Teaching No, but Saying Yes
America has the highest number of teen pregnancies with 750,000 teenage girls becoming pregnant each year and HIV, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, a leading cause of death in young people, infects America’s youth everyday (Sun). The lives of ordinary young men and women are abruptly interrupted when they learn they will soon be parents or must now live with an incurable disease. With this information in mind, American public schools need to be teaching middle school and high schools students the importance of safe sex. Many programs focus on the idea of abstinence, refraining from sexual activity until marriage, but these programs seem to have little to no effect on our youth. By age 19, most college students have engaged in some type of sexual activity. With this information, programs need to be set up to show American teenagers the risk of having sex instead of just telling adolescents to refrain from it.
Public school students are told abstinence is the only way to be safe from unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), but studies have shown taking an abstinence pledge only delays sexual activity for eighteen months and young people who have take the pledge are less likely to use contraceptives (Abstinence-Only). Yet the United States government continues to spend money on abstinence programs. American tax dollars would undeniably be put to better use considering no abstinence programs have had an enormous success rate. In spite of this argument, opponents would say teaching students the fact that abstinence is the only 100% effective technique in avoiding STDs or unwanted pregnancies, but students need to be taught condoms are 97% effective also or about the different forms of birth control (Abstinence-Only). When asked, students who believed in abstinence did not consider engaging in oral sex as breaking their pledge. Schoolchildren do not know that by having oral sex, you can still contract STDs. How can parents and teachers expect them to know when the health teachers just explain abstinence is the key?
Is talking about sex a bad thing? In society today it seems that people are afraid to speak about teenage sexual behavior because it is something teens are expected not to do. As if just telling teens to not have sex will just solve it all. But teenagers rarely do as they are told. Some researches would make you believe handing out condoms and enlightening teens on sex in like giving a pass to be promiscuous, but in all honesty this is not the message advocates and educators are sending. Telling teens about what happens, the emotional aftermath, and the risks involved with sex will cause them to think about it more and be more open to talking to their parents or guardians. Many of America’s young people are afraid to speak to their parents about sex because they feel embarrassed or feel like their parents will lock them away to be sure they abstain from sex, but talking about sex with...