Sex education is a process that begins at birth and continues until the day you die. It is a process of building a strong foundation for sexual health. There are many misunderstandings and non-factual opinions that go along with this topic even though it is constantly discussed. It includes sexual development, reproduction, intimacy, gender roles and relationships.
Sexual education should begin at home. Parents and guardians ought to be the primary instructors of sex education for their children. Daily, parents should take advantage of every opportunity to teach this subject to their children. From the beginning of a child’s life, they learn how to respond to affection, show love, and how to react in different types of relationships. Children even learn about their sexuality when their parents speak to them, change their clothes, play with them or teach them their body parts. As they progress from children to teenagers or adolescents they continue to learn about their sexualities consistently. However, some parents and guardians are very uncomfortable about talking about or providing information about sex or sexual education. They are either too embarrassed about talking about the extreme topic of sex, afraid of providing to much information to push their children to act on what they have told them or shy of not knowing the answers to the questions that their children might ask. Honest, open communication between parents and children through childhood, pre-teen, adolescent and young adulthood can help young people to mature into sexually healthy adults. Research has shown that parents and children have a range of discomfort levels when it comes to discussing sexuality.
School-based sexuality education complements and supplements the sexuality education children receive from their families, religious and community groups. Therefore, due to the necessity of school-based sexuality education it is in my opinion that it be a part of the curriculum for students in the Bahamian High Schools that is junior and senior high. This course needs to be taught in the various high schools for a number of reasons including: to students to build a strong foundation, to decrease teenage pregnancy, to make students aware of Sexually Transmitted diseases and prevent them from occurring, to teach about abstinence, which is the better way and to inform the students about sexual orientation and homosexuality.
The primary goal of sex education in the schools should be to help young people to build a foundation as they mature into sexually healthy adults. These programs should assist young people in understanding a positive view of sexuality, provide them with information and skills about taking care of their sexual health and help them make decisions about solving problems now and in the future. According to my interpretation, sex education should provide an opportunity for young people to develop and understand their values, attitudes, and beliefs about sexuality. This course should help young people to develop relationships and interpersonal skills and help them to exercise responsibility regarding sexual relationships including addressing abstinence, pressures to become prematurely involved in sexual intercourse and the use of contraception and other sexual health measures.
Teenage Pregnancy is very rampant in today’s society. In a conversation with a senior high school teacher, she related that at least two young ladies from each senior class graduates being pregnant. She went on to say that this did not include the numerous others who end their classes prematurely as a result of their pregnant state and their inability to continue with regular schooling. What do you think is the cause of this? In my opinion the cause of pregnancies among these teenagers is incorrect education about sex from peers or neighbors or no sex education at all. If these students were educated from their entrance into the high school program with a sexual education class, the outcome might have been different. This does not mean that they would not have experimented with sexual intercourse or the opposite sex, it would have meant that they would have been better prepared to deal with the decisions or choices that they made. Sex education needs to be implemented in the high school coursework to make teenagers or pre-teens aware of the consequences of unprotected sex. Each of these teens or preteens will or have gone through puberty, therefore they need to be very well educated as to what can occur if they are sexually active, even for just one time. Sexual education would not stop teenage pregnancies but it indeed reduces them.
Homosexuality is another topic that sexuality education will discuss. Teenagers come into contact with homosexuals on a day to day basis. They are forced to deal with homosexuality in their homes, their neighborhoods, their churches and even in their schools. These students are in their teen or adolescent years where they are learning about who they are and what their feelings mean. In my opinion, homosexuality is a misunderstanding, one that can be easily adopted by teenagers who are easily misunderstood. If they are not taught about both heterosexuality and homosexuality, they can easily fall prey to the homosexuals who are lurking in the society’s shadows. Sexual education would encourage heterosexuality- healthy relationships between males and females. It would teach students about sexual preference and that homosexuality is not hereditary. It would also help students to deal with feelings toward the same sex and with homosexuals that they come in contact with.
Some may say that if teenagers are taught about sex and sexuality that their interest in it will intensify thus, resulting in experimentation. Although this might indeed be a true statement that teenagers are very curious, “curious minds will experiment.” Sexuality education is not an either or proposition. The reality is that young people need and deserve information about abstinence and contraception. Sex education would teach that sexuality is a natural, normal part of life. Abstinence from sexual intercourse is the most effective method of preventing unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.
Abstinence is in fact the better way. Adolescent or pre-teens should be encouraged by not only their parents to delay sexual acts until they are physically, cognitively and emotionally ready for mature sexual relationships and their consequences. The coursework of sex education would offer them a wide range of information exclusively on abstinence until marriage. Interventions that are effective in encouraging teenagers to postpone sexual intercourse helps them to develop interpersonal skills they need to resist premature sexual involvement. For interventions to be most effective, teenagers need to be exposed to these programs before they initiate intercourse, preferably during their high school years.
The sex education curriculum when implemented into the high school system will be designed to promote knowledge about human development and reproduction, to make students aware of the consequences of all types of sexual activity, and to promote young people’s respect for and appreciation of themselves, their families and others. This implementation would in fact help to reduce teenage pregnancy, for the reason that important topics such as puberty, sexual health and hygiene, reproductive systems, pregnancy and contraception will be focused on. These topics will discuss abstinence, condom use, diversity, pregnancy options, safer sex and sexual behavior. Students have to be encouraged to accept the shared responsibility of pregnancy prevention by teachers explaining the consequences of premature and unprotected sexual activity, urging responsible decisions about sexual intercourse, and encouraging healthy, respectful and safe male and female relationships.
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