Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sex Education: We've Got Learning to Do

By Amy Phillips Bursch, Media Relations Manager
My sex education was less than ideal. In sixth grade, they separated the boys from the girls and sent us into rooms where we watched grainy, out-of-date films explaining the reproductive system in the least interesting way possible. They also warned parents in advance. My mom decided to SHOW UP. AND COMMENT DURING THE Q&A SESSION. It was quite possibly the deepest humiliation a 12-year-old girl can endure. If I could have melted into a puddle and disappeared into the carpet, I would have. I remember nothing about the movie itself, shockingly.
A mural in Phoenix promotes abstinence. Teens say they want abstinence information, but they also want to learn about contraception. (cobalt123/Flickr)

Unfortunately, it seems that I'm not the only person who missed some vital information in sex ed class.

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy just released its new national survey on attitudes toward teen pregnancy, and unsurprisingly, kids have some learning to do:
  • 86% of teens age 15-19 say they know everything they need to know to avoid getting pregnant. But 47% of teens say they know “little or nothing” about condoms.
  • A whopping 72% of teens – including 87% of teenage boys – say they know little or nothing about birth control pills. Yikes.
  • 4 in 10 teens say using birth control doesn’t matter – if it’s your time to get pregnant, you’ll get pregnant anyway. Thanks, abstinence education!
  • 52% of teens say they rarely or have never talked with their parents about sex or relationships based on something they saw on television or in other popular media.
But don’t despair! It’s not all bad news!
  • 79% of adults say if their teens are having sex, they hope their kids talk to them so they can make sure they’re using appropriate contraception.
  • Most teens and adults agree: Students need more information about contraception AND abstinence – also known as comprehensive sex education – in order to avoid pregnancy.
  • 75% of adults and teens think politicians who oppose abortion should strongly support contraception. A-MEN. You listening to them, lawmakers?
So kids and parents want more and better information. And who could blame them? Avoiding teen pregnancy is super important if you want to keep your life on track. (97% of teen girls agree!)

But one word of advice for parents: DO NOT show up at your kids’ school during sex education class. They will never forgive you, and they’ll blog about it 25 years later. And who wants that?

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