Posted: September 3rd, 2013
Sex education is a general term that is used to define human sexuality. Through this education, young people acquire information sex, relationship and sexual identity. When young people learn they get skills, which will help them in decision-making. They start becoming more responsible about their actions and behavior. Their attitudes improve, as they will become more confident and ready to encounter their challenges. It has been made part of the curriculum in schools. However, some countries have not embraced it because there are ongoing controversies. Some people consider this education more harmful than beneficial. Teaching them about birth control methods may encourage them to engage in premarital sex. On the other hand, it is risky not to teach them. They should understand their bodies and learn how to be responsible. It will help them to stay away from dangerous sexual practices. The countries with conservative policies about sex education have high percentages of teenage hood pregnancies and STD infections. This is because teenagers are not advised on how to control their sexual practices.
Everyone had his or her own way of learning about sexuality. Sex education was a taboo when I grew up. Parents would shy off from educating their children, and they would leave the teachers to do it. Due to this situation, we found ourselves gathering many rumors about this subject. Some were facts, but some turned out to be false information. When I was a child, I wondered where babies came from. One day I innocently asked my mother. She looked at me with shock on her face. It made her uncomfortable, but she reluctantly told me they come from God. He puts them in hospitals and doctors give them to mothers to raise them. I only came to learn the truth during my first years in elementary school. I was disappointed with my mother and demanded to know why she tricked me. She said I would not have understood the truth because I was very young.
When I started my adolescent stage, my parents used to caution me not to play with boys. I found it mighty strange and impossible because I went to a mixed school. I was still naive, so I did not understand why suddenly I should avoid boys. After a detailed lecture about sexuality, we understood the metaphorical phrase. It actually meant as a girl, I should be careful when socializing with boys. Adolescents get attracted to each other, and they can easily engage in irresponsible sex. I felt it was unfair to use such indirect language to a naive girl. Were it not for that lecture, I would have never understood what my parents meant.
The most frightening fact I learnt about sex is that one can get pregnant through unprotected sex. I could not stand the thought of being pregnant before marriage, so I promised myself, I would be a very responsible person. I also decide not to have any boyfriends until I finish university education. This was to help me to avoid temptations of irresponsible sex. As I continued to learn more I realized one should not be scared but rather, careful. Having many sex education discussions and talking to an adult helped me a lot. Adults are good counselors on challenges experienced by young people. I learnt valuable lessons from counselors. Young people can interact with the opposite sex in a healthy way. For example, it is possible for a boy and a girl to date without having sex. Most parents get involved in their adolescent children’s lives for guidance.
In girls, menstruation is a significant change in their bodies. A few days before I started my menses, we had been taught about what to do when the cycle starts. I had always been looking forward to the day I would start. I feared starting high school before my menses begin. There were rumors that other girls used to tease those who never got periods. They considered them immature. I was very happy when I started. I learnt that it is not such an exciting experience as I thought it would be. In fact, that day I felt moody and unhappy. There were other symptoms like abdominal pains, fatigue and nausea among others. I longed for the day the cycle would end. I told my best friend about it, and she was happy for me. I thought to myself if she only knew, she would never want to menstruate. Having periods was only a secret that was supposed to be for girls. If a boy knew, it would be very shameful. Therefore, girls used to be extremely discreet during those days.
In high school, this topic was discussed more often, and it was made part of the curriculum. The specific areas that were given attention were parts of the reproductive system and reproductive health. We were taught about family planning and sexually transmitted diseases. When we learnt about the various family planning methods, it was the first time I saw a condom. The teacher brought samples and every student had a look at them. I was astonished because I had a different idea of how they looked. When we were in middle school, there were rumors that condoms were not safe because they had microscopic holes. Our teacher confirmed that this was false information. One of the best contraceptives is condoms. They protect people from STIs and pregnancies. There is no other multi purpose contraceptive. It was emphasized because there were very many young people who made wrong choices because of lack of knowledge. Through the years, the number of teenage pregnancies has increased. For instance, in USA there are eight hundred and fifty thousand pregnancies annually. Another 9.1 million people who are below the age of twenty-five years, contract sexually transmitted diseases.
We went on to learn about different forms of sexual orientations. For example, we discussed homosexuality. People gave different contributions because it was a controversy in the whole nation. At that time, I felt that was not a topic worth discussion because I was against it. I considered homosexuality an act against nature and thought people were just trying to change what should not be changed. I have developed a liberal mind, and I think these are personal issues. People are at free will to choose the sex orientation they please. However, they are also advised to practice safe intimacy. In some countries, they recognize even gay marriages but some abhor it hence, it is an illegal marriage set up. The people who are mostly against it are religious groups. They argue according to their teachings of creations. A man and woman will unite and start a family. Therefore, doing anything contrary to that is abomination to them.
This type of education targets to decrease the risks of irresponsible sexual behavior. For instance, early pregnancies and STI. In many developing countries, HIV prevalence is high because of lack of sex education. Young people are not taught how to practice safe sex. They consider teaching them will encourage them to engage in sexual behaviors. Adults just preach to them about abstinence. The world has changed, and people must accept these changes. It is better to teach teenagers about sex education since they are sexually active. Such countries are conservative, and they hope their young people will follow their advice. Issues of contraception and abortion are key topics in this education. They aim to discourage unwanted pregnancies, which lead to opting abortion. This alternative is risky, and the counselors ensure they emphasize it, should be avoided. This is where the topic of contraceptives becomes helpful because it is a solution to unplanned pregnancies and STIs. Another aim of sex education is to enhance young people’s good experiences of sexuality. This is done by improving their relationships and capability of making the right decisions in their lives. This education should enable the youth to get protection as well as enjoy the nature of their sexuality.
As young people learn about their sexuality, they develop skills. These kinds of skills are related to the general skills of life. They include communication, ability to negotiate and ability to recognize relevant sources of assistance. Very many other skills are used to have a healthy sexual relationship. These skills will help them to identify unnecessary influence from other people, and they will resist. Since youthful years are full of challenges, these skills will help young people to combat the challenges. Sex education is full of a lot of false information. The skills achieved will help young people to determine true and false information. They can do this by comparing what they were taught to what they are told. In case they are not sure, they will enquire from reliable sources. The greatest achievement of acquiring these skills is to enable the youth to practice morality.
When the youth is equipped with sex education, they will learn many attitudes and beliefs about sexuality. There could be a lot of confusion about this. Health education emphasizes that young people should abstain whereas the media may suggest the contrary like being sexually active is a good thing. Since sexuality is a very delicate matter, educators should have substantial stands on what people should believe. Young people like to discuss moral and cultural issues related to sexuality. It is a good way of finding out more about other people’s opinions on these issues. Sexuality is a natural thing and hugely influential in every person’s life. Every adolescent has the right to know and study his body. Lack of this valuable knowledge may lead to extremely severe and unbearable circumstances. If a young boy or girl was not taught about growth, development and sexuality, they may suffer depression because they do not understand what is happening to them. If they would indulge in unsafe sex and the girl gets pregnant, she will suffer psychologically and physically. Lack of attention from guardians will make an adolescent feel neglected. They might even engage in dangerous behavior as a way of demanding attention. This is why guardians and teachers are required to offer young people full support and guidance as they continue to develop.
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