Growing through the adolescent stage to young adults, teenagers encounter vital decisions with respect to relationships, sexuality, and sexual behavior. The choices they make can sway their health and well-being for the rest of their lives. It is the society’s responsibility to inculcate youth by imparting knowledge about comprehensive sex education that gives them the tools they prerequisite for healthy decisions. Coming to the point concerning whatit means: sex education is the provision of information about bodily evolution, sex, sexuality, and relationships along with skill buildings to guide young people convey about and make well-informed decisions as to sex and their sexual healths. It should append information with reference to puberty and reproduction, abstinence, contraception and condoms, relationships, sexual violence prevention, body image, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Sex education should serve sexual development as a normal, natural part of human development.
- Among 15 to 17 years old, 69% of boys and 72% of girls have never had sexual intercourse.
- 89% of all teen births are to unmarried couples.
- About 40% of sexually active teen girls [aged 14 to 19 ] have at least one STD.
- Young adults [15 to 24] account for more than half of all reported cases of Chlamydia and Gonorrhea.
- Most parents want their children to wait for marriage before having sex.
- Almost 3/4th of parents are opposed to premarital sex both in general and to their adolescents.
- Waiting to have children until marriage decreases the likelihood that both parent and child will live in poverty.
- Most adolescents support reserving sex for marriage, both in general and for themselves.
- 20-5 research studies of SRA programs show significant behavioral changes in improving teen outcomes.
- 24 states require the said education in the schools.
Educating Teenagers About Sex in the United States
Sex education basics may be covered in health class, but your teen might not hear — or understand — everything he or she needs to know to make tough choices about sex. That’s where sex education comes in.
1. Formal sex education before turning 18.
As per American Sex Education, it has been observed that teens learn about sex education through formal learning even before they turn 18. For instance, out of 100 teenagers [96% of female and 97% of male teenagers]
2. Birth Control Awareness among Female teenagers is more.
According to sex education statistics, female teenagers are more likely than male teenagers to report first receiving instruction on birth control methods in high school [47% compared with 38%].
3. Parental Guidance – Talk it out.
As per the sex education facts and statistics, 92% of male and 93% of female teenagers reported being taught about STDs, and 89% of male and 88% of female teenagers reported receiving instruction on how to prevent HIV/AIDS from their parents.
4. Sex Education at adolescence or preteen years.
It has been noticed that one out of five teenagers who received formal sex education from a school, church, community center or some other place, before middle school age between the ages of 9 to 12, were more likely to report instruction on “how to say no to sex” than on other topics.
5. Protected Sex.
Sexual educations facts suggest that male teenagers were more likely to enquire about how to be self-aware and use a condom [38% of males with 29% of females].
How Do Americans Feel About Sex Education?
No doubt, offering accurate and consistent sex education in schools is highly important. Most Americans want teens with these resources not only to prevent unwanted pregnancies and spread of STDs but also help to ensure the overall well-being of a teenager. The majority of Americans, regardless of race or political party, are in complete support of Sexual Risk Avoidance[SRA]education.
- More than 8 out of 10 parents, especially women and African Americans, support SRA education.
- Nearly 9 in 10 parents strongly support the way SRA programs share the usage of condoms for preventing pregnancies and diseases.
- Most of the parents want their children to wait for marriage before having any sexual relationship to avoid the consequences of various diseases that may erupt due to multiple partners.
- Almost 3/4 of parents are opposed to premarital sex in general.
- As per the research, parents of female teenagers are much in favor of sexual health awareness since 40% of sexually active female teenagers [aged 14 – 19] suffer from at least one kind of STD as [HPV, chlamydia, herpes, and gonorrhea].
- To avoid unwanted pregnancies among female teenagers, awareness of teenage sexuality education is highly recommended.
Teen Sexual Behaviour Statistics
- As per the United States, sex education survey among 15 – 17 years of age teenagers indicates that 69% of male teens and 72% of female teens have never had sexual intercourse. Moreover, it has been noticed that among the above age group, 52.4% of male teens and 72% female teens have never had any sexual contact with the opposite sex, which includes sexual activities that are not limited to sexual intercourse.
- According to sexual education statistics 2019, in the past 26 years, the percent of high school male and female teenagers who are waiting for sex has increased to 38% and 27%, respectively.
