Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Sexuality Education is Failing Miserably

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Recently there was a great story in the Washington Post article by Laura Sessions Stepp, staff writer and author of "Our last best shot: Guiding our children through early adolescence." I loved her book, and the title of the article, "Beyond the Birds and the Bees," was right up my alley, so I read it. The article is about a well-loved professor at the University of Maryland who teaches sexuality to college students, most of them suffering from a serious lack of sexuality education. It was very distressing to me that college students are asking questions about birth control, and that only 50% of the sexually active students are using condoms, meaning the other half of them are at risk for unwanted pregnancy and/or contracting a sexually transmitted infection, including HIV. And yet, I bet every one of them has had their meningitis vaccine, which is good, but so illogical.

As a society, our sexual phobias are putting our children at risk, and I think we should be extremely concerned that college students need sexuality education. This generation has experienced more media, seen more sexual innuendo, and probably experienced more oral sex than any previous generation, and yet, they actually know as little as their parents knew at 18 - why isn't that a crime? Why aren't we beating down the doors of the school board meetings concerned that the sexuality education, and health education for that matter, that our children are receiving is woefully inadequate and not preparing them for adulthood? Why do our students receive so little health education, why isn't most of it taught by certified health educators, and why aren't parents teaching their children how to protect themselves, even if the schools do not?

Photo credit: Steve Burt

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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.

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