September 18, 2018 | ° F

EDITORIAL: Sex education leads to sexual healing


Schools keep students ignorant about their bodies, sexuality


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Back in the day, Yahoo Questions was popular. Users would post questions like, “How can I get pomegranate stains off my shirt?” or “How can I best take care of my bamboo plant?” But then there were also a plethora of odd questions about sex, ranging from “I am 17 (and a girl), and I had sex with another girl. Can I get her pregnant?” to “In 7th grade I kissed a boy on the cheek and I am worried that I am pregnant and I can’t eat bannnanas??? HELP ---??” These ridiculous questions that people should already know the answer to makes you wonder whether some are just “trolling” the rest of us. But the variety and quantity of those types of Yahoo Questions makes it plausible that a good portion is actually real, and with them attached equally as real concerns and anxieties.

Those same questions about sexual health and reproduction are now being asked by a new generation of young adults coming of age. The above examples provided were specifically about pregnancy scares and homosexuality, but other questions were on subjects of sexual experimentation, asexuality, sexual health, sexually transmitted diseases, dating violence and pornography. One does not need to have a Ph.D. in biology or psychology to know the answers to many of these wacky, yet basic and legitimate concerns.

There’s a consensus that in many ways the United States’ educational system is broken, falling short of its potential — especially when it comes to sexual education. Most U.S. states don’t mandate any type of sexual education, and only 13 states require that the course is medically accurate. This is one of the most explicit examples of the utmost failure of the American government and the American school system, because what’s the point of going school and receiving an education if you’re only going to be fed lies and audaciously, lies about you and your own body? Relaxed regulations give way to students learning self-loathing: If you have gay sex, you’re immoral and going to hell. If you’re a woman who can’t keep her legs closed, then you’re a slut who won’t be respected. Adolescents are growing up unaware of how their bodies work and they grow up in unnecessary and extreme discomfort. This type of distorted education does not equip them with the tools to face the realities of life.

A crucial bill is pending in the Senate, but disappointingly it’s lingered without a vote. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) proposed the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act (REHYA), and it’s the first piece of federal legislation to assert the right of a young person to have a comprehensive and medically accurate education about sexual health. It’s also LGBTQ inclusive, because not everyone is going to have “straight sex.” And although it seems like the bill is pure common sense and would have everyone flocking to support it, the defunct and useless Senate isn’t lifting a finger. A little while ago it increased federal government spending on abstinence-only education to be a cringe-worthy $75 million, but when it comes to an alternative and infinitely more useful bill, it has gone idle. Let’s all just pause and have a moment of silence for all the money that was wasted on abstinence-only sex education.

Old people in Congress must accept that adolescents and teenagers want to explore their sexuality — and many will explore this primal desire — regardless of being inculcated and harassed with lies regarding abstinence.

Without proper education, you’ll have ignorance. Some women will grow up not knowing the parts of their sexual organs and be shocked when you tell them they pee out their urethra and not their vaginas. Some men won’t learn that aggression and brute force doesn’t belong in a healthy relationship. We shouldn’t leave these curious minds to the mercy of a Google search — who knows what they'll find. 


The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority of the 148th editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.


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