Sample Education Paper on Comprehensive Sex Education vs. Abstinence Programs

Comprehensive sex education

  • Provides some answers to students about the challenges they face when growing up, especially with their changing bodies.
  • Comprehensive sex education not only aims at curbing the rising rates of teen pregnancy but also delaying the age at which young people begin having sex.
  • Comprehensive sex education considers everyone’s perception of sex education.
  • Comprehensive sex education aims at empowering the youths and not judging them if they fail to abstain.
  • Comprehensive sex education is realistic in that it recognizes some young people will engage in sex.

Abstinence programs

  • Abstinence only until marriage only aims at scaring students not to have sex till marriage.
  • Driven by religion and fails to acknowledge that sex among young people is rampant.
  • Denies youths information about different types of sexuality and advice on how to cope with their sexuality.
  • It emphasizes so much on abstinence which can lead students to experiment on that which they are being told to abstain from.
  • It has failed to achieve its goals of zero students engaging in sex before marriage.

Introduction

Comprehensive sex education is a program created to be taught to students in order to reduce teen pregnancy rates, sexually transmitted diseases, and other effects that might arise as a result of engaging in sex. Proponents of comprehensive sex education believe that it is important to teach children about their sexuality, sex, and the implications of having both protected and unprotected sex. On the other hand, proponents of abstinence only until marriage program believe that it is morally wrong for young people to engage in sex. The program aims at teaching students the importance of abstinence until marriage and the consequences that might arise if they decided to engage in early sex. The two programs are at two ends of a spectrum, and this is why there is much debate on which of the two should be implemented into the school curriculum. Both comprehensive sex education and abstinence until marriage program aim at addressing the issue of teen sex and pregnancy, but the comprehensive sex education is effective since it equips students with the information they need to have about sex, their body, sexually transmitted diseases, and pregnancy.

In my opinion, the debate about the two programs should cease since the competition between the two is confusing the students more than it is helping them. The debate is developed and sustained by individuals who believe that their morals and values are better than their challengers, and they have forgotten to involve the students. The role of these programs is to help students to either have responsible sex or abstain until they get married, yet the proponents of each of the programs have not taken an interest in developing safe places where students can share their opinions about the programs. Therefore, since the programs are meant to help students, it would only be fair to look at the underlying reasons for students to engage in early sex rather than debating on which among the two should be adopted into the school curriculum.

If I were to pick a side, I would pick the comprehensive sex education program since I believe it provides some answers to students about the challenges they face when growing up, especially with their changing bodies. One of the provisions of comprehensive sex education is that the students get to be taught about their bodies and the changes they are experiencing (Malone & Rodriguez, 2011). Teenagehood can be an interesting as well as a scary phase for many young people; thus, parents and teachers should take time to explain to students about the changes they are experiencing and how to deal with the hormonal imbalance. Comprehensive sex education identifies that children at this age will be curious not only to learn about their bodies but also experiment, hence it offers a platform where students cannot only learn but also ask questions about their changing bodies.

I believe that abstinence only until marriage only aims at scaring students not to have sex till marriage and do not explain to these students that the changes they are experiencing in their bodies are part of growth. The abstinence only until marriage program aims at ensuring that students do not engage in sexual activities since sex is an activity that should only be practiced by married people (Hayes, 2010). I am not a proponent for early sex, but I believe that young people should be provided with enough education about the issue so that if they find themselves in a predicament, they would know what to do. Abstinence only until marriage seems like a scare tactic, which might have more consequences than achievements.

I believe that comprehensive sex education not only aims at curbing the rising rates of teen pregnancy but also delaying the age at which young people begin having sex. I believe in empowerment rather than employing scare tactics such as those provided by the abstinence only until marriage program. Comprehensive sex education complements the education that young people receive from their parents as well as other members of the community. The information provided in the program covers not only abstinence but also a reproductive choice, bisexual, gay, transgender (LGBT), contraception, and emergency contraception (Malone & Rodriguez, 2011). In my opinion, students who partake in a comprehensive sex education program are better equipped to face any sexual challenge that they may face as opposed to those who have been taught about abstinence only until marriage.

