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MAIN Arrow to Society Society Arrow to Sex Sex Arrow to Sex Education Sex Education

Are parents ever comfortable discussing sex with their kids?

There was a time in the not too-distant past when parents sat down to a "birds and the bees" discussion as the ultimate in explaining sex to curious children.

Then as now, parents felt uncomfortable participating in a straightforward discussion on the topic when sex education was first introduced in public schools in the 1950's. The result was a conservative outcry predicting a collapse of social morals, and an increase in sexual activity among teens if introduced to sex education at so early an age.

Then came the sexual revolution of the 1960's, when sex was used to sell everything from cars to perfume, drenching young minds with imagery that left them even more confused about what sex meant in the real world. Two decades later, an AIDS epidemic swept the world, sending up more alarms about how much harm teens and youngsters might suffer from what they didn't know about HIV, and other sexually transmitted diseases.

sex 101Today, schools are considered the front line in teaching accurate facts and information on sex to children and teens. At the same time, it also offers them an opportunity to get answers to questions they might not want to ask at home.

Almost 60 years since sex education was first introduced into classrooms, more than 90% of all public high schools in the US offer a curriculum on sex education in some form. As a result, sex education debates no longer center around if it should be introduced in the classroom, but how it should be taught.


Just Say No?

As the current media continues to focus on the antics of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Britney Spears, teens and tweens are exposed daily to images of Hollywood stars and role models engaging in sexual promiscuity, and pregnancy without marriage. This is the reason why some proponents favor more focus on moral principles, celibacy or abstinence from sex altogether before marriage.

Sex education debates no longer center around if it should be
introduced in the classroom,
but how it should be taught.

With the continued rise in numbers of teen pregnancies in recent years, however, other experts stress more blunt sex education as a practical deterrent, such as stark comparisons between sex and parenthood in the real world with that experienced by the rich-and-famous, who have access to topnotch private medical care and who can easily afford nannies.

Meanwhile, schools are pushing back - by trying to encourage more parents to take part in the curriculum - or even by promoting age-appropriate sex education for toddlers so that a conversation can go beyond "the birds and the bees" once kids reach their teens.


The future of sex education

To stem the rise in teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, even more debate rages today in connection to the advocating of government and school-sponsored distribution of condoms, the pill, and other forms of contraception or birth control for sexually aware high schoolers.

As government funding increases for sex education and community programs for teens, federal support is likely to encompass a comprehensive approach aimed at fostering safe sex based on abstinence, protection and prevention, along with encouraging increased involvement by parents in their own child's sexual health and education.

also see -> Gay Teens | Gays & Lesbians | History of Sex

Same Sex Marriage | Teen Pregnancy | Teens & Sex


More about sex education around the Web:

 

Sex education - Wikipedia - Extensive overview explaining the historical background, controversies and current polices of public school sex education in European countries, Africa, Asia and the US, with related references and resources.

Public Schools and Sex Education - Information and statistics on current issues regarding sex education in US public schools with related references and resources.

Talking About Sex with Teens - Comprehensive resources on the topic including what to say to sons and daughters, teen pregnancy, sex and drug abuse, how to understand and show support for gay teens, plus expert tips and advice for specific questions posed by parents, with related polls, statistics, and other resources.

How to Talk with Your Children About Sex & Sexuality - Planned Parenthood guide with suggested conversation starters, age-appropriate topics, and related resources.

Berkeley Parents Network - Talking to Kids About Sex - Active parent discussions on appropriate topics to discuss with kids, from toddlers to teens, with suggested reading.

 

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