While this video is hilarious, it’s also truly telling of how bad sex education is in America. What should exist is a comprehensive education that includes information on sexual development and reproduction, contraception and birth control, relationships, and sexuality. Young adults need to know about more than just sexually transmitted infections. For example, they should be taught the physical and emotional changes that also come with puberty, the different kinds of birth controls available, what a healthy relationship looks like, and the many various sexualities.
Here are some stats on current sex education and the adolescents that it affects:
- Only 16% of teens have had sex by the time they turn 15 years old.
- By 19 years old, seven out of 10 teenagers have had intercourse.
- For every 1,000 young women who are pregnant, 8 abortions occur.
- Around nine million new STIs occur in adolescents in the US, which is extremely high compared to rates in Canada and Western Europe.
- Pregnancy rates have dropped in 15-19 year-olds, from 11.7% in 1990 to 6.8% in 2008; this change can mostly be contributed to the dramatic improvements in contraceptive use.
- Although the pregnancy rates have dropped, only one-third of teens receive formal education on contraception.
- While 70% of women are taught about contraception, only 62% of men are educated on the subject.
- 22 of the 50 states (as well as the District of Columbia) are required to teach sex and HIV education.
- 25 of the 50 states require their sexual education place a heavy emphasis on abstinence.
- About one of four 15-19 year olds received this abstinence education with no instruction on contraception and birth control.
- Sex education classes must be medically accurate and factual in only 13 of the 50 states.
To keep America’s youth educated and healthy, they need to know how their bodies work. This also includes how their bodies work with other bodies. The numbers of unsafe, uneducated teenagers needs to keep dropping. The best way to do that is to have open and full communication with kids today! They will learn it from somewhere, so why not make sure they receive an accurate education?
There are tons of different places that publish supportive and constructive sex ed information. Sex, etc! is a website by teens for teens that works to keep a positive and constructive conversation around sex education. Other groups such as Advocates for Youth, Pro-Choice America, protectchoice.org, and avert.org are also very supportive of sexual education in schools. Of course, one of the most important places for teens to find their information is at home; there are a plethora of resources for parents to use to assist teaching their teens!
Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.