My paper examines the issues relating to sex education programs in high school which has been a controversial subject since its inception. It evaluates how the recent increase in sexual activity among teenagers indicates that the subject should be revisited for further inspection and scrutiny. It shows how opponents of sexual education in schools argue that the subject promotes promiscuity and liberal sexual attitudes in teenage students whereas supporters of sexual education programs believe that they often reduce the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases as well as unwanted pregnancies. It also looks at how these courses often usurp the role of parents in the education of their teenage sons and daughters as well as alternative programs such as abstinence programs which typically promote sex after marriage.
Professor F. Case
May 5, 2010
Sex Education in High School
Sexual education in high school has been a controversial subject since its inception. The recent increase in sexual activity amongst teenagers indicates that the subject should be revisited for further inspection and scrutiny. Opponents of sexual education in schools argue that the subject promotes promiscuity and liberal sexual attitudes in teenage students. On the other hand, supporters of sexual education programs believe that they often reduce the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases as well as unwanted pregnancies. Furthermore, these courses often take the place of parents who are reluctant to discuss sexual issues with their teenage sons and daughters. Both sides of the argument possess significant claims that support their arguments. However, much evidence appears to support the view that sexual education does not increase sexual promiscuity as opponents of the program argue. As a result, it is important to note that high school students will benefit from the views of both sides if educators are able to find a way to marry modern sexual education in schools with a traditional abstinence-based message that respects the beliefs of many parents.
In Risky Business, Anna Mulrine argues that children are engaging in an expansion of precarious sexual behaviors that have dramatically changed in scope over the past few decades. In fact, the number of high school students who reported having sexual intercourse dropped from fifty-four percent in 1991 to a current figure of fifty percent. However, while young people are engaging in sexual activities at lower rates than in the past, they are engaging in a much wider assortment of sexual behaviors. Furthermore, they do not view many of these behaviors as true sexual activity, since they do not involve actual intercourse. For example, recent surveys indicate that as many as fifty percent of all teenagers engage in oral sex at one time or another. Mulrine notes that in the Health Interested Teens Own Program on Sexuality at Princeton University, many teenagers are obtaining a diagnosis of gonorrhea of the throat as a direct result of oral sex. This shift is in response to the tendency of teenagers to turn to alternative sexual behaviors such as oral or anal sex in order to theoretically maintain virginity.
Opponents of sexual education in schools raise several important and interesting considerations regarding sexual education in the classroom. These groups argue that addressing sexuality in a comprehensive manner in public schools, including a discussion of contraceptives and graphic information regarding sexual practices, may result in an increase of liberal attitudes among teenagers. Ultimately, these liberal attitudes may result in increased promiscuity and the spread of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) (Fleming).
Furthermore, opponents of sexual education in schools argue that it usurps the role of parents in the education of their children. They also believe that sexual education in schools separates...