Educating students or youngsters does not only mean making them gain knowledge in the various discourses of study. But, proper education has to take the holistic form by making every youngster well-equipped with the knowledge and information that are needed for having better lives and mingling in the society in a better way. As such, the burning question of the hour is the primacy of need to better our sex education that might play a major role in the betterment of the lives of the youngsters of the society.
One has to comprehend the fact that the young people need to have accurate information regarding sex and sexuality so that they are able to negotiate sexual relationships responsibly and safely. Thus, the importance of sex education cannot be undermined at any cost. Sex education needs to cover a number of topics that should include relationships, sexuality, and biology of reproduction, contraception as well as sexually transmissible infections or STIs. Parents need to comprehend the paramount importance of sex education for their wards that are in the years of personality development and puberty. “Comprehensive sexuality education enables young people to make informed decisions about their sexuality and health.” (Comprehensive Sexuality Education)
It has been proven by several researches that the youngsters are inclined toward conversing with the elders regarding their sexual heath. However, many parents are not sure where to start the conversation with their children, and feel uncomfortable in having such conversations. However, avoiding such conversations would not be of any help for the children in the course of life.
Thus, conversations with their parents can make sex education much better for the youngsters. If they have the rapport with their parents to talk about their skepticism or inquisitiveness, they would be more open and honest to them. Hence, it is more likely that the youngsters would reach out to their parents for proper answers to their queries or information- something that would surely decrease the chance of them being risked by an unhealthy relationship. If parents are the biggest supports to their children, impediments like unplanned pregnancy, unwanted sex, or getting affected by a sexually transmissible infection can be done away with.
One has to understand that the young people get information about sex and sexuality from the media or from their peers, apart from sex educational initiatives. Information that the youngsters get from their friends or the media can be erroneous, confronting or confusing for them. Apart from this, they might also seek their answers from the internet. But, there would be no guarantee of finding the accurate or positive answer to the queries that they might have in their minds.
“Most young people (88 per cent) look for information about sexual health at some stage, with most turning to their mother or a female friend, using their school sexual health program and pamphlets, or talking to their doctor.” (Better Health Channel) Moreover, it has been proven by research that conversing with the youngsters about sex does not enhance their urge to experiment sexually at all.
In fact, the people who get comprehensive sex education in the crucial years of their lives are lesser prone to experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, and are more likely to postpone their first sexual experience in life. Thus, one can very well understand that free and open-minded conversations regarding sex and sexuality are very helpful for the children.
However, the state requirements regarding sex education are not the parameters that one should go by. “A majority of U.S. states don't mandate sex education, even though two-thirds of Americans think students should get comprehensive birth control information at school.” (Klein) Many states in the United States of America do not require teaching sex education in the schools as a mandatory thing. On the other hand, in the states where sex education is a part of the curriculum in schools, the courses need to provide information on things related to abstinence, but there is no mandate about teaching regarding contraception. “Evaluations of the effectiveness of state-funded abstinence-only-until-marriage programs found no delay in first sex.” (Effective Sex Education)
Ideally, sex education should be a compulsory part of the school curriculum, and parents should build a consensus regarding the issue of providing proper sex education at the schools. They should comprehend that school is an institution that can systematically teach their wards all the required information about sexuality and contraception. It is a known fact that school-based sex education plays a pivotal role in improving the sexual health outcomes of the youngsters.
Everyone needs to gauge the fact that sex education is the proper way of providing the young generation with the knowledge and skills to deal with their sexual well-being. Sex education can be the only source that would provide the fundamental tools for the youngsters so that they can enjoy responsible, healthy, and satisfying sexual lives.
The school-based sex education needs to incorporate various things for holistic understand of the matter by the youngsters. There should be a focus on reducing the kind of risky behaviors on the part of the young people. The classes need to communicate a clear and continuous reinforced message about risk reduction and sexual behavior. The youngsters need to know the risks associated with sexual activity. There has to be proper information given to them about contraception, birth control, and the various methods for deferring or avoiding intercourse.
