30 August 2012
Education is a major part of development in all societies. Through education, changes in behavior, thought and personal growth can be incited in today’s youth. Parents and teachers strive as a whole to make sure to prepare those same youths for the world in which those youths will soon find themselves. Unfortunately, there is a lot of disagreement on the methodology used and content to be taught. One of the subjects that is highly debated is sexual education. Most can agree that the biology of the developing body and a general knowledge of what intercourse is and leads to should be taught; what is debated is the mechanics and other solutions to the dangers of sex. Abstinence is the most effective way of preventing pregnancy and STDs, but very few hold to it. The curriculum and teaching method should reflect that truth, not the belief by many parents and politicians that just excluding information other than abstinence will curtail our youth from sexual indiscretions. It was America’s third president, Thomas Jefferson, who said “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education.” What Jefferson meant was that it is the people who should have the power and that if it is not believed that they can make good decisions in the use of those powers the answer is not to take their freedom and right to make those decisions away, but to inform and guide them in the correct way to deliberate and come to a sound choice. A comprehensive sexual education should be taught in American high schools because it will better prepare teens on the healthy workings of their bodies and it is more effective at preventing pregnancy and STDs. Topics that should be included in a good program with which to educate the youths are the biology of the human body, to include its parts and processes, how they should function and when, and what utilizing them may lead to. The curriculum should go in depth into why the body reacts to stimuli of sexual situations in the manner it does. Knowing why their bodies react in a certain way will help teens to not feel so overwhelmed when first encountering those responses. The Planned Parenthood website, plannedparenthood.org, goes into detail about what the sexual response cycle is and what happens within each of the phases of the cycle. Information like what is included on this site would allow kids to truly understand themselves and the way their bodies work, which will in turn allow them to make decisions knowing the why and how. If they don’t know the reasons or even the differences in their body’s responses they will be confused and less likely to make the smart decision that may counter act the overpowering feelings that were brought out. When someone is reacting to a situation based solely on their impulses and feelings they are less likely to think logically of the consequences of their actions. The consequences in these situations are the chance of catching an STD and becoming or getting someone pregnant. One study, “The Heat of the Moment: The Effect of Sexual Arousal on Sexual Decision Making”, looked at how people make decisions while in a state of arousal:
Our results further suggest that the change in attractiveness influences the intensity of motivation to have sex relative to other goals. Specifically, the increase in motivation to have sex produced by sexual arousal seems to decrease the relative importance of other considerations such as behaving ethically toward a potential sexual partner or protecting oneself against unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease. […] [A] secondary implication of our findings is that people seem to have only limited insight into the impact of sexual...