Ditch abstinence-only education, teach students safe sex
Indiana has a few laws that are not up to date with modern standards. One of these laws deals with sex education.
The law mandates that educators must teach abstinence-only sex education.
Instead of teaching students how to be safe when they have sex, health educators tell them not to have it at all.
“While abstinence truly is the only way of avoiding unwanted pregnancy and potential STIs, this law is not practical or proactive,” said Sara Kinder, counselor in the Franklin College Heath Center.
People are going to have sex. That’s a fact of life.
Telling students to just not do it won’t stop them. If they really want to do it, they will.
That’s why Indiana legislators must update the state’s sex education law away from abstinence-only. By not teaching students about sex in a responsible and realistic way, they will look to other places to learn about sex.
This often leads students to look at pornography as a teaching tool.
“The dangers of learning about sex from porn include porn showing an unrealistic idea of what sex really looks like,” Kinder said. “Porn most often does not show any forms of protection being used. There is no emphasis on consent in most porn, and porn usually carries themes of dominating and disrespecting women—among many other negative aspects,” Kinder said.
In short, porn doesn’t teach students that they could get pregnant or get an STD. It doesn’t even show an accurate representation of how to have sex.
Porn doesn’t teach people anything about safe sex. This could lead to a plethora of issues, including unclear definitions of consent that follow them to college and beyond.
Safe sex education must include consent. If people aren’t taught about consent, then they could end up in a situation where they feel pressured to have sex because they don’t realize they can say ‘no.’
The college’s Sexual Violence Prevention and Programming group hosted an event earlier this semester called Cookies, Condoms and Consent.
The event featured several exhibits that taught students safe sex habits, like how to put on a condom and what consent means.
Some students were learning this information for the first time. That’s a problem.
Students shouldn’t be learning about safe sex for the first time in college when the average male loses his virginity at age 16 and the average female loses their virginity at 17, according to 2016 research from The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction.
If people are having sex at 16 and 17, then students need to learn about safe sex in high school. The curriculum for health classes needs to change and adapt to today’s world.
Indiana’s law must to change to be safe-sex education.
Instead of leaving it up to students to find a sex education on the internet, schools should start teaching it.
“Sexuality is a part of life and should be explored in a safe and healthy way when one feels ready to do so,” Kinder said. “There should be educational pieces in place that actually focus on sex and not just abstinence to help assist in this.”
THE OPINION BOARD
The Franklin staff believes Indiana’s sex education law, which requires educators to teach abstinence-only sex education, is outdated and needs to be changed to include safe sex practices.