Away with Abstinence

Leah Geisler, Writer

Nearly everyone who attended public school suffered through some form of sex education. The image of a little old lady or a football coach standing at the front of a classroom struggling over the words “penis” or “vagina” is seared into our brains. But how much of that knowledge really stays past high school? How many of us will walk away feeling completely confident in our understanding of the human body and how sex works, not just biologically but socially? I would argue not many. Currently, sex education in public schools is failing to adequately teach students about sex and sexuality.

Sex education in American public schools, especially in the south, is largely abstinence-only. In fact, nineteen states require this form of sex education. This means that the majority of young Americans lack the knowledge needed to safely have sex, and they must rely solely on their parents or the Internet.

Abstinence-only sex education programs are meant to delay the age at which teenagers start having sex in order to reduce teen pregnancy. This has been proven not to work, but they do decrease the regularity with which students correctly use contraception. Ninety-five percent of teenagers and adults have sex before marriage, proving the abstinence-only program as not only ineffective but not irrelevant.

With a better sex education system in public schools, teen pregnancy and the spread of STDs will drastically go down. We need sex ed now more than ever.