Although sex education is often discussed and evaluated in terms of its roles in reducing adolescent pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Disease rates, supporters say its primary goal is broader- to give young people the opportunity to receive information, examine their values and learn relationship skills that will enable them to resist becoming sexually active before they are ready, to prevent unprotected intercourse and to help them become responsible, sexually healthy adults.
Sex education would help youths to be more prepared for life changes, such as puberty, menopause, aging etc. it will enable them develop skills and self esteem that would help them enter adolescence, to know that the few changes are normal. For example, girls would not get shocked and afraid at their first menstruation if they already had the knowledge of it. In our days, we did not have such privilege because I remember how I panicked and abandoned the firewood we went to gather in the bush, left my brothers and took the race of my life to inform my mother at home of the development. My friends called me all sorts of names, ranging from “Holy Nweje” “Mugu” “Santa” to “Innocentia” I did not regret it because I never brought shame and disgrace to my family. Those of them who proved to be wise, that knew everything and called themselves “guys” dropped mid way because they became pregnant and never regained the opportunity of achieving their greatest potential. I even remember one that lost her life while committing abortion.
Sex education goes a long way in teaching the youths the correct knowledge about their bodies, human reproductive system, Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDS) birth, contraceptives and pregnancy prevention techniques.
Appropriate sex education to our youths has a great impact on preventing sexual problems in adulthood. And it teaches them what is right and wrong.
Through sex education, youths will be able to communicate, listen, negotiate with others, ask for and identify sources of help and advice when it comes to sexual relationship.
Sex education is not just about sex. Youths require sexual and reproductive information, negotiation skills, decision making and goal setting. These skills will enable them to cope with the demands and challenges of growing up and self management and other transitions. It would enable them to form attitudes, beliefs and values about identity, learn to appreciate and recognize their own sex bodies as good and God’s perfect creation.
Good relevant sex education provides knowledge which is information and it instills confidence in the youths, as they now have positive attitude to sex.
It provides an enabling environment for youths to ask questions and be clarified on some pressing issues that may be bothering them. As the school guidance counselor, when I engage them in a private discussion, I get baffled at their level of ignorance. Most of them depend on peer education. One of them confided in me about a natural reaction/experience she was having and how a friend advised her that the solution is to “Ride a Horse”. That it was only the fear of her parents that prevented her from doing it. So, parents, it is advisable to talk to your adolescents about what they should know to avoid being swept off by peer influence. This is imperative because on the long run, who looses? Parents please shine your eyes and do the job God put into your hands. You do not have any option.
Lets us now highlight the Cons. Our youths have resorted to internet as a source of information on sex and pornographic films which has become one of the most lucrative online business. A search for sexual information could lead our youths to unending destinations. Even if they are able to find informations dealing with sexual health, they may not be able to easily discern whether the information is objective and reliable or subjective. Given the ease of online publishing, much of what is found on the internet may not be relevant or accurate-based. As a result, youths who rely on them for their knowledge may instead come with incorrect information, misconception and propaganda.
Without sex education, our youths will be left to the media, peer groups and hear-say to find answers to important questions. Questions if left unanswered, can lead to unplanned and unwanted pregnancies and the repetition of a continuing cycle of ignorance.
It is believed that little knowledge is dangerous. Most sex education provided to our youths is during physical education or biology classes. This brief interlude is not enough to teach them serious essential materials. In some cases, they see it as a recreational lesson that is not to be taken seriously.
Now that Guidance and Counseling is incorporated in the school time table, whenever I present sex education as a topic that is to be discussed, some of the students get embarrassed while others get over-excited. This can result in out-of-control classroom environment with students talking to giggling and making inappropriate remarks. In fact, they usually “let loose.”
Often sex education can go against an individual’s moral and religious beliefs. I always tell my students to Abstain but in other places they hear of having safe intercourse which many religious and family values object before marriage.
The number of teenagers contracting HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections has increased over the past years, so to be on the safe side, keep yourself intact because there is time for everything. Wait till you get married.
If you check out the magazines our youths lay their hands on, the books and text messages they read and write, the songs and jingles that are aired on Radio and Television, then imagine that child with little or no knowledge of what sex is all about, the environment where that youth grows up, peer groups, nonchalant attitude of parents and the general pollution in the society are all factors to be considered too, in such cases, it takes real courage, self discipline and grace of God for them to stay safe.
May God save our youths from sexual Tsunami Amen.
It seems that most parents are either strongly against or strongly in favour of sex education classes.