Most parents find it way too awkward to discuss relationships between genders with their children, provide no protection and guidance, do not explain how to make correct decisions but still hope that young people will behave soberly and avoid problems purely intuitively.
Since all people need comprehensive knowledge on sexual issues and not always have good information sources, it is reasonable to make sex education an obligatory discipline at school. According to the WHO, it should be taught to students aged 12 and above because 34% of HIV infected persons are between 12-19 years old.
Recommendations received on such lessons are much more important than literary theory or math theorems because they should help young people to preserve strong health, avoid diseases, unsuccessful experiments, arm them with concentration tools which may be used if indulging a sexual act.
Advocates and opponents argue whether it is the school’s responsibility to track not only academic achievements but also the physical and emotional well-being of students. Experts from Pro-Papers have analyzed the key advantages and disadvantages of sex education.
Pros of sex education
Society can get the following benefits if instructing learners on correct sexual behavior:
- There are many myths about sex that should be dispelled and replaced with useful knowledge about safe, healthy intimate contacts.
- Teenagers mature and undergo hormonal changes. This process may be rather mysterious for them, so explanations from parents or teachers are necessary. It is important for young people to know that it is all right and their organisms grow in a normal way.
- An opposite gender usually causes children’s curiosity. Sex education can provide insight into differences, show why girls and boys not always behave in the same way and have unequal needs. With theoretical knowledge, teenagers will have fewer reasons to explore male and female sexual peculiarities by conducting dangerous experiments.
- Some kids even do not know that parents abuse them sexually. Once taught to perceive rude attitude as a norm, they do not protect personal rights, have nobody to ask for help, are not sure whether they have the right to do it. This problem affects thousands of kids worldwide in both progressive and third world countries. At sex education lessons, a teacher should explain how normal parents treat their children, what actions are inadmissible and should be reported to organizations controlling parental behavior.
- It is much better if a child communicates with a teacher about sex than visits pornographic websites and other resources with misleading information. The Internet is an uncontrolled space full of rubbish. If kids drown in it, they may form a perverted idea of an intimate contact contradicting a family-centered ideology in which sex is a love manifestation between spouses.
- Teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases are very acute problems. Many young people make just one wrong step and bring a hard burden into a happy teenage life. Inexperienced adolescents do not understand that price for curiosity and short moments of pleasure may be way too high. Teachers should provide information on the consequences of irresponsible attitude towards sex.
- Students learn to think critically, weigh all benefits and threats before taking some actions. Sex education classes show the importance of prudence, abstinence, or at least using proven protection methods.
Cons of sex education
Like any ideology, this discipline has some downsides:
- There are very few specialists ready to teach sex education at a professional level. Most professors do not have comprehensive knowledge and even make mistakes in their own intimate lives. An educator having vague ideas about a discipline may rather bring harm than show a correct direction. If students start applying wrong approaches, their life may become even worse than before passing a course. As kids are very impressionable and absorb information like a sponge, it may be challenging for them to get rid of wrong habits in adulthood. Therefore, schools should entrust teaching sex education only to experienced specialists and make sure that students interpret information received in a class correctly.
- It is not customary to discuss sex in polite society. As parents usually avoid this topic and set a kind of veto at home, it may be rather embarrassing for teenagers to express their thoughts and ask questions. Also, young people often approach sex education with ridicule and do not take it seriously. Therefore, serious psychological preparation should be conducted to show learners why they need this subject.
- Most schools introduce sex education into a curriculum as a non-compulsory discipline. Teachers hold several lessons, give brief explanations on STD and contraceptive methods. Kids forget lecture material once they leave a classroom. Of course, it is impossible to promote some tangible changes in society with such an approach. A school administration should be more serious about students’ intimate life.
- Some parents claim that sex education contradicts their families’ religious ideology. Schools may refuse to introduce this discipline to a curriculum in order to avoid conflicts.
The above factors are rather fields for research, development, and perfection than disadvantages. It may be concluded that sex education has countless benefits and should be taught to teenagers. Some teachers doubt whether young people will perceive it adequately since many intimate topics still stay prohibited and confusing. But it is worth forgetting about shyness when human life is at stake. If sex education turns into a customary practice, nobody will be surprised by it over several years.