Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Safe Sex, Everyone Should Learn it. By: Carlie Coates

Recently, I was asked by my eight grade cousin if I could teach her about sex basics.  Not only was I caught off guard, but I was saddened that an education system and my own family members had not made her aware of the importance in learning about safe sex.  Sex has become a topic that superior figures, parents and teachers, are not comfortable talking about to children.  From this, kids are at risk for sexual mistakes due to the “protection” they have grown up in.

Parents serve as protectors and informers.  They have the ultimate job of teaching their children about helpful topics; one of those topics is sex.  According to Planned Parenthood, 43% of parents are comfortable talking about sex and sexual health with their kids[1], but what about the 57% of parents who are uncomfortable?  Do those children and eventual teenagers become educated from personal sexual experience?  Sexual education began at the age of ten, for me.  From having an open relationship with my family, I could ask questions and learn more safe practices without feeling uncomfortable.  By having knowledge about sexual health at a young age, I have made smarter decisions when dealing with sexual activity.

Parents should be educating their kids on safe sex, and so should the education system the child is attending.  In fifth grade, I was informed of personal hygiene and how the body changes during puberty.  During middle school, my health class taught the basics of sex, mainly focusing on the differences of genitalia.  It wasn’t until my freshman health class that the school discussed sexual education.  I was taught about STD’s, the importance of birth control and condoms, but the school promoted that abstinence is the best way to stay sexually healthy.  My freshman class taught exactly what the Healthy Youth Act requires.  The law was passed in 2009 and “helps North Carolina schools establish sexuality education programs that match parents’ desires, students’ needs, and public health best practices.”[2]  This act is required, to be taught, during seventh to ninth grade and first teaches that “abstinence is presented as the safest choice and is the expected standard for all schoolchildren.”2  Abstinence is the most preventable way to be sexually healthy, but teachers should educated teenagers about safety because “nearly 70% of North Carolina high school seniors have had sex; however, fewer than half of those students used a condom the last time.”2     

Sex can have serious consequences, parents and teachers should properly educate children to help prevent the worst case scenario from becoming a reality. 

[1] Planned Parenthood Federation of America, "New Poll: Parents are Talking With Their Kids About Sex but Often Not Tackling Harder Issues ." Last modified 10 13, 2011. Accessed January 19, 2014.
[2] Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina, "Healthy Youth Act." Accessed January 19, 2014.

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