Relationships: The importance of Sex Ed

Photo courtesy of Lesley Public Post

Photo courtesy of Lesley Public Post

Sex education has been one of the most dreaded units in school, with its uncomfortable lessons and graphic pictures. But sex ed is getting progressively more important to learn as students enter high school, mature and take on new life challenges. 

Although sex ed is an important life skill that should be taught to teens everywhere to guide their choices in the future, it is not provided in all of the U.S. California is more privileged than a lot of other states, with covered topics such as reproduction, healthy relationships, sexual health, gender identity and sexual orientation. In some states, sex ed is not required and some don’t have to be medically accurate. Without proper sex ed, teens are left to turn to the internet or peers, reliable or not. 

According to the nursing department at USC, out of 39 states and D.C. that mandate sex education and/or HIV education, only 28 states and D.C. require both sex ed and HIV education. 17 states require content to be medically accurate, and 36 states and D.C. allow parents the option to remove their child from sex ed. These stats are somewhat concerning because they show that sex education is not the most trustworthy class. Out of 50 states plus D.C., only a little over half of them require sex ed and HIV education, and only 17 states need the information taught to be accurate. Everything you learn in math class or history class is factual information, but it might not be the same for sex ed.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 11 states and D.C. require inclusive content with regard to sexual orientation, and 6 states require only negative information to be provided on homosexuality and/or positive emphasis on heterosexuality. It’s also concerning how few states require LGBTQ+ content, but it’s even more concerning how there are still states that require LGBTQ+ to be presented in a negative light.

Sex education throughout the U.S should be mandatory, medically accurate and inclusive and guide students throughout their life just like any other topic in school is supposed to. Inadequate sex ed is dangerous and leads to unsafe sexual health. Access to proper sex education is a human right, and it should be society’s duty to educate the younger generation.