A section of 510 (b) in Title V of the Social Security Act, referred to as “A-H” outlines eight guidelines that should be followed when teaching students under the abstinence only until marriage guidelines and I believe that the guidelines showcase the rigidity of the people who endorse them. One of the guidelines states that students should be taught about the psychological, social, and health gains that they will achieve by abstaining (Malone & Rodriguez, 2011). While I believe it is good to teach students about the value of abstinence, I also would want young people to know what measures to take if anything such as rape happens. Another guideline is that teachers should teach students that abstinence is the only assured way of not contracting sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, and other health problems that might arise as a result of sex. My question here is, what happens when either these young people are unable to control themselves or anything bad happens to them, such as rape? Will they know what to do? I think that while this program aims to ensure that young people maintain their innocence until marriage, it deprives them of important education that they might need in case of an emergency.

Unlike the abstinence only until marriage program, comprehensive sex education considers other community members’ perception of sex education. The Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education from the sexuality Information and Education Council (SIECUS) indicates that individuals who are provided with the education should be of developmental level, have attained the appropriate age, and that the education should consider the cultural background of the students (Malone & Rodriguez, 2011). From the above guidelines, I believe that comprehensive sex education does go to the extent of acknowledging that people come from different backgrounds and asks that those utilizing this program be willing to respect the wishes of those students who do not want to participate in the program. The program is not based on religion, as is the case with abstinence until marriage program but on the understanding that there is a problem in the community affecting young people that need to be solved.

I also believe that comprehensive sex education has been able to achieve its goals while abstinence only until marriage has failed. The number of young people engaging in early sex has declined, and so has early teen pregnancies. Many young people, especially the school going students, have delayed having sexual intercourse until later in life. Moreover, sexually active youths are equipped with information about safe sex and contraceptives, thus reducing sexually transmitted diseases as well as teen pregnancy (Phan & Spickard, 2018). I believe that the information offered in comprehensive sex education program has empowered young people to take control of their sex life. The comprehensive sex education does not aim at showing youths how to have sex without consequences, but it offers them information both about the importance of abstinence and how they can protect themselves from some of the consequences of early sex. The program is designed to serve both as a preventive and protective measure. Unlike the abstinence only until marriage program, it showcases that there are chances that some of these young people will not be able to control themselves and instead of condemning them, the program offers them solutions.

I believe that the abstinence only until marriage has failed to achieve its goals. The program is so archaic in its approach that it has failed to consider all the other factors that might lead youths to have sex. One of the reasons why young people have sex at a young age is peer pressure, the abstinence only until marriage program does not put into consideration that these young people are developing into young adults and with the advancement of technology, they are exposed to so much information that makes them curious (Stanger-Hall & Hall, 2011). There are no tangible results to indicate that individuals who do not contract sexually transmitted diseases or do not get pregnant at a young age are necessarily not having sex. On the other hand, studies have indicated that sexually active young people are now equipped with the information that they would need to protect themselves in the process (Phan & Spickard, 2018). Therefore, the abstinence only until marriage program does not meet their goals and proponents should be advised not to assume that their children will abstain from sex simply because it is the only way to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

I believe that comprehensive sex education is the appropriate program to help young people acquire information that will help them to protect themselves from teen pregnancy as well as sexually transmitted diseases. The program teaches the children about the importance of abstinence but also goes a step further to educate young people about what they can do in case they are unable to abstain. In my opinion, the abstinence only until marriage program fails to acknowledge the fact that sometimes, these young people cannot control their hormones and fails to equip them with crucial information about protecting themselves and having a healthy sexual life. In addition, I believe that while the abstinence only until marriage program is a good program to impact morals in young people, it shies away from the reality that young people are having sex, and they need to be equipped with information on how to practice safe sex.

References

Hayes, A. (2010, February 2). Study: Abstinence program most effective at delaying sex among

            youths. CNN. Retrieved from <http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/02/02/abstinence.study/index.html>.

Malone, P. & Rodriguez, M. (2011, April 1). Comprehensive sex education vs. abstinence only until marriage program. American Bar Association. Retrieved from <https://www.americanbar.org/groups/crsj/publications/human_rights_magazine_home/human_rights_vol38_2011/human_rights_spring2011/comprehensive_sex_education_vs_abstinence_only_until_marriage_programs/>.

Stanger-Hall, K. F., & Hall, D. W. (2011).Abstinence-only education and teen pregnancy

            rates: Why we need comprehensive sex education in the U.S. Indiana University. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3194801/.

Phan, A., &Spickard, M. (2018). Comprehensive Sex Education vs. Abstinence-Only Sex Education In Preventing Teen Pregnancy.