“The fault in our sex education”

Paige Darling, Assistant Multimedia Editor

Sex education is a controversial topic because its main subject is taboo. Sex has a never-ending stigma that prohibits us from having productive conversations about it. What the world, especially the U.S., is failing to understand is that without proper education about sex, it will result in some negative consequences.

It’s possible to have a good curriculum because there are European countries that are championing sex ed. In Europe, it is mandatory in many countries to teach sex education, which often covers sexual orientation, pleasure, relationships and protection. Here, only 24 states require sex ed as of 2016, according to ATTN.com.

Often when there is a lack of sex education, the effects are reflected in sexually transmitted disease and teen pregnancy rates. In Denmark, the birth rate has fallen below the number required to maintain the population because young adults aren’t having kids until they are ready. There is a staggering difference when comparing teen pregnancy rates between the U.S. and Denmark. In 2017, the U.S. had 194,377 babies born to women 15-19 years old, while Denmark had about 3,600 pregnancies from women ages 15-19 in 2011, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

As for STDs, rates are very prevalent across the world, but the U.S. has the highest rate of STDs of all developed countries. In 1999 there were 150 cases of gonorrhea for every 100,000 people in the U.S. compared to Sweden’s number of three for every 100,000, according to The New York Times. Among young adults, STD rates are shocking with one in four sexually active females having an STD. It also estimated that youth ages 15-25 to have half of all new STDs, as stated by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The problem will only increase with our continued lack of education on how to be safe.

District 102 and 204 sex education needs to improve because what we have isn’t cutting it. From the generalized knowledge that students received and what I remember from eighth grade sex ed, the main method of contraception was abstinence. At LT, we learned basic information on condoms, types of birth control and how babies are conceived. Courses should have covered detailed methods of STD prevention, the many side effects of birth control, the normal occurrences of sex, LGBTQ+ sex, as well as proper hygiene and safety. Students want to learn how to be safe, and right now, we have none of the tools to do so. Instead, students were forced to do their own outside research online which can lead to contradicting or potentially harmful information.

Fellow students could learn from shows like Netflix’s “Sex Education” and “Sex, Explained.” “Sex Education,” a comedy TV show, does a great job of displaying the awkwardness of covering sex, posing and answering thoughtful questions and breaking down our long lived societal norms. “Sex, Explained” informs viewers about many different topics from fertility to the science of attraction. I would recommend these shows as our temporary fix to the problem.

To District 102 and 204, I along with others Lion staffers want to put these notes in your suggestion box: stock the nurses office with condoms, offer free STD tests, give out pamphlets on nearby clinics, and don’t only focus on heterosexual sex. We must remember that knowledge is power and we can’t be ashamed to discuss normal matters like sex. Don’t be blind to the fact that we are going to grow up and need to know this someday. It’s better to learn in a safe environment, than from trial and error in the real world. Unlike the Pythagorean theorem which extends to freshman year Algebra, I need and will use information on this matter.