| Sex education, sometimes called sexuality education or sex and relationships education, is the process of acquiring information and forming attitudes and beliefs about sex, sexual identity, relationships and intimacy. Education on reproduction typically describes the process of a new human being coming into existence in stages including conception, the development of the embryo and fetus and the birth of the new baby. It often includes topics such as sexually transmitted diseases and how to avoid them, as well as methods of contraception.
Young people get information about sex and sexuality from a wide range of sources including each other, through the media including advertising, television and magazines, as well as leaflets, books and websites which are intended to be sources of information about sex and sexuality. They need to have information about the physical and emotional changes associated with puberty and sexual reproduction, including fertilization and conception and STDs, such as HIV/AIDS.
Sex education seeks both to reduce the risks of potentially negative outcomes from sexual behavior, like unwanted or unplanned pregnancies and infection with sexually transmitted diseases, and to enhance the quality of relationships. It is also about developing young people’s ability to make decisions over their entire lifetime. Sex education that works and that is effective is sex education that contributes to this general overall aim.
A common approach to sex education is to view it as necessary to reduce risky behavior such as unprotected sex, and equip individuals to make informed decisions about their personal sexual activity. Sex education holds that what is at stake is control over the body and liberation from social control. This type of education may thus be seen as providing individuals with the knowledge necessary to liberate themselves from socially organized sexual oppression and to make up their own minds.
Most parents in the United States feel that teenagers should remain sexually abstinent, but should have access to contraception. 95% of adults in US and 85% of teenagers think it’s important that school-aged children and teenagers be given a strong message from society that they should abstain from sex until they are out of high school. The president of America George W. Bush has successfully worked toward the introduction of ‘abstinence-only’ curriculum. Under such instruction, teens are told that they should be sexually abstinent until adulthood and/or marriage, and information about contraception isn’t provided.
Opponents argue this approach denies teens needed factual information and leads to unwanted pregnancies, abortions, propagation of STD’s.
Although some sort of sex education is part of many schools' curriculum, it remains a controversial topic in several countries as to how much and at what age school children should be taught about contraception or safer sex, and whether moral education should be included or excluded. The controversial points are whether sexual freedom for minors is valuable or detrimental, as well as whether instruction about condoms and birth control pills reduce or increase out-of-wedlock or teenage pregnancy.
Another debate centers around whether the state or the family should dictate sexual mores. They believe that sexual mores should be left to the family, and sex education represents safe interference. They also claim that some sex education curricula are intended to break down pre-existing nations of modesty and encourage acceptance of practices they deem immoral, such as homosexuality and premarital sex.
Sex education is an important mode of teaching, whereby young people are educated about sex and its consequences, so that they may be able to make intelligent and informed decisions concerning their sexual activity and abstinence.
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22 YEARS OLD , NIGERIAN,
STUDENT AND YOUTH ACTIVIST
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