Differences in Sex Education Philosophy Part II

Sex Ed BooksThe discussion on Monday night’s part of of the sex education was lively and I felt as though there were a lot of points of view put out there but I didn’t feel as though the subject accomplished much in terms of productive discussion. I will put that on me for the way that I presented the issue, as it seemed as though I perhaps framed the issue a little too much. Not that I am not going to put my point of view out there mind you. The problem was that when it comes to the LGBT issues there are a lot of folks that simply have their mind made up because it is those issue and it kept us from getting into the part of the debate that I felt is most important…. and that is whether, or how much, we should allow sexual education topics to be taught in the classroom. 

As you all know, I decided that I was going to split it into two articles. The first article focused on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) movement in today’s schools. Tonight’s follow up article will focus on the “more mundane” aspects of sexual education in today’s schools: the debate of abstinence versus more comprehensive

Sex Ed Frederick MDThere are two main forms of sex education that are taught in American schools: comprehensive and abstinence-only. Comprehensive sex education covers abstinence as a positive choice, but also teaches about contraception and avoidance of STD’s when sexually active. A 2002 study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 58% of secondary school principals describe their sex education curriculum as comprehensive. Abstinence-only sex education tells teenagers that they should be sexually abstinent until marriage and does not provide information about contraception. In the Kaiser study, 34% of high-school principals said their school’s main message was abstinence-only(From Wikipedia).

The abstinence only path is largely espoused by the conservative right. Many christians have spoke out that premarital sex is not only risky, but morally and ethically wrong. They, therefore, do not want their children to be taught that anything but abstinence is an option. It would seem to me that this thought process is rooted in wishful thinking rather than practical reason. Furthermore, I would argue that a moral position such as this is one of the things that should not be forced onto those children of parents who do not believe in abstinence effectiveness or do not have a problem with premarital sex.

CDC LogoIn my opinion, the comprehensive group is split into two factions. There are those that believe a comprehensive version that teaches many different forms of birth control, gives information on the various STD’s out there, and talks about teen pregnancy. Then there are those that want to take things further than that (Why does California suddenly spring into my mind when I start this thought?). These folks think that sexual education in school should cover the spectrum of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) as well. In my opinion, the conservatives and the second group of comprehensives spend so much time bickering that the sensible choice in the middle gets left behind and neglected.

So what are the facts around teens and sexual education? There are all kinds of places that you can go on the net to find statistics on this topic. I decided that I would start with the US Center for Disease Control. A government agency, so less likely to be biased than the conservative or liberal sites out there. They get their information from the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattesville, MD. You can get to the CDC statistics and see other statistics as well HERE . Some statistics on teen sex:

Percent of never married teenagers 15-19 years of age who ever had intercourse by age and sex

Female

1995 2002
1519 years of age 49.3% 45.5%
1517 years of age 38.0% *30.3%
1819 years of age 68.0% 68.8%

Male

1995 2002
1519 years of age 55.2% *45.7%
1517 years of age 43.1% *31.3%
1819 years of age 75.4% *64.3%

Number of teen pregnancies among females 1519 years of age, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2002:

  1990 1995 2000 2002
Estimated pregnancies 1,017,000 903,000 834,000 757,000
Live births 522,000 500,000 469,000 425,000
Induced abortions 351,000 263,000 235,000 215,000
Fetal losses 145,000 140,000 129,000 117,000

Opposite sex – teenagers

  • Percent of males 1519 years of age who have ever had oral sex with a female: 55.2%
  • Percent of females 15years of age who have ever had oral sex with a male: 54.3%

Sexual attraction

  • Females: 1844 years of age, 2002: 95.9% reported being only ormostly attracted to males.
  • Males: 1844 years of age, 2002: 96.1% reported being onlyormostlyattracted to females.

Sex Education

  • Percent of teens aged 1519 years of age who report having received formal instruction before the age of 18 on how to say no to sex, 2002:
    • 85.5% of females
    • 82.6% of males
  • About two-thirds of teens receiveinstruction on “how to say no to sex”before entering 9th grade.
  • Percent of teens aged 1519 years of age who report having received formal instruction before the age of 18 on methods of birth control,” 2002:
    • 69.9% of females
    • 66.2% of males
  • Just over 40% of teens received instruction on “methods of birth control” before entering 9th grade. 

In the United States

  • In 2007, 48% of high school students had ever had sexual intercourse, and 15% of high school students had had four or more sex partners during their life.1
  • In 2007, 39% of currently sexually active high school students did not use a condom during last sexual intercourse.
  • In 2002, 11% of males and females aged 15-19 had engaged in anal sex with someone of the opposite sex; 3% of males aged 15-19 had had anal sex with a male.
  • In 2002, 55% of males and 54% of females aged 15-19 had engaged in oral sex with someone of the opposite sex.
  • In 2006, an estimated 5,259 young people aged 13-24 in the 33 states reporting to CDC were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, representing about 14% of the persons diagnosed that year.
  • Each year, there are approximately 19 million new STD infections, and almost half of them are among youth aged 15 to 24.
  • In 2002, 12% of all pregnancies, or 757,000, occurred among adolescents aged 15-19.

 

Percentage of Schools in Which Teachers Taught* STD Prevention Topics as Part of Required Instruction, by School Level 

Topic 

Elementary School 

Middle School 

High School 

Abstinence as the most effective method to avoid pregnancy, HIV, and other STDs 

12.3 

75.8 

86.6 

Condom efficacy 

NA 

42.0 

65.4 

How STDs are diagnosed and treated 

3.2 

58.9 

78.2 

How STDs, other than HIV, are transmitted 

4.5 

65.0 

84.5 

How to correctly use a condom 

NA 

21.0 

38.5 

How to find valid information or services related to STDs or STD screening 

3.8 

54.2 

78.7 

How to prevent STDs 

5.7 

65.6 

84.5 

Long-term health consequences of STDs 

5.1 

63.1 

82.5 

Resisting peer pressure to engage in sexual behavior 

15.8 

72.6 

82.8 

Risks associated with having multiple sexual partners 

NA 

65.2 

80.7 

Signs and symptoms of STDs 

3.9 

62.0 

83.5 

*In at least 1 elementary school class or in at least 1 required health education course in middle schools or high schools. NA = not asked at this level. 

