Essay on Need of Sex Education: Literature Review
In our society nowadays, where teen pregnancies and sexual empowerment exist, there is a need for sex education to be brought about. There are too many people that would benefit greatly from those lessons and that would teach a nice and healthy lifestyle. But then the battle of what topics should be taught comes about if it is even being taught at all. The following review of the literature shows evidence on whether sex education is even being taught, and if it is, is abstinence and/or contraceptive use are the topics.
Sex education has been thoroughly talked about throughout the years. Should it be taught? What should be taught? This has not only been a relative topic in the states but also around the world. In Nigeria, teen pregnancies had brought about consideration of sex education. Akanbi et al.(2013) examined undergraduates’ perspectives on sex education and teenage pregnancy in Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria to test their hypothesis that teenagers should be exposed to basic sex education in both primary and secondary schools so that contraceptive methods and their usage will not be strange to them. They concluded that a higher proportion of University undergraduates teenagers has never done an abortion and the majority of respondents are of the opinion that awareness of sex education can help reduce teenage pregnancy. This study supports the idea that sex education should be taught and not shunned.
Now, in the U.S. specifically, sex education has been a huge topic over the years on whether it should be in schools. There are still some schools that do not teach it and there are some schools that do. With that comes some arguments, such as, is something that is religiously ethical. Bleakley et al.(2010) used structural equation modeling to analyze survey data from a nationally representative sample of adults 18 years of age and older to test their hypothesis for how support for abstinence-only education, comprehensive sex education, and condom instruction in US schools was related to beliefs about their respective efficacy, as well as how policy preferences were related to demographic, political, and social variables such as political orientation, attendance at religious services, and having an adolescent in the household. They conclude that Religious and political factors emerged as key characteristics in explaining support or opposition to different sex education approaches in the United States. This study examines the different types of sex education and their efficiency.
There have even been questions on what would be the best way to teach sex education. Are there any consequences? Will an influx of pregnancies happen? This became apparent from a study about the sexual behaviors that can come about. Lindberg & Maddow (2012) used data from 4,691 male and female individuals aged 15-24 years from the 2006-2008 National Survey of Family Growth to test their hypothesis that formal sex education is associated with sexual health behaviors and outcomes. They concluded that sex education about abstinence and birth control was associated with healthier sexual behaviors and outcomes as compared with no instruction. This not only shows how beneficial sex education would be for our society, but it also shows how effective one of the types of sex education is. This shows that sex education is an important thing for people to know and there is even more evidence to show that.
Williams and Bonner (2006) examined the attitudes and outcomes of sex education received by North American women via an Internet survey (N = 1,400) to test their hypothesis that sex education seems to play a significant role in reducing unplanned pregnancy and abortion. They concluded that the a lower rate of unplanned pregnancy among those who had received sex education, which included a focus on abstinence, compared with those educated primarily about contraceptives or no forms of birth control. This study also supports the importance of sex education.
Now that we know the effects of sex education on sexual behaviors, what type of sex education is more common? Lindberg and Maddow (2012) sought out which type was more effective, but not everyone is doing the same combination. Baker and Stoss (2015) used data compiled from multiple sources, including Census counts, national surveys, previous academic literature, political characteristics, and policy reports to test their hypothesis that states that have a higher presence of religious followings will have sex education that stresses abstinence while states with a lower religious presence will have a higher likelihood of sex education taught that mandates the coverage of contraception. Their results show that population religious characteristics are not a sufficient condition of specific sex education policy outcomes but rather necessary pre-conditions that structure where specific changes occur as the political landscape evolves This study clearly answers the question of if religion mandates whether sex education will even be taught or taught with contraception in mind.
When we take a deeper dive into the different types of sex education, abstinence seems to be the one taught the most. It’s known as the most ethical in terms of religion. How effective is it though? After the study of Lindberg and Maddox (2012), it explained that the combination of abstinence and contraceptives was the most effective. Does that mean that any other combination is not? Sherr and Dyer (2010) found out otherwise. Sherr and Dyer (2010) used a time-limited nonequivalent control group design to analyze preliminary data drawn from an unduplicated sample of 620 youth completing the program in churches (n=248) and in public school settings (n=372) to test whether sex education at church was better than the sex education taught at public schools. They concluded that there were significant reductions in the number of youth that had sexual intercourse within the last three weeks for both groups at the post-test. This study analyzes the efficiency of sex education when actively taught.
Then we have the topic of what everyone would think of as acceptable to be taught in schools. What would be the most relevant topics for everyone to have a healthy sex life? Canan & Jozkowski (2017) recruited college students (N=560) from entry-level health courses to participate in this study to test whether political affiliation had the strongest relationship with an overall endorsement of topics followed by religious commitment. They concluded that individuals would like a wide variety of topics to be included in sexual health education. This gives us more of an insight on what should possibly be taught.
Now the topic on if sex education should just be taught at school. Schools tend to wait until the child gets into high school and such to go further in-depth on the subject of sex education. Why? Because many believe that children shouldn’t be learning such a thing. So, if the schools won’t start teaching the child effectively, will the parents? Peter et al. (2015) used data from Illinois parents of adolescents (n =301) indicating their knowledge about and attitudes toward sexuality education programs and 18 sexual health topics via an online survey to examine two different approaches to measuring parents’ attitudes toward sexuality information. They concluded that parents were uncertain about what form of sex education was offered but most were equally comfortable with both abstinence-only and comprehensive programs.
Some parents are a bit apprehensive about talking with their children about the topic. It’s a little off-putting for some and that could be understood by the stigma our society has about sex. So, if the parent can overcome such a thing, when is the right time to start talking about the subject with their children? Pariera & Brody (2018) conducted a mixed-methods study on emerging adults’ (N = 441) beliefs about the ideal age and frequency for parents to discuss sex-related topics, and about their parents’ strengths and weaknesses in sexual communication. They concluded that most participants reported that parents should talk about sex frequently, early, and on a wide variety of topics. And what would talk to their children as early as possible prove? It’ll help towards their sexual maturity. Bolland et al. (2019), using a growth curve framework, data from the Mobile Youth and Poverty Study are used to model how sexual immaturity develops across adolescence as a function of age, gender, and sex education to test their hypothesis that sexual immaturity may influence sexual initiation and trajectories of sexual behavior. They concluded that school-based sex education curricula should take into consideration how sexual maturity is portrayed among adolescents.
The need for sex education to become a not stigmatized topic will only increase as we go on. It’s an essential way to make sure everyone has healthy sexual health and a clear understanding of the topic. The research has been expansive and very informative, but our society has yet to really change in terms of the topic. We will have to continue to push forward and come to an understanding that it is an important matter. I will also do my best to help the expansion of this topic to help break the stigma around it.
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Are the sex education classes provided in United States public schools teaching the right things? According to the Guttmacher Institute October 1, 2018 update on State Laws and Policies for Sex and HIV Education, in Illinois public schools sex education is not mandatory, but health education including information on HIV is required and it must include medically accurate information on abstinence. When provided in Illinois, sex education must include information on contraception and the negative outcomes of teen sex and...
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Sex education is the study of understanding the activity, responsibilities, and health of human sexuality. While learning about this topic there are factors that help enhance or diminish the perspective and knowledge of sex education within adolescence. Factors such as the age, school curriculums, and parent’s involvement of an adolescent contributes to the effects and impacts of sexual experiences that an adolescent may encounter. Somers and Eaves (2002) focus on the introduction of sex education and its impact based on...
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