The Psychological and Social Effects of Sexual Education on Adolescents

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The Psychological and Social Effects of Sexual Education on Adolescents

Two drastic Emergency Room cases were handled in 1998 at Mary Washington Hospital. Concerned mothers brought their 12 year old daughters into the hospital thinking they were suffering from severe stomach pain or even appendicitis…both girls were actually in labor (Abstinence, 2002). The United States has the highest teen pregnancy, birth, and abortion rates in the Western world (Planned Parenthood, 2003). Are teens getting enough knowledge on sex and how to prevent STDs and unwanted pregnancies? Another heartbreaking statistic is that teenagers have the highest rate of STDs of any age group, with one in four young people contracting an STD by the age of 21 (Sex-Ed Work, 2003). Is sex education really working in school? Or do we need to change the type of curricula that is taught? There is no question that sex education should be taught in schools, but the question is how? The Importance of Sex Education Children and young adults today distinguish right from wrong based on their previous knowledge. The education they receive plays a major role in the way they make decisions. Sex is a controversial topic brought up frequently throughout a child's life. Based on the way it is taught, the child makes decisions that may forever change his or her life. (Sex Education That 3) Although it is often opposed, the two most essential ways children learn about sex today is the education they receive at home and at school. 

The relationship and behavior between children and their parents is crucial to the ways these children shape their own sexual ideas and values A child who perceives his relationship to his parents as supportive and close, is more likely to sexually behave in a way approved by his or her parents than a child brought up in an unhealthy environment. The state of teenage sexuality in America right now is a dismal thought. Young people lack the most basic information, like how to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

Sex education in public schools has been a controversial issue in the United States for over a decade. With the HIV and teen pregnancy crises growing, sex education is needed. 
What do the American people as a whole want their youth to be taught about sex? That is the ongoing question that not only state and federal governments are asking, but also local school districts, churches, and parents of all aged children. In the early twentieth century, disputes focused on whether or not to teach sexuality education at all; while currently it has shifted to which method is more successful in the school curriculum. 

Sexuality education does not just solely include the education of the sexual act itself and the diseases associated with it, but also the way us as humans feel we are as people; how we dress, talk, move, and the way we feel towards others (Families). Sex education and sexuality education are two separate things. Sex education is a learning opportunity that helps individuals understand and prepare for intimacy in their adult lives (Baer). Whereas, sexuality education is the field of study that examines the relationship skills and knowledge, attitudes and behaviors, and the values that promote healthy relations.

We live in a time of heightened sexual activity. The United States has suffered a great increase in sexually transmitted diseases and teenage pregnancy. One out of every ten teenage girls in the United States between the ages of 15-19 become pregnant. As a result, five of every six pregnancies are unintended. Ninety-two percent of all these “unintended” pregnancies are conceived premarital. There is such a high rate of teenage pregnancy because of two main things: one, teenagers believe that conception is rare and two, they never anticipated intercourse to occur, therefore they never use any type of...
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