 

You can find that last table in a different section of the CDC site HERE. So there is a lot of information there for you to tear apart at your leisure. There were a couple of things that stood out to me. First at least half of the teenagers are having sex (48% are admitting it, lol). Somewhere between another 5% and 10% are engaging in oral sex. And that is despite the fact that many parents are advising their children that abstinence in the best way forward. 

Bush GraduateTeen pregnancy rates are falling. I saw it in one of the reports, but would have to go back and look for it (and it is 5:13 am at this point), but the rate of teenage girls getting pregnant per 1,000 girls fell from something like 112 in 1995 to 78 in 2002. The CDC noted that this was the lowest teen pregnancy rate in the period in which they have been collecting data. And that is the result, in my opinion, of the increased level of sexual education training that children are receiving in the classroom. 

Just worth noting: the sexual preference numbers were far lower than I thought that they were going to be. Only roughly 4% of teenagers reported being attracted to the same sex. That doesn’t bode well for those who argue that the increased awareness and public discussion of LGBT issues is somehow “creating” gay people where they didn’t exist before. There is certainly more data I would like to see on this subject, such as how does the percentage change in school districts with aggressive LGBT curriculum? Or does it change at all? For example, does California, with a very liberal LGBT policy have a higher percentage of teens attracted to same sex that other parts of the country? If anyone can find reliable data on that I would be interested in seeing it. 

Failing Sex EdI would also like to see more data on the delta (change) in the percentage of children who received sex education training (the section that I highlighted this color) over the last 20-30 years as the sex education training has been emphasized in US schools. Are these results significantly higher, which would indicate that without the increased school training that parents were not filling the void? I would also welcome any data someone finds in this area. 

So with all this information in hand, I am interested in hearing what the folks who were quite adamant about schools keeping out of the business of sex education have to say about the apparent success of the programs put in place. 

I did find some different data as well on the Wikipedia article about sex education. It states: The difference between these two approaches, and their impact on teen behavior, remains a controversial subject. In the U.S., teenage birth rates had been dropping since 1991, but a 2007 report showed 3% increase from 2005 to 2006. From 1991 to 2005, the percentage of teens reporting that they had ever had sex or were currently sexually active showed small declines. However, the U.S. still has the highest teen birth rate and one of the highest rates of STIs among teens in the industrialized world. Public opinion polls conducted over the years have found that the vast majority of Americans favor broader sex education programs over those that teach only abstinence, although abstinence educators recently published poll data with the opposite conclusion.

Love Each OtherAs for where I stand on this subject. I think that once a child reaches the teenage years, they absolutely must be educated on the sexual matters including birth control, STD’s, etc. Failing to do so would be a grave mistake and would leave a lot of teens uninformed and at risk. Despite the claims by many parents that they are active in ensuring that their children get these lessons at home, the data above seems to show that at least 30% of teens in America are not hearing it at all, not in school and not at home. And that is scary. 

As for abstinence. I think that it is a fine policy. I wish all teens would take this approach to sex. But I think that the stance of teaching abstinence only in sex education to teens is misguided and irresponsible. The peer pressure to have sex in schools today is tremendous. And the sexed up culture that we see today, with hollywood teens having babies and being put on a pedestal for it sets an example that, unfortunately, will be followed by too many young people. Believing that abstinence only is the proper way forward seems to be a pipe dream to me. It seems fitting that it is the christian right that is pushing to make abstinence the only form of sex education given to teens. After all they are used to saying a prayer and hoping it gets answered. But I am open to hearing where I am wrong on this, as always. So fire away.

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Comments

  1. Well, when I went through high school (early 2000s) my sex education was something like this. We were told all about STDs and how horrible they are and we were shown “The Miracle of Life” movie (one of the most disturbing things a teen can see), but abstinence was touted as the only option. We were told about other birth control methods, but only informed, not endorsed. That seems like an altogether reasonable method to me.

    Anyone who claims that teen pregnancy rates are high because kids don’t know about birth control should put a helmet on. Like any teenager doesn’t know what a condom is… Now, that being said, kids should be hammered with information about STDs and other dangers. I think it would be wrong for someone to say something like “so it’s ok to have sex as long as you use protection,” but I don’t think that would happen (too optimistic?). I’m with USW on the middle ground (right?).

    As far as when this should be taught, I’m not so sure. With kids seeing all this crap on TV and the internet, its hard not to assume they would become sexually active at a younger age. The people I fault most are parents who aren’t doing their job of rationing what their kids see, but the kids of other parents will get it from their friends. Elementary school is far too early, but I wouldn’t be opposed to a little info in middle school. But I’m on the fence on this one.

    • USWeapon says:

      I think we are in the same neighborhood! The one thing that I would disagree with is the notion that all teenagers know what condoms are or what they are for. Kids are having sex as young as 11 and 12 these days. And I can honestly say that when I was 11 I had no idea about pregnancy or condoms. Good thing I was too homely to have sex! I also know that there are a lot of sheltered kids out there. And others who simply are not very bright, literally. We have to be thinking of everyone. The extroverts know these things because they and their friends talk about it. But the introvert has hardly any friends. If they don’t have parents that take an active role, they could be lost and end up pregnant with the first person of the opposite sex that pays attention to them.

      And I definitely lay most of the blame on parents. Those who don’t want the government interfering and teaching their children these things should have done a better job themselves, and at the same time attempted to use peer pressure to make sure the other parents are doing the same.

