Ignoring abstinence

Sex education is a controversial term because it means different things to everyone.

To some, it’s about avoiding teen pregnancy. For others, STDs are the focus. And other people thinkit means pretending like teenagers are not going to have sex simply because their teacher said so.

Whatever you think sex education is (or should be for your child), the federal government has now decided that abstinence doesn’t have to be part of it. For the first time in a decade, the federal government will be funding programs that are not based solely on abstinence.

Many of the programs that will get a share of the government dollars are taking a new approach to sex education that focuses on helping teenagers make good choices about their life and engage in wholesome activities in an effort to avoid unwanted pregnancy. Read more about the programs here.

I’m all for helping teenagers make good choices, but I think it’s a shame to just kiss off abstinence. Yes, some teenagers are going to have sex no matter what they are taught in the classroom or at home, but what’s wrong with holding abstinence as a standard? Giving up on abstinence is basically telling teenagers that we think they’re going to do it anyway, so we won’t even try to dissuade them.

I also think sex education is about much more than just preventing an unwanted pregnancy. Sex is about a lot more than reproduction when teenagers are involved. Having sex as a teenager is full of emotional complications that can haunt a boy or girl for the rest of their life — even if they use the condom they’ve been handed at school.

What do you think should be included in sexual education? How do you feel about the government funding programs that are not based on abstinence?

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