- The most recent data reports suggest that about 29% of pregnancies among 15 to 19-year-olds end to abortion, down from 46% in 1986. Teen abortion rates are at their lowest since abortion has been declared legal in 1988, whereas during the same period, 89% of teen births were to unmarried couples.
Sex Education in Public Schools Statistics
Sex education facts and statistics suggest that as of March 1, 2020:
- Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia require public schools to teach sex education, 27 of which have made it compulsary along with HIV education.
- Thirty-nine states and the districts of Columbia require students to receive instructions about HIV.
- According to 22 states if sex or HIV education is provided it must be technically accurate. State definitions of “medically accurate” vary, it says that the education curriculum should contain information from published authorities upon which medical professionals rely.
What Do Teenagers Think About Sexual Education?
According to the United States Sex Education, students reported an urge to have more relevant information about sexual and reproductive health issues than they are receiving in school. They have shown an urge to know more about what to do in the event of rape or sexual assault, how to get tested for HIV and other STDs, how to use birth control products etc.
- Approximately half of the students in grades 7-12 report the need for more information on how to get tested for HIV/AIDS and other STDs.
- As per the research, more than 80% of 18 and 19-year-olds say that they don’t like the idea of casual sex, moreover, support abstinence and reserving sex for marriage both in general terms and for themselves too.
- 30% of teenage males still do not receive any sex education before their first-ever intercourse, with a rate of as high as 45% for black teenage males.
- With the given statistics in the U.S., about 40% of teens say that their sex education classes make them feel pressured to indulge in sexual relationships. Further, 32% conveyed that they feel pressure from their dating partners.
- Teens learning about sex in their school life have reported that teachers were poorly trained and often visibly embarrassed to be representing the materials, which doesn’t exactly convey the message that sex is a healthy and acceptable part of life.
What Are the Sources of Sex Education for Teens?
In a country like the U.S., such education for teens comes from multiple sources. There are various formal sex education programs by leading public health and medical professional organizations – including the American Medical Association; The American Academy of Pediatrics; The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; The American Public Health Association; The Health and Medicine Division of The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine [formerly The Institute of Medicine]; The American School Health Association and the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. These support comprehensive sex education and school health programs. It has been observed that apart from formal instruction providers, parents, health care providers, and digital media are also very instrumental when it comes to providing information pertaining to sex education to adolescents.
- “Abstinence education” programs that promote abstinence-only until marriage now termed “sexual risk avoidance” by proponents – have been described as “scientifically and ethically problematic.” They systematically ignore or stigmatize many young people and do not need their health needs.
- Under School health policies and programs – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], instruction on sexual health topics [including human sexuality and prevention of STDs and pregnancy] is more commonly required in high school than in middle and elementary school.
- According to the statistics, the “sex talk” between parents and their children is less than optimal. Parents tend to exclude positive topics associated with sexuality, such as pleasure, love, and healthy relationships, in favor of negative topics and warnings. There is a lack of important topics associated with sex education as pregnancy, contraceptives, abuse, and exploitation. Therefore, parental guidance is needed as adolescents develop, but parents need to have accurate and positive information to share with the teens.
Federal and State Policy Related to Sex Education
All States in America are somehow involved in Sex Education for Public School children. As of March 1, 2020, 29 states and the district of Columbia require public schools teaching sex education,27 of which mandated sex education and HIV education. 39 states and the district of Columbia required the students to receive instructions on HIV/AIDS, 25 states and the district of Columbia required school districts to notify parents that sex education would be provided; five states required parent consent whether the child can receive such instructions, and 36 states and the district of Columbia allowed parents to opt-out on behalf of their children. According to a report of 2019, almost 7,50,000 female youth in America will become pregnant by 2020, and 50% of the 20 million instances of the sexually transmitted disease will be recognized in young people between the ages group of 15 – 24. The highest rate of teenage pregnancy, abortion, and STDs is in America compared to other developed nations worldwide.
- 24 states require sex education in schools.
- 33 states require HIV/AIDS education in the schools.
- 37 states require sex education to include information about SRA, and 18 also require information about contraception.
- 22 states, including the District of Columbia, require that sex education include information about skills for avoiding coerced sex.