  2. I through High School in the 80’s, so I cant speak if things have changed. We had sex ed classes in Junior High School (7th&8th) where they spilt up the girls and boys and talked about the women body and how it changes. How babies are made. But there was no talk about birth control or STD’s. I think that there needs be a class on STD, no doubt. It is just to serious of a situation not to.
    As far as home, I was lucky that I had people who got over their fear and talked to me about everything. Which I know is not always the case. I had a very good firend whos parents didnt talk to her about anything. I got the you should wait talk, with reasons why I should wait. Plus I was given the birth control and STD talk. I asked later in life why they took that approach. Being from a Catholic family, it surprised me. They wanted to be sure that I had all the information I needed to make a valid choice in my life.
    They believe that a person who has all the information make better decisions. Plus I would, at some point in my life, need this information. Even if it wasnt in high school.

    So I thought was a wise choice. But not to give any talk on STD and methods of birth control is a wrong choice. But I have a different view, since I do not have any children of my own.

    • Kristian says:

      Ellen,

      I have children, both girls, and I think that you are right.When I talk to my girls about sex I try to make sure that they have all of the information that they need to make an informed decision. Unfortunately not all parents do that. I grew up in a household where sex was a dirty subject and it was not talked about. I was sexually active by the time I was 15 and didn’t have the forst clue. I got lucky and didn’t get pregnant until I was married but I decided when I did have kids that they would not be raised that way. I’m not saying that I am my girls best friend, but they do know that they can talk to me.

      • Kristian,

        I agree. I knew alot of girls in two parent homes that where the subject of sex was not discussed in anyway. It was put out as something dirty and never should be talked about. Sad but true. And you sure dont want girls learning about this from other teenagers!

        • Kristian says:

          Ellen,

          You’re right I don’t want them learning from other teens. My oldest is 18 now and she went through a lot of phases, especially in junior high. I think I handled it ok because she seems to be pretty responsible about it now.

    • USWeapon says:

      Ellen,

      That is an interesting thing that you bring up the awkwardness that is involved. As I recall sex education for me in school it was integrated as well. I was unfortunate enough to be in a class with some of the most brash and most outspoken (and most slutty) girls in my school. I was petrified to ask any questions. And I was embarrassed as well. I would have benefitted greatly from separating the genders for this learning.

      I also recall that the learning was very limited. It seems today the curriculum in this area is greatly increased.

  3. I think the most important point on this is for the parents to have the right to decide what is best for their children. The government should not be able to force its view on their students.

    That said, abstinence-only is denial on a level like saying the earth is flat.
    I remember the 9th grade, being disgusted with my classmates who started dating 7th grade girls. They were deliberately taking advantage of the younger, nieve
    girls, who they could manupliate. So with that in mind, I feel if the student wants to participate, or ask questions, their rights to this should override their parents objections.

    When my mother had that talk with my brother and I, it was made clear that if we impregnated a girl, we would then be raising that child with its mother, if you take it out of your pants, you are responsible for the actions.

    • “When my mother had that talk with my brother and I, it was made clear that if we impregnated a girl, we would then be raising that child with its mother, if you take it out of your pants, you are responsible for the actions.”

      My Mammy and Pappy said the same thing to me, and I said the same to my boys.

      I also think that teaching kids abstinence as the only way is a pipe dream. It would be nice if you could, but I know from the experience of being a teen that you are nothing but a walking hormone machine. Some kind of guidance must be taught.

      Children very much need to be taught sex education at least by the 9th grade. Probably more like the 6th or 7th.

      The main thing that comes to my mind is that the Federal Government needs to stay out of the decision no matter what. It should be left to the School Districts or at least the State Education board. Also, to my mind the Gay AND Religious groups, or any other special interest groups should be kept out of the decision making. The only groups that need to be in this are Parents and School officials.

      • USWeapon says:

        Yes the walking hormone machine is an accurate way of putting it. I also wish we could have a world where abstinence was a feasible curriculum to teach alone. But the reality is far too dangerous to ignore.

        I think that you make a very important point for me that may have gotten lost there at the bottom of the comment. I also believe that the FEDERAL government should stay completely out of it. It is best handled at a local level where the parents involved are able to participate and help choose the path forward that works best in the community. I could be mistaken, but most of what I have read looks as though thus far the federal government has left this issue to the states. I would prefer it goes local school district only, and keep the states out of it. The curriculum needed is probably very different in San Francisco than it is in upstate California.

  4. Bama dad says:

    Well, being one of the older participants here, I have some fairly set views on this subject. I graduated from High School in 1971 and we had no sex education taught in school. My parents took their responsibility seriously and provided education to us children (4) on this subject. The main slant to parent taught sex ed was abstinence. We were also taught about birth control and STD’s but that the best prevention was always abstinence. In my personal life it worked well for me. When my wife and I had our own children (6), I was responsible for the sons and she the daughters. Again we covered birth control and STD’s with the main slant on abstinence. When my children were in school there was elective sex education and any of our children that wanted to attend, we allowed. Now it is my firm belief that the responsibility to teach our children about sex rest with the parents. Unfortunately in today’s society, the family unit is under siege and there are few fully functioning families out there. If there is no instruction at home, then something has to be taught at school to combat teen pregnancy and STD’s. We talk all the time about change on this blog. Well people if you want to make a long term change in this country, then gather you family together, teach your family correct principles, be a responsible parent and develop a close relationship with you children. If more citizens would do this, we would not have to rely on some stranger to teach our children the things that shape them into adults. I’ll climb off my soapbox now and let some of the more enlightened folks out there tear at what I said, because it is only my opinion.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      Bama – I completely agree with your approach and hope that I can do the same with my kids one day. Do you think the schools have a role here or no? I think they can/should but as an elective perhaps?

      • Bama dad says:

        From my post above:
        “If there is no instruction at home, then something has to be taught at school to combat teen pregnancy and STD’s.”

        Nothing is better than a concerned parent.

