Tag: Sex Education

Sex Education: We’re Doing It Wrong

The host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver tackled the issue of sex education, or lack there of, in American schools.

Here are some of the mind-blowing things Oliver points out that are wrong with America’s sex education:

   Only 22 states require that sex ed be taught in their schools, and just 13 of these specify that the instruction be medically accurate.

   In Mississippi, a state with the second-highest teen pregnancy rate ( 76 pregnancies per 1,000 women ages 15 to 19 ) , teachers are forbidden from demonstrating how to use a condom.

   Lots of schools fail to address the needs of gay students. (A recent survey found that only 48% of schools addressed sexual identity and sexual orientation.)

   Many states now advocate for abstinence-only, and Congress recently increased its funding of abstinence education from $50 million to $75 million per year.

In the show, Oliver claims that sex ed should be held to the same standard as any other discipline. “You wouldn’t accept a history class not being historically accurate,” he says. “Prince started the American Revolution in 1984, and his purple reign lasts until the present day. Class dismissed.”

Let’s Talk About Sex

As if there had ever been reason for doubt, a new study confirm what we all already knew: abstinence-only doesn’t work.

From the Associated Press:

Programs that focus exclusively on abstinence have not been shown to affect teenager sexual behavior, although they are eligible for tens of millions of dollars in federal grants, according to a study released by a nonpartisan group that seeks to reduce teen pregnancies.

“At present there does not exist any strong evidence that any abstinence program delays the initiation of sex, hastens the return to abstinence or reduces the number of sexual partners” among teenagers, the study concluded.

The study was released by the non-partisan, reality-based National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

The study found that while abstinence-only efforts appear to have little positive impact, more comprehensive sex education programs were having “positive outcomes” including teenagers “delaying the initiation of sex, reducing the frequency of sex, reducing the number of sexual partners and increasing condom or contraceptive use.”

Pseudo-religious pseudo-morality doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do. Treating people like responsible adults does.

The study debunked the following claims by abstinence-only advocates:

-that sex ed promotes promiscuity

-that sex ed leads to kids trying sex sooner, and participating in it more often

-that it confuses kids

Of course, what really leads kids to try sex is hormones. Teaching them that what their bodies are telling them is bad doesn’t work. Their bodies know better. What does work is teaching them how to approach their sexuality responsibly. Of course, our medievalist government wants to suppress sex at all costs, even if it means promoting policies that are counter-productive.

And speaking of costs, there’s a bill now before Congress that would spend $141,000,000 for community-based, abstinence-only sex education. That’s $4,000,000 more than Bush requested. Because with all the problems in the world, there’s no better way to burn our tax dollars than on ill-conceived attempts at sexual repression.