Why abstinence only education is not the way to go.
Abstinence is an incredibly hot topic in the sex ed community, especially in regards to whether if it is or is not a proper teaching method. I went to a high school where we had a health class that focused almost entirely on abstinence education. We wereessentially just told to never have sex. They told us terror stories of abortions as a scare tactic but never talked about the practical uses of condoms. We were taught about sexually transmitted infections but not for the purpose of education but to scare us away from having sexual intercourse.
As I myself have recently had sex for the first time, I can say that this sex education was absolutely no help for me at all when it came to being sexually aware and safe. Everything that I employed with my boyfriend I learned on my own and with him.
The "sex education" I received in high school was a pathetic attempt to frighten us away from having sex (which I know didn't work as multiple pregnancy tests were found hidden in bathrooms around school). Attempting to scare students is not a practical teaching method. Instead, schools around the nation should attempt to teach proper sex education including unbiased information about condoms, STI's, and abortion among other topics.
Abstinence only sex education puts the focus solely on abstaining from sex until marriage. The only problem with this is, you can't control the actions of teenagers. Even if they sign an abstinence agreement, there is no guarantee they will follow it. Abstinence only relies on the word of children, and that isn't exactly the most reliable thing in the world. Abstinence only education completely ignores teaching students about condoms, birth control, STI's, and abortions. All of these are important topics when it comes to sex and sex education. By denying children this information, they are put at a significantly higher risk than those who receive a more comprehensive sex education.
Many people argue that a comprehensive sex education will encourage kids to have sex. I would like to challenge this view. Kids will have sex whether or not they receive an abstinence or comprehensive sex education. Out of the two scenarios, which best prepares them to handle and anticipate potential outcomes, such as pregnancy and STI's? Ding ding ding, we have a winner. It is comprehensive sex education. It provides students with all the information on these topics they need, so they are properly informed on how sex works and the potential consequences. Rather than treating the few facts given as a scare tactic, they are taught thoughtfully and factually to ensure students understand to real life consequences that can be associated with having sex.
Of the eleven states which have evaluated their use of abstinence only sex education, none of them have showed that abstinence only sex ed reduces teen sex, pregnancy, or STI's. In fact, abstinence only sex ed can be said to increase these as they don't teach kids proper facts and information about how to combat and prevent these situations.
Lots of people who argue for abstinence only sex education use the teen pregnancy rates as an example. However, in recent years, America's teen pregnancy rate has dropped significantly. In fact, more women in their late 30s and early 40s are pregnant today than there are pregnant teens. While the fact remains that America has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the world, studies show that were comprehensive sex education programs used, these numbers would be drastically reduced.
Furthermore, abstinence only sex ed programs have been shown to show lies as factual information in an effort to manipulate teenagers to see fiction as fact. This is an incredible unethical practice that leads to higher rates of teen pregnancies and STIs.
Sex is not a punishment, and neither are the potential outcomes. Sex is a personal choice for each individual person, and rather than teaching people that no sex is the answer and thus leaving them with no knowledge when they do have sex, proper sex education is of the utmost importance around the nation.