        • Kristian says:

          The only problem that I see with that is the fact that so many parents are allowing their children to be raised by the state that there are no concerned parents left. Instruction at home is the best but for those children who are receiving no instruction at home the schools are probably going to be their best bet and that is just sad. Ray is right though, it should be an elective, not mandatory curriculum.

          • Bama dad says:

            From my post above:

            “Now it is my firm belief that the responsibility to teach our children about sex rest with the parents. Unfortunately in today’s society, the family unit is under siege and there are few fully functioning families out there.”

            We as a country for too long have allowed others to indoctrinate our children on how society wants them to act. Parents need to shapeup and become responsible for the welfare of their children. Sorry soapbox again.

          • USWeapon says:

            Kristian,

            I think that there are a lot of parents who are responsible and involved. But unfortunately there are also far too many who are not. Hence why this has become an issue in the first place. My biggest concern is that knowing this type of curriculum is in the schools may make many parents feel as though it is no longer necessary for them to talk to their children about it. It gives them an easy out.

            • Kristian says:

              It’s kind of a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. That’s why I think that it should be an elective and not mandatory curriculum. I also think that the curriculum should be approved by the parents before it is presented to the student.

      • USWeapon says:

        Ray,

        I think in today’s society, the schools do have an important role here. I would feel differently if I was confident that all parents are taking the responsibility as seriously as Bama has. But unfortunately they are not doing so.

    • Alan F. says:

      Wasn’t going to pipe-up here but we tried abstinence without ignorance on our oldest daughters with mixed results. No pregnancies but also a hidden social agenda by the girls. Our younger pair we went with the protection-protection-protection and regardless of what’s involved, you have the final say as you will be the one living with it. They chose to tell us everything which as a dad was a little too much information at times.

  5. Bee in my Bonnet says:

    I am a health care worker in Infectious Diseases. Finally, a subject that I am well versed in! I also belong to a parent group that is trying to get healthier options into the school system because our current one is manipulative and misleading. We are science based and always challenge our politicians to speak from a position of science and not ideology. So far, they have failed.

    Those who think and say that abstinence-only sex education is a denial of reality haven’t taken a good look at the curriculums. This is not just about saying “no” and leaving them to their own devices. The good programs are quite comprehensive. Here are some of the subjects that are covered in a program called “Me, My World, My Future” written by Teen-Aid:

    • USWeapon says:

      That is interesting Bee. I want to be clear that I say that abstinence as the ONLY thing taught is living in a pipe dream. There are so many other things that are important. And the unfortunate thing is that these walking hormone machines are not all going to be abstinent. We need to be teaching about other forms of birth control as well for those that will not abstain.

  6. I would like to see it as I had learned. I first learned from Dad about the birds and the bees (and yes he said that LOL), then in middle school it was a couple weeks in health class and it covered STD’s, birth control, abstinance, teenage pregnancy (which there was a good movie that scared the crap out of the girls), and very little at all about the act of sex itself. That was 8th grade (about age 13), when puberty was starting to kick in, which was a good time to learn these things. Beyond that, anything else should be up to the parents to explain.

    G!

  7. Bee in my Bonnet says:

    Sorry, I sent the above (#6) without finishing my thoughts.

    Here are some of the subjects that are discussed in abstinence-only education:
    a) Valuing Self
    b) Physical Changes of Adolescence
    c) Human Reproduction
    d) Fetal Development
    e) The Family Unit
    f) Friendship and Dating
    g) Making Decisions
    h) Communication
    i) The Right To Know (STD’s)
    j) The Right To Know (HIV)
    k) The Right To Know (Teen Pregnancy)
    l) The Right To Say No
    m) The Right To Be Free

    Now, granted contraception education is not included but should it be? If schools are teaching about oral contraceptions, are they not obligated to teach everything about this medical product? For example, the WHO and the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) in 2005 have concluded that OC (Oral Contraceptives) are carcinogenic to humans. There associations of cardiocascular disease and OC, osteoporosis and OC, long term use of OC can increase cervical cancer x4 in women, and on and on. These studies are from reputable medical journals. If schools are going to teach about OC, then they are just as obligated to teach all the possible side effects? Are the teachers qualified? No! They are teachers, not physicians. What about the contraception Depo Provera? Well, it appears that Depo Provera increases the risk of acquiring chlamydia and gonorrhea x 3.5 (Journal of Sexually Transmitted diseases September 2004) as well as causing osteoporosis. There are similar warnings regarding Nonoxynol-9.

    Teen pregnancy may be down but the STI rates are horrendous. A recent study (CDC 2008) recently have found that 1/4 teens have an STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection). If you take out those teens who are not engaged in sexual activity, 40% of sexually active teens have an STI. This despite having a plethora of information on condom use. Look around, it’s everywhere. So what is going on? Either those teens who admit to using condoms are not telling the truth which means that their sex education is not working or the teens are using condoms and the condoms are not working which means that the sex education is not working. Whatever spin you put on it, current “comprehensive” sex education does not work. It sugar coats the information but does not give all the inforamtion.

    Kids are not told that condoms do not work for those STI’s transmitted skin to skin. This means herpes, HPV and syphillis. Is it any wonder that herpes occurs in 1/5 people over the age of 12 in the US? No, instead, teens are told to slap on a condom and they are good to go. Wrong!! The CDC is on record as saying that condom use cannot guarantee absolute protection against ANY STI and to avoid “transmission of STD’s is to abstain from sexual intercourse, or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner” Abstinence is the recommendation from the CDC! Teens do not hear any of this in their schools, unless they are getting an abstinence education.

    We are raising a generation of young people that have a poor long term health outcome. How sad!

    • Bama dad says:

      Bee
      I liked what I read about teen aid, but be prepared for some flak because right next to it was some stuff declaring this program was a right wing religious attempt to take over sex ed.