The classes need to teach the students to deal with social and peer pressures regarding sexuality and intercourse. The approach of the teachers should be very appropriate for the age of the students, and should comply with the cultural background of the students. Moreover, sex education has to focus on both homosexual and heterosexual relationships. “Formal programs with all these elements have been shown to increase young people's levels of knowledge about sex and sexuality, put back the average age at which they first have sexual intercourse and decrease risk when they do have sex.” (Sex Education that Works)
Gender roles are a major part of sexual relationships among the youngsters. One has to understand that the fact that the youngster learn about relationships of adults by seeing the interaction between their parents or elders. Thus, the conduct of the elders can be an influence on the sexual relationships of the youngsters.
Contraception is another very important thing regarding sex education. It has to be communicated to the youngsters that contraception is the responsibility of both the people in a relationship. The youngsters should get proper information about contraceptives, STIs as well as unplanned pregnancy. Moreover, the teachers or parents have to zero in on the reasons why the children might not use contraception. There can be a lack of knowledge among the young people regarding this matter. They might also be unsure about the ways to access the clinical service. Some people can think that planning for sex would nullify the spontaneity. Also, some others might feel that their parents would find out.
Parents should supplement the sex education classes that students might avail in their schools. Parents have to decide on the messages and values that they wish to communicate. They have to be updated about the current sexual issues. Also, it is important to remember that the ambition is to be open and honest while talking about the topic with the children. Moreover, parents might find books that are developmentally appropriate to read with the wards.
Both the schools and parents need to understand the fact that best sex education would be ‘sex positive’ in nature. Such an education would acknowledge the fact that being sexually active during adolescence is a normal and healthy part of their behavior. People need to recognize the fact that adolescence is the proper time for sexual development, and youngsters might indulge in experimentation regarding their sexual lives. The elders or teachers should show their support to the right of the youngsters to develop a respectful, healthy, and consensual sexual relationship with others. The conversations regarding sexual preferences should be positive in nature.
One has to take into account the fact that the last decade has seen an incredible change in the ways of interaction, especially among young people. “But more frequently than ever, young people are learning about their bodies, their sexual desires and sexual relationships with others through the internet, whether it’s via porn or from documenting relationships on social networks.” (Necati) A poll that was conducted by Telegraph / NSPCC has shown that almost one-third of the youngsters have the belief that porn dictates how they should behave in a relationship. This is a very alarming thing for the society.
This reiterates the fact that sex education is very much essential to make the current generation responsible and properly informed about the decisions that they would take in the course of their life. Astonishingly, in the United Kingdom, the sex and relationship education guidelines that got followed by the teachers till 2013 were updated back in the year 2000. The old guidelines had no reference to mobile technology, internet, or online bullying.
What this means is that the nation states should not be lagging behind in taking the necessary steps to make sex education better for the youngsters. In case of any sort of lack of concern, an entire generation might become very vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancy, HIV, and so on.
The teachers and parents should indulge in providing the children with clear and correct information about STIs, safer sex, and contraception. The youngsters should be encouraged to talk about intercourse and the possible consequences with their partners, so that there can be more awareness. Moreover, the youngsters need to combat unwanted sexual pressure that might affect them. It is very important for them to have the most reliable source for gaining information about the matter. It is only via awareness that the young generation can be made to understand the paramount importance to have safer sex.
Thus, it would be correct to conclude by saying that there is an utmost need to have a better sex education for the young people of the society. The effort for the cause should include the societal institutions, parents, schools, and the government. There can be no compromise on the better future of the next generation. A better future means a better knowledge and awareness regarding sex education so that the youngsters are not left in an abyss of confusion and erroneous information that can threaten their well-being and happiness in the future.
“Comprehensive Sexuality Education.” In United Nations Population Fund. Unfpa.org, n.d.
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“Effective Sex Education.” In Advocates for Youth. Advocatesforyouth.org, n.d. Web. 26 April
Klein, Rebecca. “Listen Up, Legislators: People Want Better Sex Education Than What Many
States Require.” In The Huffington Post. Huffingtonpost.org, 9 Jan. 2015. Web. 26 April 2015.
Necati, Yas. “David Cameron: Bring sex and relationship education into the 21st century
#bettersexeducation.” In Change.org. change.org, n.d. Web. 26 April 2015.
“Sex education - talking to young people.” In Better Health Channel. Betterhealth.vic.gov.au,
“Sex Education that Works.” In Avert. Avert.org, n.d. Web. 26 April 2015.