An Overview of Sexual Education in Schools

An Overview of Sexual Education in Schools

The debate over sex education in the United States centers on the question of who should teach students about issues relating to sex such as intercourse, pregnancy, contraception, gender identity, sexual orientation, sexually transmitted diseases, and relationships. Should sex education be left up to parents, or do schools have a responsibility to inform students about these issues?

If topics relating to sex are to be taught in schools, a second major issue in the debate is what type of information, and by extension what sexual values, should be transmitted through a sex education curriculum. Two kinds of sex education programs are debated in the United States: abstinence-only curricula and comprehensive sex education. Although it is not only a religious issue, abstinence-only programs tend to be supported by Christian groups and social conservatives, and comprehensive sex education programs tend to be consistent with a more liberal point of view.

Another question in the debate relates to disagreement over whether state or federal funds should be used to support sex education in public schools, and if so, what forms of sex education should be funded.

Finally, since teen pregnancy is a major social and political issue nationwide, much of the discussion about sex education has to do with its effectiveness in reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies among young women.

Basic Terms, Concepts, and Definitions Related to Sex Ed.

Abstinence: The practice of avoiding sexual intercourse until marriage. Abstinence-only sex education programs focus on abstinence as the standard and preferred lifestyle for young people and emphasize the benefits of refraining from intercourse.

Comprehensive Sex Education: Comprehensive sex education programs cover a broad range of topics related to sexuality. These programs typically combine information about abstinence with information on condoms and other contraceptive methods, as well as education about sexually transmitted diseases.

Contraception: The term contraception refers to any of various means of preventing pregnancy, including but not limited to the use of condoms and birth control pills.

Sexual Orientation: A person's sexual orientation describes their sexual preference. Typically, the term is used to differentiate between a preference for: members of one's own gender, homosexuality; members of both genders, bisexuality; and, members of the opposite gender, heterosexuality.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Diseases that can be transmitted from person to person through sexual contact. These include HIV/AIDS, Chlamydia, herpes, HPV and hepatitis.

Find More Articles on this Topic Courtesy of AIRBUS FRANCE S.A.S.

Share

Related Images