Published on Tuesday, November 17, 2015 by Payton McKeehan
Sex education in Texas mainly focuses on abstinence, but that mindset is only forcing many sexually active teenagers to be ill-prepared. Enforcing the idea of abstinence only education, only creates a taboo framework where some teenagers want to have sex because they are told not to. Sex isn’t just a religious or moral issue, there is a level of education that must take place so young people can make responsible choices. When students are uninformed, they may not make the best decisions for themselves. Out of sight, out of mind is an interesting approach, but sex is already on teenager’s mind so it should be part of education.
Teenagers’ bodies change drastically physically and hormonally during a very short period of time, so teaching them to know how to deal with, and react to, those changes is important. With all the changes taking place, the internet shouldn’t be the only source for teens to turn to as there is a lot of misinformation out there. Education should include basic information about anatomy and sex education to prepare students for life.
A semblance of sex education was taught in 6th grade, which is a good starting place, but many students are too immature to grasp the information at that time. Sexual activity typically starts in high school so sex education should be taught again in either the freshman or sophomore year. With sexual education being taught at the beginning of high school, students would be more aware of the risks that come along with sexual activity. Ensuring students know the risks associated with sex would help the Texas abstinence campaign by providing a forum to discuss the information.
Texas’ abstinence approach is well meant, but ineffective. By only promoting abstinence, students fail to understand the risks of STDs and unplanned pregnancies, so it is to everyone’s benefit to provide more education at the proper age.
This type of sex education approach is not effective in that students are unprepared for the world. Texas is sure to educate in other areas for the “grown-up” world such as in physics, basic algebra, and common vocabulary. However, the state is failing to provide information in a basic area of life because, even for students who are abstinent until marriage, they need to understand how their body works. Students are acting without really knowing what could happen to themselves or their partner. Students could contract a STD or end up with an unplanned pregnancy, both of which will impact them for the rest of their lives. The reality is that some students are going to have sex whether abstinence is the focus or not, so the state should provide sex education information while still encouraging abstinence so students can be as prepared as possible.