[COMMENTARY] Sexual Health: A Lifelong Lesson

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In Indiana where I live Opt-in laws Middle school students learn little, if anything, about sex in school. However, adults are constantly faced with sexual problems.

. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Consider the debate on a recent one Abortion law passed in Texas and upheld by the Supreme Court; a Netflix Series about sexual identity; a report that sexual assault at big ten universities has increased in September. These topics require knowledge of pregnancy, gender, and consent. If teenagers are only educated about the dangers of AIDS and the benefits of monogamy, they will not be prepared for the wide range of sexual situations and decisions they will make for the rest of their lives – not just intimate relationships, in most cases, but at their workplaces and communities. Lawmakers, educators and parents can empower the next generation by advocating and improving an inclusive approach to sex education.

Overall, comprehensive sex education encourages individuals to research their sexual health and provides space to ask questions and share ideas. While critics have claimed that comprehensive sex education (CSE) promotes premarital sex and promiscuity, the truth is that CSE promotes abstinence as the most effective way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. This includes discussions about condoms or other forms of contraception in class.

Additionally, CSE guidelines, published by the United States Sex Information and Education Council, teach that sexuality is a natural, normal, and healthy part of life. It covers topics such as human development, relationships, interpersonal skills, sexual expression, sexual health, and society and culture. And it discusses the options a woman confronted with an unwanted pregnancy: to carry the pregnancy to term and raise it, to carry the pregnancy to term and put the baby up for adoption, or to end the pregnancy with an abortion.

This broad discussion invites a number of students to join the conversation, including students who are pregnant, sexually active, gay, transgender, or who have an STD or STI. In addition, around 90% of parents are in favor of comprehensive education in public schools. Many Parents report feeling uncomfortable discuss deeper sexual health issues with their children and Teenage report It’s more convenient to find sensitive information from social media and television.

Unfortunately, teachers may be willing but ill-equipped to speak to students about sexual health. I recently conducted a research study that included face-to-face interviews with 11 educators from three school districts. Every teacher recognized the need to have honest conversations with students that reflected their lives; However, teacher training and professional development opportunities for comprehensive gender-specific programs are available not funded, prioritized or passed on to teachers. As a result, teachers are often unable to keep up with new trends and communicate most effectively with students.

To dramatically improve sex education in Indiana and across the country, teachers should be trained and informed of current facts, statistics, and age-appropriate terminology. Next, sex education programs should include the concepts of consent, rape, abusive relationships, housekeeping, gender orientation and identity, and sexual harassment. These problems occur regularly in schools, workplaces and universities; It is important for students to be able to recognize and identify them after they graduate from high school.

Finally, the legislature must recognize that teachers are central participants in sensitive discussions and often serve as a link between school and parents. In this way, the legislature can establish lines of communication by proactively involving administrators and educators in political discussions.

See also

In 2017, a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that fewer than half of high schools in the United States achieved the goal of teaching 19 topics about sexual health education to teens. This report confirmed that states fail to provide essential health information to teenagers.

Sexual health is a lifelong lesson, and we can use comprehensive sex education to involve, inspire, and support the next generation. At the same time, state and county policies must support educators to better serve young people at a critical juncture in physical, mental, and emotional development.

About the author:
Dr. Katie Greenan is an Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of Indianapolis. She is a scholarship holder of the OpEd project.


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