Comprehensive, the Right Approach to Sex Education
Since the first sex education video, "Human Growth" was shown in public schools in the 1940's, sex education in school has remained a controversial subject (Bellafante 9.1). In the present however, it is no longer disputed whether or not sex-ed should be taught, but what should be taught in a sex education program. Conservatives and Liberals both agree that sex education in public schools is important but, their views on what should be taught differ dramatically. Despite the various monikers to describe different sex education programs and curricula, there are really only two types: abstinence-until-marriage and comprehensive (Sex Education Programs: Definitions & Point-by-Point Comparison). In present day society, it is apparent that a comprehensive sex education program should be required and promoted.
The problem with an abstinence-only sex education program is that it is rooted in a permissive sexual ideology. Generally, those who have a restrictive sexual ideology generally support sex education that focuses on abstinence. From this perspective, "The challenge now before the schools is to help young people in every way possible to make the moral decision not to get sexually involved" (Lickona p. 349). However, this is a battle that apparently is being lost as more than 60 percent of teenagers have had sex before the age of eighteen (Kristof A.21). These "abstinence-only" programs either make no mention of contraception and safer-sex practices or they actively discourage them (Sanderson et al. 28-29). It seems that these programs are more interested in promoting the values and ideologies of their proponents than the health of those whom they are designed to help. In all likelihood, these programs are more harmful then they are helpful.
Most Western nations, other than the United States, promote a comprehensive sex education program and have a more permissive sexual ideology (McKay). It becomes...
Cited: Feijoo, Ammie N. "Adolescent Sexual Health in Europe and the U.S.—Why the Difference?." Oct. 2001. Advocates for Youth. 19 Mar. 2006 .
McKay, Alexander. "Accommodating Ideological Pluralism in Sexuality Education." Journal of Moral Education 26.3 (1997): 285-300.
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