      • Bee in my Bonnet says:

        Our parent group has been accused of that from day one. It’s a pathetic attempt to render us irrelevant. We just keep supplying one peer reviewed article after another and challenge the gov’t to supply articles to refute us. They haven’t been able to so far.

    • Bee, I’m in healthcare as well, but not really dirrectly involved with the infectious stuff. I was looking into a healthcare issue that directly involves kids and came across this. It’s off subject, but maybe we parents need to be more educated about some things. What’s your input on this article, is it worth more time, or just a waste of time?

      http://www.rense.com/general62/inno.htm

      G!

      • Bee in my Bonnet says:

        I am not an anti-vaccine person. I work in an area where I have seen a significant decrease in childhood diseases such as pertussus (whooping cough) and meningitis due to vaccinations. The controversy lies, in my opinion, in the vaccine schedule (how many vaccines to give at a young age). In the US, infants under the age of one year get as many as 30 vaccinations. In Canada, the number is significantly less.

        Are there side effects from vaccines? Absolutely but we need to weigh the positive outcomes against the negative ones and I think the positive ones win hands down.

        The one vaccine I have serious reservations about is the HPV vaccine. There are more questions than answers about that one and the only scientific info is from the pharmaceutical company that will make billions of dollars from it. This is also the same company that had it’s sales reps hide the negative cardiovascular side effects of Vioxx that resulted in the deaths of thousands of people. They just paid $3.5 billion in lawsuits.

        • USWeapon says:

          Bee,

          The current thing being raised by some parents is the idea that autism is on the rise and that this is linked directly to the sheer amount of vaccinations given in the US. What are your thoughts on this? Are autism rates higher or lower or the same in Canada?

          • Bee in my Bonnet says:

            US,

            The rate in Canada is 1 in 165. The rate in the US is 1 in 150. Statistically, is this significant? Not sure. I do know that autism 20 years ago was 1 in 10,000. Something is going on but the science overwhelmingly says it is not vaccinations. I think that there is an enviromental factor going on as allergies are up as well.

  8. Wow I must have had a privileged existence. I was taught all about birth control by my dad and sexually transmitted diseases in `76 which was only 1 year after becoming sexually active which also coincided with my becoming very drug aware. That same crew I was hitting the pipe with also contained older girls (older than me at least) who put out and at the time I could think of nothing cooler. Oddly enough we didn’t drink and drug awareness(we’re not talking about usage here) didn’t even exist. Some kids were still kids but some of us were not and we were the one’s being sexually active. If my life had left me being a kid longer, I would never have started off so early and there’s the rub. Today everything around us is pushing kids into becoming adults before they’ve even gotten a handle on being a kid.

    • Bee in my Bonnet says:

      Alan F,

      You were lucky but the stats were with you as well. Back in the 60’s the chance of acquiring an STI was 1 in 36. In the 80’s, when we were active, it was 1 in 18. Now it is 1 in 4. I wouldn’t want to be a teen nowadays.

    • USWeapon says:

      Today everything around us is pushing kids into becoming adults before they’ve even gotten a handle on being a kid.

      And that is a big part of the issue. We have allowed children to reach the point where they are forced to make decisions that they simply are not mature enough to make yet. And that is the failure of today’s parents.

  9. I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s, and when I was in school, all the way from kindergarten to the 12th grade, we never had any sex ed classes, never even brought up. I learned about sex from my older sister, not my mother. That was a very taboo subject for her and she never discussed anything about that. For what I got from my dad was that my mother thought it was a wife’s duty whether she wanted to or not. He said they were lucky to even to have had us 3 kids. I guess even my own mother was never told about it from her mother. When I got married at the ripe ol age of 17, it took us 13 years before we had kids. We had a lot of problems, but ended up having 2 boys. Anyway, their father told them everything they needed to know. He felt it would be easier for them to hear it from him instead of coming from me. But, he told them when we felt it was time for them to know when they started asking questions about it. I’d say they were about 11 or 12 years old at the time. He didn’t leave anything out either, told them straight up. I think before they teach sex ed in school, they should send letters out to the parents first to make sure they are ok with it. I also think the parents should talk with their kids about sex and the consequences that it could have on them. Tell them about all the disease’s that they can get from having sex, not with just one partner, but from having several.Tell them about teen pregnancy, and the effects that could have. I don’t think telling them about abstinence will make any difference to some, but yet will have an effect on others. I remember a few years ago, in some high schools, they had these realistic dolls that acted like real babies, and they would send them home with girls, and boys to see how it would be to have a baby at such a young age. These dolls acted just like the real thing, They would cry at night, need a diaper change, needed to held, and needed to be fed. For what I understand, they did have a big impact on teenagers, and it made a lot of them abstain from having sex. I guess they don’t do that anymore, or at least I haven’t heard any more about. I think they should do that more that way teens would get a glimpse of what it would be like to have babies at such a young age.

  10. In a perfect world, parents would educate their children on this extremely personal subject. I intend to educate my kids myself. I have already begun, though my oldest is just 12.

    But we don’t have a perfect world. Schools should most definitely teach abstinence as the best option, but also kids need to know about STD’s, the consequences of pregnancy and prevention methods.

    When I was in 9th grade we had a sex ed class with the boys and girls both in the same room. It was incredibly embarrassing . . . that is not a good plan. They taught about STD’s pregnancy, and methods of prevention, but I don’t believe abstinence was ever mentioned, but my memory may be faulty. Mostly I remember the embarrasment of sitting there with the boys.

    There should always be an opportunity for parents or students to opt out of sex ed, or any other class. Control over a child’s education should always rest firmly with the parents.

    • Bee in my Bonnet says:

      Michelle,
      I’ve opted my kids out of sex edcuation and teach them myself. They are probably more knowledgable about this tuff than the teachers. I’ve challenged my 16 yr old to go to the class and respectfully challenge the teacher on some of the things being taught but she said that she wasn’t interested in hearing lies.

