If you learned anything about sex education in school at all, it was likely an awkward lesson or two about pregnancy prevention and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Many people never even received that much information. That may explain why so many adults know so little about sex and learn through trial and error much later in life.
June is Adult Sex Education Month. While learning about sex should never stop, there are plenty of excellent reasons why we need sex education at a younger age, too. Here’s what multiple experts had to say on the importance of sex education.
Sex Ed Helps Prevent Unplanned Pregnancies
“The US has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the developed world. If more young people had access to comprehensive sexuality education, then we would prevent more unplanned pregnancies,” states Dr. Sophia Yen CEO/Co-Founder of Pandia Health. “It is important that this education be comprehensive and not ‘abstinence-only.’”
Dr. Kameelah Phillips, founder of Calla Women’s Health agrees. “Unplanned pregnancies have a huge impact on society and the trajectory of a couple’s life. Sex education helps decrease unplanned pregnancies by providing accurate information on how babies are made. Education helps empower women to make educated decisions in the bedroom. It teaches all how to use contraception properly to prevent unplanned pregnancies.”
Sex Ed Reduces the Rate of STDs
Multiple studies have demonstrated that sexual education directly contributes to the reduction of STDs versus abstinence-only education,” says Dr. Phillips. “Education about STDs, how they are transmitted, and how they are prevented are cornerstones of comprehensive STD education. Sexual education provides critical information that people need to keep themselves safe.”
Sex Ed Helps You Develop Healthy Sexual Habits
“Sexual education is very important for people to develop healthy sexual habits and understand the risks that are associated with some sexual activities,” states relationship expert Katie Dames of Feely Feelings. “Learning how birth control works, symptoms of STIs, and understanding how to have safe sex are the bare minimums that should be known by everyone having sex.”
Sex Education Destigmatizes Talking About Sexual Health
“Comprehensive sex education is important because it destigmatizes talking about sexual health, an aspect of the conversation that is necessary between doctors and patients,” states researcher, Dr. D. Gilson of QuickQuote.com. “Currently, only 17 states require that sex education curriculum be medically accurate and as we know more generally, medically accurate information is important for overall public health. When it comes to medically accurate sex education information, this can lead to lower rates of teen pregnancy and STD or HIV transmission.”
Sex Education Empowers People
“Sexual education is empowering for everyone,” says Dr. Phillips. “It helps young people learn about their bodies, boundaries, and the importance of communication. Sexual education provides models for how to communicate with your partner before, during, and after sex. It provides a framework on how to approach sexual encounters and your partner in a respectful way. In a culture that struggles with date rape and other sexual violence, sexual education is one of many tools to help people communicate and navigate safer experiences.”
What Better Sex Education Could Provide
Tia Evagelou, a sex and relationship coach, points out that offering access to a better version of sex education than many people currently receive has its own benefits.
“Young generations are not exposed to the full spectrum a healthy and broad sex education can provide. Younger generations are commonly limited to the basics of what the school systems provide and probably seeking further guidance on the internet for how to do it. What do they end up with? Porn as their teacher. What commonly gets left out, more often than not, is intimacy, connection, and pleasure. Critical components in healthy sexuality which result in confidence and higher consciousness.”
“Without any accessible platforms to explore a spectrum that includes modalities such as tantra, younger generations don’t even get to learn what’s truly available to them in their sexual evolution. As a result, I see many young individuals coming to me with ED issues, not understanding how to translate consent in real-life based on what they see in porn and performance anxiety issues. As a culture, we have become so focused on results, even in our sexual relations that we have robbed ourselves of the journey of pleasure and discovering who we are within in it.”
Comprehensive, full-spectrum sex education leads to fewer unwanted pregnancies, lower STD transmission, and better sex. It’s not just that we need sex ed at all, it’s that we deserve a better version of it, too, for ourselves and younger generations.
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