Sex education in schools can be a tough topic of conversation. It’s sure to elicit blushes, snickers and jokes from the student body. However, even with the awkwardness that surrounds teen sex education, many believe that lessons on how to use a condom and sexually transmitted infections are necessary to keep young people safe, according to The Berkshire Eagle.
Each school approaches the dissemination of sexual health information in a different way. While some schools may focus on abstinence, others provide resources for students to find condoms and undergo STD testing. And a number of institutions don’t offer sexual education at all.
“There’s the disease component, the pregnancy piece, but there’s also the risk to their emotional health,” Annemarie Carpenter, an adjustment counselor at a school in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, told the news source. ‘That’s a piece that’s harder for people to get their head around.”
A student from the same state told the news organization that he feels peer-led sexual education would be more effective than lessons taught by adults. Another student added that classes need to go beyond the basic mechanics and anatomy of sex into deeper issues, such as relationship management.
Many programs that discuss sexual health information put an emphasis on encouraging young people to wait to have sex. However, many teenagers acknowledge that though waiting to have sex could help prevent unwanted pregnancies among teens, it may not be a realistic approach.
Teens’ access to contraceptive services vary from state to state. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 21 states and the District of Columbia provide resources that allow minors to receive contraceptive services. Four states have no stated policies concerning minors and condoms or other forms of contraception.