      I want to be clear that I don’t think the teachers are lying but are only teaching what they are being taught. Their knowledge on this stuff is limited.

    • Bee in my Bonnet says:

      Michelle,

      Interesting tidbit. The province of Alberta has just passed a law that supports the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 26(3):

      3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.
      This takes care of questionable sex education and the radical gay agenda in one fell swoop.

      Now I’m not a huge fan of the UN but I think this was an inventive way to address those who are trying to co-opt out childrens’ education.

  11. Black Flag says:

    My school’s sex education course was part of “Gym” – our “Gym” teacher held a class for the guys for a week.

    On Monday, he started the class with this….

    “Alright guys, anyone here not know how to get a girl pregnant?”

    NO hands went up.

    “GOOD! Ok, let’s go to football field!”

    —-

    The girls got movies, and books and instructor-lead classes for a week….

    —–

    I asked my Mom to get from the library the book “All you wanted to know about Sex, but was afraid to ask” (I was too young to get it on my own).

    I didn’t have many questions about sex after that book.

  12. I think that people need to start talking to kids about oral sex. I beginning to think that this is rated lower on the list, because people are getting led to believe it a no risk behavior. I went to a parent support group with a good friend of mine. It was a evening where parents were trying to agree on what should be taught to kids about sex. And I dont how many times I heard the statement of ” Well atleast oral sex is not as bad”. Are you kidding me? This are the people (parents &teachers) that are molding our kids minds on sexual behavior. Scary stuff. They a professional in the field that know the correct facts.

    • Ellen, I’ve also heard and read that a lot kids now think this way as well (legacy of that past president?) and my sister, who has two middle school age girls that are still open and ask questions have shared some stories of their classmates that would make your skin crawl. It’s considered “in”, not sex and totally acceptable at this 7th, 8th grade age.

      • Kristian says:

        I’ve heard this as well. To them it’s no different than kissing. I first found out about this practice when my oldest was 13. It made me angry but it scared me too so she and I sat down and talked about it. She knew after that talk that it is sex and believe it or not that put her off of it. I was grateful for that.

    • USWeapon says:

      Excellent point Ellen. This is a big issue in today’s society. Too many kids don’t see oral sex as the same as sex. And they are right, instead of getting sores where you could hide them, they end up with them on their face!

  13. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    I firmly believe that all sex education classes should be taught by Barney Frank wearing no shirt and short-shorts and Nancy Pelosi wearing a micro-mini skirt and a very low cut top. All of our teenagers would be so mortified it would take them 10-15 years to recover enough from the mental scarring to even consider having sex!

  14. Bee in my Bonnet says:

    We also need to address the psychological ramifications of sex at an early age. The American Journal of Preventative Medicine concluded that teens engaging in risk behaviors are at increased odds for depression, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. Their recommendations was that any involvement in any sex is cause for concern and should be a clinical indication for mental health screening for girls.

    • USWeapon says:

      Another excellent point Bee. Again I point out that the reality is that teenagers are not mentally ready for sex decisions. So what is the answer to this dilemma in your opinion? Mandatory counseling as well?

      • Bee in my Bonnet says:

        Well, in my Utopia, I would give the kids back their childhood, but unfortunately, what has been done cannot be undone. I would like to see responsible parents taking this subject on at home. If it must be taught at the schools, then teach that sex is an adult activity and make the kids aware that most kids are not “doing it.” Tell them the truth about condoms and contraceptives. Pros and cons.

        My biggest concern is that the teen brain is not wired to make the proper decisions for their well-being. We can give them all the info possible but many will choose what is exciting and what feels good because that is what they are wired to do. The area of the brain that enables them to make mature decisions is not fully developed until they are in their 20’s.

  15. Dad’s Sex Talk – “Keep your skirt down and your panties up and you’ll be fine…now go feed the horses”

    Mom’s Sex Talk – “Well when you get married you just have to put up with your husbands needs”

    Needless to say, neither one was very informative or helpful in the 70’s.

    I think Sex Ed should be taught in the schools by someone who has been trained specifically for the subject. Parents should be able to opt out of their childrens attendance if thats what they want. Its far to important of a subject to just ignore and let kids figure it out on their own. All aspects should be taught…STD’s, Birth Control Methods and their associated risks and abstinenace should all be part of the class.

    • Bama dad says:

      Wow! My wife’s mother and your mother must have had the same manual to teach from.

    • Bee in my Bonnet says:

      “I think Sex Ed should be taught in the schools by someone who has been trained specifically for the subject.”

      The big question is who is qualified? Planned Parenthood? Keep those people away from my children! A Canadian website by Planned Parenthood gives a step by step on such practices such as fisting, phone/cyber sex and sex toys and this is a website for teens! It also tells children as young as 12 that they can consent to sex as long as their partner is 2 yrs older than them or less. This website is provided by our provincial govt to schools as a resource for the teens. Unbelievable!

      Planned parenthood helped develop the health curriculum in Manitoba.

      • I was thinking more along the lines of a nurse or doctor of some kind. Preferably someone with experience in adolescent psychology or something similar. This course should also be reviewed by the parents PRIOR to the class being held.

        Planned Parenthood has never been a great source for info, it seems to me they are more of a “how to” site than information on the pros and cons of sex.

      • Planned Parenthood is a scary organization. It’s name sounds great, seems common sense, but it’s one of those groups that the more you look into it, the worse it gets.

  16. I was thinking about this while I was out mowing the lawn. The problem isn’t that people disagree about how to teach kids about sex, the problem is that everybody, from the religious right to the permissive left and all the moderates in between, want to force everybody else to do it their way. If LOCAL schools could decide how they want to teach it or whether they want to teach sex ed at all, then send a letter home explaining their goals and materials and methods to parents and encouraging parents to do their part as well, then parents who disagree can opt their kids out or supplement with more information, depending.

    The great temptation of humanity is to want to force others to believe and act the way we do, what we percieve as the “right” way.

