Parents often dread the awkward ‘birds and the bees’ discussion because it is uncomfortable to talk to their children about sex. Sex education curriculum presents a challenge for many middle schools across the United States with the struggle to determine whether abstinence should be taught, comprehensive sex education or nothing at all. In Amber Dahlke’s article, Sex Education in Schools, the author mentions that schools play a pivotal role in teaching comprehensive sex education; the reason why is that abstinence alone is not enough to prevent teenagers from getting involved in sexual intercourse. She also asserts that schools should teach practical lessons, such as sexual tactics, using the contraceptive tools in order to reduce the ratio of teenager’s pregnancy and not just for the theoretical information. In my opinion, however, comprehensive sex education would be more likely to cause sexual practice among adolescent by frequently mentioning sex and interesting for teenagers. And also students should learn that not all contraceptive tools are 100 percent guarantee to prevent transmitted diseases and pregnancy. Parents and teachers need to check that this kind of information is appropriately conveying to teenagers, who are still too physically and mentally immature that to make a significant decision in their life.
The “abstinence only” approach to sex education often ignores the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. Dahlke believes that comprehensive sex education is the best approach with the emphasis on abstinence to avoid sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy, while also reducing risks if students are sexually active (566). In contrast to her opinion, I believe that the many teenagers still experience incurable diseases as a result of sexual activity such as HIV/AIDS. These diseases cause life-long pain, and can be transmitted to other sexual partners even if contraceptives are used. Dahlke also points out the fact that the number of HIV/AIDS infections among teenagers is rapidly rising (566). Nevertheless, comprehensive sex education in the United States still doesn’t often address the possibility of contracting sexually transmitted diseases even when using contraceptives while engaging in alternative types of sexual contact – oral, anal, and coitus interruptus. Therefore, comprehensive sex education curriculum can send the wrong message to the students that condoms make sexual activity safe. In addition, the real problem is that comprehensive teaching styles only emphasize “safer sex,” which can make teenagers more curious about sex and it may encourage them to get involved in sexual experimentation unintentionally. As a result, countless adolescents have become afflicted with miserable and terrible diseases. Therefore, it is our responsibility to send a serious message to adolescent and preadolescent students that contraceptives do not provide 100% protection from pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.
Moreover, comprehensive sex education often overlooks the audience’s age and their intellectual ability. According to Dahlke, “Comprehensive sex education aids teenagers in making wise choices regarding sexual intercourse.” Are all teenagers really choosing the right path as we expected? I totally disagree with the author’s ideas that adolescents and children, defined as adolescents are usually 10 – 19 years old, still need time to become an adult in terms of their physical and mental perspective. Moreover, we should understand that they are going through puberty and their decisions are often impulsive based upon their emotions. Their brains are not equipped to process all of the information. Therefore, adolescents need more protection and monitoring because they are prone to accept information without a critical eye. Accordingly, children’s behaviors and impressions are largely formed by observation and environment. So, when we discuss sex education, parents need to be given direction and guidance regarding their role. Dahlke mentions that one million American women between the ages of fifteen and nineteen become pregnant each year and most of them unwed (566). In my opinion, in order to solve these problems, we should start abstinence education for children at an earlier age. Perhaps consideration should be given to initiating sex education starting in kindergarten with a focus on prevention that may dramatically reduce the onset of sexual intercourse later in life. Furthermore, parents should reinforce the message that sex should be reserved for marriage would be effective tools for delaying sexual activity. For example, religion can be a strong influence for adolescents raised by parents who live according to their faith and are actively involved in a worship service community. These teens are more likely to abstain from sexual activity as a result of this influence.
In conclusion, we need to focus on the facts related to comprehensive sex education with the likelihood of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases as it relates to the teenager’s age and intelligence. Also, abstinence only sex education should be taught in middle schools with comprehensive information including the potential risks of safe sex. The increase in abstinence-only sex education denies students valuable health information that could potentially improve or even save their lives (Van Dorn, 567).