Sex Education: Does it Really Work? EssayRoy Peters”Forty percent of today’s fourteen year old girls will become pregnantby the time they are nineteen” (qtd. in “The Effects” 632). This statistic mayindicate that the sex education programs in the United States are notcontrolling the effects of sex by teens.
“The United States has the highestteen pregnancy rate of developed countries” (“The Effects” 632). I believethat the people of this nation need to look at the current sex educationprograms and see if they are properly addressing the problems that sex educationwas intended to stop. The three major reasons why sex education is taught inour schools are: 1) to discourage teens from having sex at younger and youngerages; 2) to stop the spread of AIDS and other STDs; and 3) to prevent teenagepregnancy. I believe that the sex education programs being used today are noteffective at controlling these three problems.
Today’s sex education programsare abstinence based. “Washington has spent some $31. 7 million developingabstinence only curricula” (Shapiro 56). By looking at the problems sexeducation tries to solve, we can improve the sex education programs by puttingthe problems in order of importance. This will prove that teens having sex at ayounger age is the reason for the failure of sex education in this country. Tocounteract this problem abstinence should be taught to children under the age of16.
Then when the children reach the age of 16 they need to be taught AIDS andcondom education. AIDS and other STDs are an important reason we have sex education. AIDSeducation is supported in all fifty states: “Sex education is only formallyrequired or recommended in 47 states” (Gibbs 61). This shows that AIDSeducation is considered more important than sex education.
AIDS can be spreadby the transfer of bodily fluids such as blood or semen from an infected personto one who is not. This includes sexual activity, intravenous drug use, andblood transfusions. Many people are still contracting AIDS through sexualcontact even though there has been a nationwide awareness program. It is a factthat “2.
5 million teenagers are affected by sexually transmitted diseases eachyear” (“The Effects” 632). This statistic does not take into account AIDS cases. That is a large number of teens that are missing the message about safe sex andabstinence. This shows how poorly our current system of sex education isworking.
Because if it was effective, these numbers would be much lower thanwhat they are. Condoms can prevent the spread of AIDS sexually, but the use ofcondoms requires a change in one’s sexual habits. “Once patterns of sexualintercourse and contraceptive use are established, they may be difficult tochange” (qtd. in Whitehead 69). “One survey shows that among sexually active 15year olds, only 26 percent of boys and 48 percent of girls had sex education bythe time they had first intercourse” (Shapiro 58). This is one reason thatAIDS education has not been totally successful.
It relies on sex education tostress condom use, but many young teens are forming their patterns ofcontraceptive use or nonuse before they are educated enough to make the rightdecision. Another major problem sex education tries to solve is teen pregnancy. “American teenage females experience about one million unplanned pregnancieseach year” (“The Effects” 632). “About thirty-seven percent of teenagepregnancies end in abortion and about fourteen percent in miscarriage”(Whitehead 73). The social consequences of teens having children are great. Ifa teenage mother does not finish high school or become married there is aseventy-nine percent chance that the mother and the child will be poor(Whitehead 73).
Teenage girls have greater control over their fertility todaythan they had in the past, and yet the percentage of births to unwed motherscontinues to rise (Whitehead 73). This shows that sex education has failed toslow the rate of teen pregnancy. Teens in this country are having sex at a younger and younger age. “In1970, five percent of fifteen year old girls and 32 percent of seventeen yearold girls reported having had sex; by 1988 the figures had increased to twenty-six percent of fifteen year old girls and fifty-one percent of seventeen yearolds” (Whitehead 72). Another survey by the Centers for Disease Control alsocame up with similar numbers.
They reported 40% of 15 year olds reported havingsex in 1993; but in 1970 only 10% of .