Most teens in the US are sexually active and a percentage of them gets pregnant and drops out of school. Among teens there is pressure to lose their virginity at an early age especially for boys. Being a virgin is perceived to be indifferent for a teenage boy and peer pressure pushes them to engage in sexual activity as early as middle school.
With the growing number of unwanted pregnancies from sexually active teens legislators and educators are trying to implement an informative campaign towards the importance of sex education. The conservative approach to sex education teaches abstinence from sex before you get married. But nowadays because of the high prevalence of pre-marital sex and an increase in incidence of unwanted pregnancies and HIV, majority are pushing for sex education highlighting safe sex and different forms of contraception.
When teens are asked why they engage in sexual activity they usually answer that everybody else is doing it. This reflects poor understanding of what intimacy is and how most teenagers relate sex to love. In a relationship it is perceived that it is normal to reach a point wherein both partners will have sex, if it does not happen, the other person might question their relationship as if it was a basis for proving your love.
The goal in sex education is to impart knowledge to individuals about sexuality, sexual intercourse, relationships and intimacy in order for them to make informed choices that will make them feel confident and in control of their decision and the consequences that may come along with it. Access to sex education will prevent teens from being abused, exploited, sexually transmitted disease and having unwanted pregnancies.
Sex education also offers resources for information, support groups and shelters for women who are abused or those having unwanted pregnancies. Sex education will prove effective when teenagers are able to negotiate, assert their rights, communicate freely and make informed decisions regarding sexual activity.
To become effective in teaching sex education the facilitator should have an open mind and remain neutral to the goal of providing information. Personal beliefs and attitudes towards sex should not be reflected. Religious beliefs and personal attitudes towards sex can sometimes be a sensitive matter and should be addressed carefully especially if within a group. Information to be relayed should include the following:
Sexual development and reproduction
Relationships and Intimacy
Forms of Contraception and Birth Control
Sexually Transmitted Disease
Sex education is not just taught in school. Teens should get their first discussion about sex through their parents to avoid misinformation from fellow teens or peers. Knowledge is reinforced in school by teachers who conduct sex education.