Sex Ed: Comprehensive vs Abstinence Only

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Sexual Education: Comprehensive Vs. Abstinence-Only

High school is either the best days of your life or four years of struggling and mild torture for teens, and the pressure to be sexually active can push adolescents towards the latter. The idea that sexual activity is the ticket to popularity is burned into teens brains by the media, through television, major label music, and movies, their peers, and celebrity role models. They are bombarded with images and sounds dripping with sexual innuendos and sometimes-blatant encouragement of adolescent sex. It is almost impossible to believe that any teen has not become sexually active after their constant exposure to the sex-craved American entertainment system. These are some of the reasons that recently, within the past decade, high schools have employed abstinence only sexual education programs, partly due to the outcry from parents. These programs encourage students to be sexually abstinent by teaching them what horrors teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases bring to endless amounts of their peers. However, sex education programs like these only support abstinence, and do not educate students on the non-terrifying aspects of sexual activity, like its intimacy and methods of contraception. They try to force the decision to not have sex upon students, hoping that they will abide by their wishes, but leaving the students who still choose to become sexually active completely unprepared for the possible consequences. Teens are making their decision to have sex without knowledge of proper contraceptive techniques and ways to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases because their school sexual education classes failed to mention them. Public school sexual education classes should cover all the aspects of a good sexual education, and not just abstinence.

Vanessa Grigoriadis, a freelance writer who has appeared in the New York Times, writes, "Organizations advocating sexual abstinence...
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