Sex Education: Sweden vs. United States

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  • Topic: Sex education, Birth control, Sexual intercourse
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  • Published : May 15, 2008
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Sex Education: Sweden vs. United States

Federal Law in the United States mandates that “Abstinence-only-until-marriage education” teach that any sexual activity among unmarried individuals is detrimental and wrong. Along with this, it specifically prohibits instruction regarding any contraceptive unless to emphasize their failure rates. Regardless of these multimillion-dollar efforts within the United States to stress abstinence, teen pregnancy and STD rates continue to substantially exceed those within the developed countries, such as Sweden, where comprehensive sex education is deemed imperative. Sweden’s inclusive sex education programs throughout compulsory schools serves as an exemplary model for what should be the modern scientific and intellectual view on effective sexual education for today’s youth. The politicians within the United States remain blind to the realities of their nations sexually active youth and ignore actions regarding this issue that have been internationally successful. The United States’ policy is flawed in its governmental funding of abstinence – only sex education, and should instead mimic a policy that demonstrates actual results, that is, the United States should mimic Sweden’s comprehensive sex education policy.

Though sex education does exist in the United States, that which teaches anything other than the “abstinence – only – until – marriage” program deems zero government funding. The government funding for this program actually has grown exponentially since 1996 despite the insufficient scientific evidence that these programs work. The government has spent over an estimated $1.5 billion dollars of tax-payers money on these “abstinence-only” programs without any proven results. There are numerous flaws in the program including whom it involves, the way the information is taught and the validity of the facts. Not only does this program exclude the gay ad lesbian youth, but it also discounts those who have been sexually abused and stigmatizes teens who may be pregnant or who are already parenting. It also uses corrupt forms of administering these ideas into the children’s sponge-like minds by using scare tactics, instilling possible shame and presenting certain gender stereotypes as fact. Along with these tactics, the teachers are lecturing fiction as fact when it comes to STDs, along with discouraging the use of condoms and presenting biases towards homosexuality. These examples are excerpts from the teachers guide:

“AIDS can be transmitted by skin-to-skin contact.”
Reasonable Reasons to Wait (Teacher’s Guide, Unit 5, p. 19)

QUESTION: “Emotional effects of premarital sex that condoms can NEVER protect.”
ANSWER: “What is guilt; rejection; or a broken heart.” Reasonable Reasons to Wait (Teacher’s Guide, Unit 5, p. 32)

“STDs are usually contracted by those who participate in premarital sex, extramarital sex, or homosexual acts.” Reasonable Reasons to Wait (Teacher’s Guide, Unit 5, p. 10)

It is evident that the students are being misinformed through these teachings. When evaluations of the effectiveness of these programs were tested by Youth Risk Behavior, the results showed no delay in first sex, no short term changes in three test groups, increased sexual activity in two test groups and no long term impact in any of them for decreased sexual activity. The results were not surprising to most, simply the amount of funds being invested in these non-progressive programs.

Despite the lack of funding that schools are receiving in the United States for all inclusive sex education, two out of three public schools still remain to have policies to teach the students what they believe they have the right to know. Out of these schools, 86% of them do promote the abstinence option as the preferred form of birth control and out of these, 51% are actually allowed to hold discussions regarding contraceptive use. Still, 35% who do teach sex education abide by strict policies, which...
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