Where Sex Education Goes Wrong Pt. 1
In speaking as a motivational speaker for years, my opening question in the classroom was always,
“When do you think is the right time is to begin having sex with your partner?”
Various answers arose. There were answers like, “after you’ve dated a long time (varying levels of time frames came up)”. Some said, “When you know your partner doesn’t have STIs”, or “When you love each other” or “marriage”. Unfortunately, most students appeared lost and confused. They were seeking answers.
The fears among the sexually active, or those thinking of becoming active are great, and rightly so. Interestingly, our teens just want the facts, the truth about what their choices may lead to. No biases, just the facts. To their credit they want to be completely informed on the risks of pregnancy and STIs. They desire to be empowered to make an educated decision.
Unfortunately, most sex education programs don’t give all the facts.
Yes, they give statistics on the effectiveness of birth control and pregnancy and they educate on STIs. But that isn’t the accurate story on complete sexual health. It’s the story of reduced sexual health. Simply put, we assume that all teens will be sexually active. Even worse, we assume that STI’s are so common that everyone can expect to get at least one, (some leading to infertility, cervical cancer and/or genital warts) but that it can be treated or controlled by medication. What a horrible assumption and disservice to those that don’t want an unwanted pregnancy or STI, not to mention the emotional hurt that often comes with a sexual relationship! We assume that they aren’t capable of making an informed decision about their own sexual health! I have met many youth that want 100% effectiveness with no unwanted pregnancy and no STI, and they have the strength to stick to that decision.
Why not give the complete facts and let them make a decision about their sexual health based on a complete picture?
I have also met many teens that want to make that informed decision and choose to protect themselves physically and emotionally by waiting for their lifetime partner.
So then, why don’t we allow two uninfected people that choose to stay together for life eliminate the possibility of an STI? What if we encourage our youth to wait until they are cemented in a solid relationship, such as marriage, before they bring a child into the world, parenting a child that will look to them for wisdom, knowledge, and support? Unfortunately, most often they don’t get the complete and honest facts to make that informed decision.
The Bakersfield Pregnancy Center offers unlimited support to women and men that want to talk about sex, its risks, benefits, and how to know when it’s “the right person” and the “right time”. We have resources and information that will help the partners make healthy and mature decisions.