It has been reconfirmed -- yet again. Research conducted by the Guttmacher Institute indicates that sexuality education does not encourage teenagers to have sex sooner or to engage in more sexual risk-taking behaviors. As a matter of fact, it delays sex.
As governments fail to make sexuality education a priority or continue to fund abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, we're once again being given scholarly, evidence-based data that indicates the importance of comprehensive sexuality education. This complements Douglas Kirby's 2008 review of evaluation studies examining abstinence, comprehensive, and/or STD/HIV sex education programs. Kirby found that two-thirds of the 48 programs teaching both abstinence and contraceptive use had positive behavioral effects.
So given the good news such studies yield time after time, when will the politicians start to listen? How many research studies like these do we need before policymakers begin funding and supporting comprehensive sexuality education efforts? They've been ignoring the evidence for far too long, continuing to cultivate a culture of sexually ignorant youth, who lack the knowledge and skills necessary to postpone sex or protect themselves.
That's a darned good question. When will the politicians start to listen? When will hard proof and facts finally speak for themselves? Will candidates like Rick Santorum stick his fingers in his ears if elected, and sing "nananananana" until the studies go away? I guess he's so morally developed that he doesn't need for truth to get in his way. I'll take it another step and ask, what happens if Rick Santorum wins the race? Can you imagine an United States where global commerce and economic stability take second seat to his pursuit to rid the world of porn? What happens when government decides it won't serve all the citizens, just the ones that meet their standards? We are raising kids in a world where they may never know privacy or freedom. Now, some uptight, prudish, science-hating legislators can start fighting sex education to keep us just how they want us... uneducated and knocked up.
There is also the responsibility of parents to provide The Talk and The Facts. It's not that hard in the Internet age to get tips on talking to teenagers about sex, and giving them a realistic alternative to "just don't do it because it's eeeeevil." If the schools won't do their job, it then falls to the parents, or better yet let both educate teens about making smart choices and taking care of their body. Right now it's being done by HBO and Playboy, so yeah... it can get worse.
Access to facts is never a bad thing. Ever. I'm sick of hearing how awkward it is for parents to talk to kids about sex. You know what's awkward? Sitting in a doctor's office and learning you are HIV positive. What about learning that you're about to lose your whole young adulthood to raising a child you don't want? How's that for unpleasant? With the way "slutty" females are being treated by government, does anyone want pregnancy or disease for their daughter? It's already going to be hard enough to get birth control, thanks to Republicans. Now we need to make sure more than ever that young adults see the importance of using it.