    • Bee in my Bonnet says:

      I agree. The great thing about the Teen-Aid curriculum is that a “Parent-gram” is sent home to the parents at the beginning of each section so that the conversation is ongoing at home. I totally agree with opt out portion. The optimum source for this info is the parent but I think many parents are intimidated by the information and the subject and are more than willing to allow someone else to do it for them.

  17. JudyS.NV. says:

    I’ve been thinking since my last post, and was wondering if the sex talk and education really works at all. To me, it’s like the D.A.R.E. program to keep kids off drugs. It might work for some, but not others. I mean, if they’re going to do either one, no matter how much talk there is, won’t matter anyway. When my oldest son was in 6th grade, he had the D.A.R.E. program, and by the time he was in the 9th grade, he was using drugs.I don’t know if he hung out with the wrong group of kids at the time, or if he would have used them anyway. We had a bad bout with him for about 2 years there, with stealing money from his dad, being a real smart ass, and didn’t give a damn about anyone or anything else. Then when he was 17-18, he and his best friend, just up and quit using. When we asked what happened, they said they were tired of doing all that.They did a lot of stupid stuff at the time, and they said it was time they grew up, which they did. They have been friends for over 10 years now. My son’s best friend is now married, in the army,works in communications and doing extremely well. Our son is also in the army, was married, divorced now, is doing extremely well too. In fact he is the ammo manager for the state of Nevada for the national guard. I guess what I’m trying to say is, if they are determined to have sex, they’re going to have it, no matter what they were told. Today, there is so much peer pressure on girls especially the younger ones. But I noticed too, that with some of these girls, you can’t tell if they’re 12 years old, or 18, what, with all the make-up they wear, the clothes they wear, trying to be or act older than they are. I think too, that the Hollywood trend has a lot to do with it too, with all the sex in movies, on TV, and in ads. Did anyone see the billboard ad for jeans from Calvin Klein? You see that, and no wonder, it looked like a 3-way orgy going on, with the girl laying in between 2 guys, while there was another one getting ready to undo his pants. Parents should be the first and foremost ones to tell their kids about sex. If schools are going to teach it, at least separate the boys and girls so there will be no embarrassment about it.

    • Bama dad says:

      Judy
      All you can do is teach correct principles as you see them. Sometimes children do their own thing but if they have a good base on which to make decisions usually they come around to the proper choices. Sounds like your child did that.

      • JudyS.NV. says:

        Thank you Bama Dad, I guess we were lucky he turned around and decided to do the right thing. Here is another example of drug and alcohol use. It’s my own nephew. He’s been in and out of rehabilitation places since he was 16 years old, he’s now 40. He does good for about 3 to 6 months, then he falls off the wagon. He was using heroine for a while there, shooting it between his toes so no body could see the needle marks. He’s been drinking since he was 16 or earlier, stole from his mom, took things from us and hocked them for money to get his fix, wrecked his mom’s car, been in and out of jail as well, and he always says he’s going to stop. But he doesn’t.He has 2 kids from a previous marriage, that ended really bad. His own son, who just turned 18 last month is also a drug user. He just gout out of a rehabilitation place a couple weeks ago, my nephews daughter who is 17 was also a drug user but not very much into it, has actually stopped on her own. Anyway, what I guess I’m saying, some will quit, but some will keep it up like my nephew. But the drug and alcohol problem runs in my family from my mom’s side of the family. My own sister was a heavy drinker in her younger years, now can’t stand the taste of it, she quit smoking 9 years ago as well.My mother had a an older sister when she was younger, who at the age of 15 committed suicide because she was pregnant and didn’t know how to tell her parents.Her father used to beat her older sister all the time because she had a boyfriend and that wasn’t allowed back in the 20’s. When he found out they were having sex, he threatened to kill her and her boyfriend, so when she found out she was pregnant, her and her boyfriend killed themselves instead of facing their parents. They would rather have died together than face both sets of parents. My guess is, they didn’t have sex education back then. That was a taboo subject then, and to some still is today, like with my own mother who never talked to me about anything is the sex area. I learned from my sister what I needed to know, and from my own experience.

  18. USW, I am going to try and be a little less outright and a little more objective – I said TRY – about this than I was on the first part.

    So here goes . . .

    Having grown up in the `40’s and `50’s and now being a grandparent, I have to say that teaching abstinence only is the most dangerous route other than not saying anything at all.

    Children will experiment with sex. Wether you tell them about it or not, they will experiment with sex. However, just telling them about STD’s and birth control methods is folly in my opinion.

    What is needed is a comprehensive method for PARENTS (not schools – learning about sex in school only increases the peer pressure levels) to teach their children about their own sex organs and how they are supposed to be used and what they are used for, along with what to expect when one goes through puberty(I know just how confusing that event in life can actually be for some people) – aka the hormone dump.

    Alternative sexual lifestyles – IMO – should not be taught in the school system until one is at least a junior in high school, even then the students maturity level may not be able to handle it(remember that we humans are all different, we mature at different rates and levels according to our DNA makeup). Teaching children at an early grade school level (K-6th grade)about alternative sexual lifestyles is akin to child molestation in my opinion – That sort of thing just isn’t within their comprehension level of understanding yet.

    I was exposed to human sexuality at a very early age – at least I think it was – and I learned about alternative sexuality at about the same time and very quickly came to the conclusion that anyone who wanted to do THAT had to be just plain stupid (well, what else do you think a six year old would think?), and my opinion really hasn’t changed that much in the many years since then.

    I admit I learned about sex “out behind the barn” so to speak. Me along with countless billions of other people throughout the entire length of human history. Sex education just wasn’t taught in school, with the exception of feminine hygiene films for the girls in junior high (yours truly here was one of the school projector operators and that is how I know about that). I had an older sister and a younger sister and had to suffer through their shock of puberty – something my older brothers did not have to suffer since I was closer in age to both the girls than any of them were. So now you all know why I have the opinion of parents teaching children about their respective sex organs and what they should be used for. Neither of my sisters knew anything about what was to happen when they reached puberty – and both of them reached that point in life before age ten(the younger one at eight, the older one just before her tenth birthday). I know that many of you will think that is a very young age for that to happen, but that is just life happening – we humans are all different and we mature physically and mentally at different rates than each other.

