Let’s talk about sex … education

It’s embarrassing to write about sex education for a college-aged audience; the topic is dated and unoriginal. However, after last week’s meeting of the Tempe Union High School District, our community and university must explore where our students get their knowledge of sex and sexuality.

College is not the right place to learn about sex. For many freshmen, college is the first time they leave the reach of their parents and explore their sexuality. Students should be well-versed in sex education before they come to college.

Last week, TUHSD invited a Planned Parenthood employee to recommend to the school board which one of three sex education organizations would be best suited for Tempe high schools.

There were protesters and people passionately outspoken against the sexuality-education specialist from Planned Parenthood. In the meeting, there was no mention of abortion, just comprehensive sex education. Abstinence-only sex education is not comprehensive by any means.

The school board’s choice of the Planned Parenthood specialist, who has 20 years of experience, highlighted the misinformation and mass hysteria of critics who prefer abstinence-only sex education.

College freshmen are generally around 18. We are adults in the eyes of the law, yet we are emotionally still children. It’s not fair to expect college freshmen to be held as responsible as college seniors.

Only providing abstinence-only sex education is naïve and not practical, according to the American Psychological Association. Abstinence-only education does not work. This is not my opinion; this is the consensus of many medical and psychological institutions based on research.

One of the arguments from critics about comprehensive sex education is that it will promote immorality and promiscuity. The problem with claiming that certain sexual acts are immoral is the bigger issue at hand. What one does with his or her body should not reflect on the moral character of the individual.

Slut-shaming is being perpetuated here. Morals are concepts such as integrity, loyalty, honesty and dependability, not what people do with their bodies.

Morals are taught at home, and school is for education. People are going to have sex, and it’s the responsibility of the community to prepare young adults. If we do not prepare them, college freshmen will enter college and naïvely and dangerously have sex.

The backlash against the employee who was merely educating the school board was unprovoked. I do not believe it should be mandatory, but the option to have comprehensive sex education should at least be available to Tempe high schools.

By not allowing students to be educated about sex can lead to disastrous consequences from unintended pregnancies, to trauma, to STDs.

 

Reach the columnist at gromero7@asu.edu and follow him on Twitter at @gilromeo92