- Sex Education laws are present to only 38 out of 50 states in America, among which 30 are those curricula which focus on abstinence-until-marriage, and the rest 8 covers comprehensive sex education.
Effectiveness of Sex Education in Schools
As per statistics in the U.S., many young exponents claim that sex education is an evidence-based study, proving to be more effective. But when results for these programs are evaluated the outcome does not support their claims, assessment of the effectiveness of CSE in schools was recently declared that 60 detailed studies of 40 school-based CSE programs were appraised for selection based on testing quality by either the Department of Health and Human Services [HHS], The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation [UNESCO], or the CDC. These examinations have professed that “they reduce pregnancies, STDs, and related sexual behaviors.” The domain of prevention test considers an intrusion is effective when it creates sustained post-program effects on a protective barometer for the purposive population. When the examiners applied this standard to the programs, the evidence of success is less than the failure.
- Teen Pregnancy: Out of 40, only one school-based teen sex education program appraised by the 60 studies claimed a depletion in teen pregnancy. However, that effects did not last long, whereas a similar study in a different location observed that pregnancy rates were high.
- STI prevention: There was no reduction in teen STIs even after providing school-based sex education in all the schools.
- Teen Abstinence: Out of 60, only four school-based teen sex education studies claimed a 12-month post-program hike in teen abstinence, whereas 12 other studies of similar kind showed no such positive effects but one negative effect.
Benefits of Sexual Delay
Given American sex educations in schools, the benefits of sexual delay are stated below :
- Sexual delay and limiting the number of lifetime partners is important to decrease the risk of pregnancy and STDs.
- If a male teen initiates sex at 14, he has almost 75% likelihood of having six or more partners by the time he reaches 20 years of age. Whereas a girl has a 58% likelihood of having six or more partners by the age of 20 if she initiates sex by the age of 14. The risk drops to 10%, respectively, if the teen waits until he or she is at least 17. Sexual delay until marriage provides the optimal health outcomes, but even a shorter postponement greatly reduces the physical risks of sex.
- Avoiding sex until marriage is one of the ways to restrict/limit the chances of possible negative physical consequences of sex.
- Dithering sex supports the stability of future marriage.
- Welcoming parenthood post-marriage increases the possibilities of flourishment.
- Planning a child after marriage reduces the possibility of living in poverty.
The U.S. as a country was lagging behind to create national benchmark for sex education but such instructions are left to non-profit groups suffering from financing gap. . Assigned , federally funded comprehensive sex education should encompass people with variegated sexual orientations, gender identities, socioeconomic backgrounds, levels of pre-existing health education , and ethnic and cultural backgrounds. According to The United Nations, being self aware of one’s own body is a human right. To fortify that American teenagers are not impoverished of this right, legislators, youth service providers, and advocates should work to generate , fund, and enforce comprehensive sex education curricula for all n teenagers . Ultimately when selecting a modus operandy to teenage sex education, one must contemplate “what is truly the best interest of children. Families, communities, and society as a whole ?”
Frequently asked questions
How many youths receive HIV /AIDS prevention education?
According to the 2019 Youth Risk Behaviour Survey [YRBS], nationwide, 85.3% of students had never been taught in school about AIDS or HIV infections.
Does Comprehensive Sex Education reduce sexual risk-taking behavior?
According to sexual education statistics, two-thirds of the 48 According to sexual education statistics, two-thirds of the 48 comprehensive programs that supported both abstinence and the use of condoms and contraceptives of sexually active teens had positive behavioral effects.
Who supports sex education?
As per sex education research, it has been observed that Democrats as well as Republicans articulate similar prference for issues of puberty and sexually transmitted diseases in school sex education programs for teenagers. Republicans are more likely to support abstinence as a topic in sexual education for teenagers whereas Democrats are more in favour of supporting healthy relationships, birth control, consent, and sexual orientation. Nevertheless, both camps strongly support all topics to be included in sex education curricula.
How do Americans feel about abstinence-until-marriage programs?
Only 14% of Americans think that schools should teach abstinence-only programs and information about condoms and other types of contraceptives must be abstained.
- https://www.huffpost.com/entry/sex-ed-what-teens- want_n_57d98023e4b0fbd4b7bcc970/amp
- https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education- 12/reports/2018/05/09/450158/sex-education-standards-across-states/