    It is my personal opinion that PARENTS – wether single or not – should teach their children about sex and not the schools. The education system can provide the parents with the appropriate materials with which the parents can accomplish that task. Putting a bunch of kids in a classroom and teaching all of them about sex only causes those in the classroom to interact with one another and that causes the peer pressure level to increase tenfold, whereas should that subject be taught in the home by the child’s own parents perhaps the level of peer pressure would not be so great – and the byproduct could be a better respect of the parents by the children (as anyone with teenagers knows that would be a great help).

    Anyhow . . . There is my two-cents worth.

    • USWeapon says:

      I agree that parents should be the ones teaching this GA. Unfortunately there are too many parents who don’t seem up to the task.

  19. Judy S. says:

    When I was 9 years old, I had the shock of my life when I had my first period, I had no idea what was happening to me, because my own mother never prepared me for that. I remember I was in the girls bathroom at school when I discovered I had blood all over my dress, didn’t have a clue. I was scared to death what was happening, I thought I was dying or something. When I got home from school that day, my sister was there and I told her what happened, and she explained to me what was going on with me. My mother never told me what sex was like, or how it felt, nothing. I learned from an early age myself what sex was like. I was 13 years old the first time I had sex. Guess I was lucky and didn’t get pregnant then. I really didn’t think I was doing anything wrong then, but I sure did know as I got older. I think being a teenager has got to be one of the hardest things in life to go through, especially now.

    • USWeapon says:

      Judy,

      Interesting that you feel that being a teenager now is tougher than it was for our generations. I agree whole heartedly. The peer pressure is extremely high these days and the role models that these teen girls look up to are people like Paris, Lindsey, Britney, and the like.

  20. Amazed1 says:

    I was wondering if peer pressure and the fact you had to tote a child around on your hip to school functions that prevented unwanted pregnancies and std’d when I was growing up. There was no place to go get an abortion that know one knew about. There were no birth control pills you could get without mom and dad agreeing to it. It was not accepted socially to be pregnant and unmarried. After my brother’s had Dad’s sex education and his firm warning that that unless they had full intention of marring the young woman they better keep it in their pants….because he would make sure that his boys held up to their responsibility. Then my Mom gave me her sex ed class and told me unless I wanted to spend my days taking care of a child and not going anywhere or doing anything without that child then I had better keep my skirt pulled down. She also inform me she would not sign any papers allowing me to marry before the age of 18 so I would be doing this by myself. Her idea was I had already made one mistake and she wasn’t being party to me making another (marriage). Trust me it worked.
    There was only 1 teenage pregancy in the 4 years I was in high school and that young lady had been in a four year relationship with the same youmng man, was 3 months from graduation and did marry the man while we were still in school. Maybe unacceptable social behavior works after all.

  21. Judy S. says:

    I think that back in the day, what ever day that may have been for some here, not to mention myself, that parents never thought about discussing sex with their kids, I know mine didn’t, probably thought it too embarrassing a subject to talk about. Probably explains why some girls suddenly went away, then came back after a few months, but never really knowing why, unless they said why. Just look at the TV shows back then. You didn’t see Lucy and Ricky in the same bed, but yet she became pregnant, taboo word for TV then too. In fact, you never saw any married couple in the same bed then. With all the wholesome TV shows on bank then, I’m sure that was the last thing on parents mind, was to talk to their kids about sex. TV shows had the perfect families, and maybe in real life, people wanted that kind of life too. My aunt, my dad’s younger sister was 19 when she had to get married because she was pregnant, and that was in the 40’s, not heard of then. But her parents, my grandparents told them they will not accept a bastard child in the family if they didn’t get married. They’ve been together since. Guess it worked out for them. Guess my grandmother didn’t tell her about sex then.

  22. Hey, where did everybody go? Hello!

    • Guess all this sex talk just plum wore everyone out !!

    • USWeapon says:

      LOL… It is funny that I get pumped up on the days there is a lot of conversation and then I feel like my article must not have been good when the comments are down. The agony of writing a blog. LOL

  23. Sorry to see that no one else came back on. Hope to be able to chat with you all tomorrow. Have a pleasant evening and tomorrow. Take care every one.

    With regards to all

    Judy

  24. BuckeyeDad says:

    Abstinence works perfectly. I know from experience. Now I am the husband of a beatiful lady who also firmly believes in abstinence and I am the father of 3 beautiful young children. I think that the big problem with the success of teaching abstinence is that parents do not view pre-marital sex as a immoral and therefore do not instill in their children the same aversion towards it as say lying or cheating. Parents also rationalize that teaching abstince is naive, because kids are “going to have sex anyway” and “everyone else is having sex”. Maybe I am naive because I believe that it is possible to abstain until marriage, but it takes absolute commitment from the parents. In my case (and my wife’s also) this commitment was reinforced by my church and Christian school and my close childhood friends who were of a like mind. Once cemented in my heart and mind, this commitment carried me through 1.5 years of college and 4 years in the USMC after which I married. And for those of you who are wandering, it is almost impossible for a Marine of at least average looks and intelligence and some social skills not to be able to “hook up” with ease. I did not receive any sexual education from my parents(one area where I think that my Dad failed a little in his responsibility) or school beyond the precept that premarital sex is wrong. I still firmly believe this and I think that all the social, psychological, and physical problems associated with teen sex back this up. All that being said, it is a parents responsiblity to teach their children about sex; not the State’s. If a parent fails to teach their child they may suffer the consequences. School should only teach human reproduction and STDs as part of biology.

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