There is a reason that people are afraid of the dark. The dark is filled with uncertainty, with the unknown. And while fear of the dark is among the most common of phobias, we have been leaving millions of young people in the dark on sex for generations.
On a new Facebook page entitled, "We bet we can find 100,000 people who were clueless about sex growing up!" people of all ages have been sharing their stories on being clueless on sex.
Here is a taste of what people are saying:
My sex ed teacher claimed that good, conservative people believed that frenching an HIV-positive person would lead to HIV transmission, but that those darn liberals thought that it wasn't possible (this was at a public middle school!).
My mom gave me a book that was supposed to teach me everything I needed to know about growing up. It was horrible! I found out that the pull out method didn't work when I was 18!
My "sex ed" teacher didn't know what an orgasm felt like and it was her job to teach us about sex, I quote "I imagine its like a headache... when everything goes wrong, except everything is going good". We were also told not to touch ourselves at all, let alone masturbate, because that belonged to our future husbands.
I knew since I was little that I didn't want to marry a man, I decided when I was little that I was just going to never get married and live in the woods with my engines and tractors. Luckily by the end high school, I figured out that I didn't just 'admire' Xena. ;]
I used to believe the boy peed on the girl and that is how she got pregnant. Good thing I found out the truth sooner than later.
Some of the stories are hilarious, but more importantly, these stories are telling us a sad truth about the state of sex education in the United States. These stories tell us that at home, at school and at church, young people are being uninformed or misinformed about sex. Whether it is due to ignorance, discomfort or political will, these stories tell us that people aren't even learning the basics about human biology, genetics or anatomy, much less how to build healthy relationships.
Comprehensive sex education is a necessary and vital piece of young people's education--one that impacts their decisions, their health and potentially their whole lives. Young people deserve truthful, medically accurate information that speaks to their real, diverse experiences and trusts them to make informed decisions. They deserve environments where they can ask hard questions and get accurate answers, free from judgment.
During the Bush Administration, federal funding for abstinence-only education failed to equip young people with the information needed to make healthy and informed decisions about sex. A 2008 Center for Disease Control study found that one in four young women between the ages of 14 and 19 in the United States were infected with a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Young people ages 13 to 29 accounted for 34 percent of new HIV infections in 2007, the largest share of any group.
The new healthcare law, which includes provisions in support of comprehensive sex education, is, to some extent, a departure from the policies of the Bush years. This new funding creates a way for churches, schools and community organizations to provide young people with information and encourage them with self-assurance that could save their lives.
However, the $375 million that will go towards sex education over the next five years under healthcare reform does not negate the $250 million that will continue to go towards abstinence-only programs. With that $250 million, thousands of young people will be misinformed or uninformed about contraception, abortion, STIs and pregnancy. These youth will continue to experience unintended pregnancy and contract STIs at a higher rate than their peers who receive comprehensive sex education.
One dollar of federal funding for abstinence-only programming is a dollar too much. $250 million for abstinence-only programs is a high-end gamble on the health and lives of young people. Young people deserve better. They deserve comprehensive sex education to make informed decisions about their health and lives.
We know better--so let's do better. If you are clueless on sex (or formerly clueless), make sure to 'like' this new page, tell your story and encourage your friends to do the same. Speak out in favor of comprehensive sex education. We've been leaving people in the dark on sex for far too long. It's time we shed some light on the subject.
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