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By Olivia Lockwood

Why high school sex ed needs an overhaul

An in-depth sexual education class should be provided to all high school students attending public schools in the United States to prevent pregnancy and disease rates from increasing among teens. Sexual education is education in schools on the subject of sexual activity and sexual relationships. Currently, the United States government requires students only be taught abstinence-only sex ed, which does not cover the subject of sexual activity fully.

Abstinence-only teaches students to avoid sexual relationships. The current abstinence-only speech teens receive in health class is not enough. Without proper sexual education, students may turn to the internet, which is not a reliable source. According to The Guttmacher Institute, the United States ranks number one among developed nations in teen pregnancy rates, which would be reduced if an in-depth class were to be mandated. The more students know about intercourse, the more likely they are to take precautions while sexually active.

With this information, students can make decisions while keeping themselves and others safe. According to Planned Parenthood, sex education helps people gain the information, skills, and motivation to make healthy decisions about sex and sexuality; teaching abstinence does not do this, as it avoids any mention of contraceptives or "protection." An in-depth course for students would have a positive effect and would give students a better understanding of human anatomy and the proper use of contraceptives. A mandatory in-depth sexual education would also have a positive effect because it would make students more mature, knowledgeable and safe.

It has been shown that abstinence-only education has little to no positive effects on teen sexual behavior. Studies done on sexual education also show that pregnancy rates are lower on students who received a more elaborate sex-ed course. With the knowledge of safe sex, students will know how to prevent any unplanned pregnancies. Students will also be less afraid of speaking up about any unplanned pregnancies. An elaborate class would include detailed and inclusive knowledge of contraceptives, safe-sex, and saying words that many classrooms would consider inappropriate, such as penis, vagina, testicles, anus, etc. If students do decide to be sexually active, they will be educated on how to properly protect themselves through using a condom or using another contraceptive.

In order for teens and young adults to make smart decisions, they need to be educated on how to protect themselves and others from diseases that could end in death. When teens are surveyed on how much they know and/or want to know about sexual education, the results show that they do not know near as much as what they are supposed to while engaging in a sexually active lifestyle. Students need to be more educated in order to create a society where there are fewer abortions, diseases and unplanned pregnancies. If schools would teach more about sexual contraceptives instead of teaching abstinence-only, the world and students would be better prepared for future family planning, future child expense planning, as well as better prepared for the consequences of having a child at a young age.

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