How sex-ed is failing our youth
Our society is obsessed with sex. Advertisements use sex appeal to sell us products all the time and yet we aren’t discussing one of the main aspects of many sex lives–oral sex. It seems as if our sex education programs are lacking when it comes to students learning about this topic. Even if the topic is uncomfortable to discuss, it’s still apart of sexuality, and people should be educated about it.
Instructors aren’t talking about oral sex because the topic is seemingly taboo but this may lead to risky sexual behavior when people believe that oral sex is a “safe” alternative. More and more young people are engaging in oral sex, but they may not be aware of how to keep themselves, and their partners comfortable and healthy.
Am I the only one who realizes that this is absurd? Sex education needs to change. Engaging in oral sex can still lead to the contraction of sexually transmitted diseases. In my opinion, abstinence can no longer be the main safe-sex practice taught in schools. If young people are going to have sex without proper education there can be dangerous consequences to that.
Brighton Victoria, a licensed life coach, offers counseling for subjects related to sex. Victoria believes that there is a sort of stigma surrounding the topic of oral sex.
“I think most people are more conservative when it comes to their sex lives and don’t like discussing nitty-gritty details, especially something in regards to oral sex, because oral sex is considered to be a bigger deal than ‘regular sex’ since the person performing is literally up close and personal with another person’s genitalia,” she said.
She believes that teens would benefit more from the system if all aspects of sex were discussed realistically, from regular sex to oral sex to contraceptives.
“Teaching teens abstinence is absolutely ludicrous, and that’s why we have so many teen pregnancies or STDs — because no one is educated on the reality of being sexually active,” Victoria said.
Not only is oral sex not talked about, but the education system also excludes the LGBTQ community. It seems as if heterosexual sex is the only thing taught. Brighton stated that the main reason all other aspects of sex are left out is because heterosexual penetrative sex is what causes pregnancy. The educational system seems solely concerned with the reproductive function of intercourse. Only thirteen states require sex education to be medically correct — thirteen out of fifty states—let that sink in.
“I think all aspects of sex should be discussed, not just the reproductive side. Not to mention, this excludes the LGBTQ community, since only hetero sex is taught because that’s what causes pregnancy. Gay sex should be discussed as well as oral sex, alongside an explanation that the majority of the time people have sex is not for making a baby, but for pleasure,” Victoria said.
Teens who are part of the LGBTQ comunity have a chance of being at higher risk for STDs. This issue may come from from some states not allowing sexual orientation to be spoken about in class.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, “a large majority of states have developed curricula or guidelines to provide program guidance to local school districts in implementing sexuality education programs. Many of these guides exclude such topics as abortion, homosexuality and masturbation because they are considered too controversial.”
I believe that the sex education system needs to be fixed. The truth is, you cannot stop people from having sex. All the aspects of sex should be discussed. Teaching everything is the only way to really help teens stay safe. STDs, pregnancy, and even a broken heart are all consequences of a lack of sexual education.
Not only should sex education happen at school, but that conversation should continue at home. A child should be able to confide in their parent if they feel awkward during puberty, or if they are not understanding their body. They should be able to talk to their parent, and their parent should be open about the situation. Parents should give “the talk” at a young age even if they just explain the basics, that way children won’t feel stigmatized about discussing sex, as they navigate their way through young adulthood, a part of which may be engaging in oral sex. The best strategy is to start the conversation young and continue as the child gets older.
The more children are exposed to provocative topics before they have “the talk” the more they are likely to succumb to sexual behavior. But, if our children are taught truthful and correct information about sex then they are more likely to be safer.
Learning or teaching about sex should not be shameful. It should not be awkward. Sex is a part of our lives so people should be educated and educated well on the topic in its entirety for the sake of their health.
Carly Weckel is a third year writing major who got an A in high school health class.