Should Sex Education Be Learned in Schools?


Until the mid-1900s, most people did not openly talk about sex. The subject was masked in giggles, blushes, and dirty stones. Today, however, sex is much more frequently discussed as a normal part of human life.

Newspapers and Television report on research into human sexuality and books and magazine articles discuss the pleasures and problems of sexual situations.

The increased openness about sex encourages many parents to talk about it freely with their children. Large numbers of schools and churches offer courses in sex education for children and other young people of various ages.

Marriage counseling and family life education help parents feel at ease with their sexual interests and those of their children.

Feelings of people

People have become free to express their feelings more than they once thought. Both men and women feel less restricted by traditional concepts of masculinity and feminism.

Members of both sexes and people of all ages have more freedom to enjoy one another. Sex, when properly understood and channeled, can bring great satisfaction to human beings.

Characteristics of sex education

Sex is an aspect of human life

This is the study of the characteristics of being a male or female. Such characteristics make up a person’s sexuality. Sexuality is an important aspect of the lives of human beings, and almost all people, including children, want it.

Sex education is a program of instruction

Sex education is a program of instruction in subjects relating to human reproduction. The curriculum includes instruction in the male and female roles in marriage and reproduction, the social and psychological aspects of adolescence, family relationship, venereal disease, and animal biology.

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Sex education gives assured information

Traditionally, children have received information about sex from their parents. They also may learn about sex through their church, their friends, their doctors, or other sources.

But many young people fail to receive adequate sex education from traditional sources. In addition, youngsters often get incorrect information about sex from their friends.

Many people believe that sex education in schools assures children of correct and complete information about sexuality. But others insist that children should learn about sexuality only from their parents.

How sex education is taught

A typical sex education program may begin at the kindergarten level with emphasis on the fact that all animals and people come into the world as babies, that baby animal and human babies develop from eggs or ova, that animals always beget their species, and that all girls grow into women and all boys grow into men.

From the ages of seven to nine

Children from the ages of seven to nine are instructed in the use of proper terminology for body parts, how to accept one’s own sexual identity, and about reproductive characteristics among different animal species.

Teachers also have to introduce information that helps prepare the students for puberty at the stage of development.

For example, the children learn about menstruation, nocturnal emissions, and the changes that will take place in their bodies. They also study reproduction in human beings, and how the male and female sexual systems work.

Age ten

Beginning around the age of ten, sex education classes are taught the physical changes that accompany puberty, the influence of heredity, the process of human fertilization, the development of the fetus, and how a baby is born.

Age twelve

At about the age of twelve, sex education emphasis is placed on body functions and mental and emotional behavior, appropriate social behavior between boys and girls, and the hazards of indiscriminate relationships between sexes.

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High school level classes may include detailed instruction in prenatal care of the mother and baby, the purposes of reproduction for the species and society, and social conventions of courtship and marriage.

Orientation to schools

Sex education programs in the schools are the best in those communities where they have come into existence through cooperation among parents, teachers, and such specialists as child psychologists and ministers.

The presentation of the material is geared to the physical age and mental maturity of the students. Specially prepared texts, pamphlets and films, slides, and other visual aids are used.

Teachers who instruct sex education programs usually have special training and evidence of familiarity, respect, and ease with the topic and particular age group involved.

Dispute over sex education

Surveys show that most parents, psychologists, and teachers reject sex education programs in schools. Opponents of such programs argue that children should learn about sex only from their parents.

They felt that children need moral guidance when being taught about sexuality and that only parents can provide this guidance.

Some opponents of sex education programs change that it causes young people to think about sex too much.

Other opponents believe that few teachers have the proper training to teach children about sexuality.

People who favor sex education in schools declare that parents have not done a good job of teaching about sexuality.

They fear that children often receive false information from their friends and magazines, motion pictures, and television.

Therefore, they argue, the school is the best place for children to receive correct and complete information about sexuality. Most supporters agree that sex education teachers need special training.

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