people had feared. Those condoms are simply being used by young people who would have been having sex anyway, at least now they are doing it responsibly. For those who want to get tested for the possibility of infection, consider using Home STI kits Greenwich from Greenwich Sexual Health.
- Teaching boys to be healthier men
As boys grow older, many stop taking measures in preventative health care. It’s not seen as masculine to seek out care such as health screening and this limits the opportunities for accessing STD screening as well. Educating boys to access healthcare and sex education results in young men more open to the idea of seeking out GP appointments and screening for example. We need to encourage the idea that the ‘manliest’ thing to do is look after your health.
- More education results in more saying ‘no’
The more teens are told about the dangers of STDs and pregnancy, the more likely they are to make sensible decisions for themselves. Young people are smart and know when they are being hoodwinked. Presenting all the information, particularly about high-risk activities, so they can make informed decisions will be better received by young people. You can encourage abstinence through education and not continuing ignorance.
- Understanding what activities carry risk
When a good sex education programme is not delivered, many young people might falsely assume that some activities don’t constitute having sex and therefore are safe to practice without protection. Some may engage in oral or anal sex, believing the risks to be not as great as vaginal intercourse. Whilst this will avoid pregnancy, it will not eliminate the risks from contracting a sexually transmitted infection.