As we worry about how to protect our children, we seem to lose track of the fact that they grow up to be sexually engaged youth. For eight years, we did not offer any options except abstinence-only sex education in the public schools.
What is the most effective way to educate young people about sex? What can we do to minimize unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs)? Does abstinence-only education work? Some people think so.
"Which one is the man, and which one is the woman?" That is a question I have faced more times that I can count. Taxicab drivers generally pose the question while they are hauling me around Manhattan. The exchange goes something like this.
How can American parents and other adults talk with teenagers about sexuality and romantic relationships in more positive terms, while bolstering young people's capacities to protect themselves against potential negative experiences and consequences?
Sex sells. That's why for the past week newspapers and blogs have plastered their front pages with articles dissecting and lambasting New York City's new sex education mandate and recommended curriculum.
Thanks to Mother O, I have been reexamining my burning ambition and tireless drive to push, push, push in the direction of success. Is it wrong to want to change the world and make people more open to sex?
Schools can and should teach about the nutritional value of meat. That's what schools do. At home I can and should teach about the ethical and moral weight of eating meat. That's what parents do. The same is true for sex.
New York City should consider a more comprehensive initiative that takes into account all aspects of a young person's growth and development, not solely strategies associated with understanding and reducing sexual risk-taking.
Imagine a scale from one to 10. One marks abstinence-only-until-heterosexual-marriage education, while 10 represents safer sex-positive, LGBTQ-inclusive education. My high school's curriculum up until this year falls somewhere in the scale's middle, but tips precariously toward its lower end.