Adolescent sexuality in the United States Sex education programs in the United States teach students about sexual health as well as ways to avoid sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted teenage pregnancy.
The three main types of programs are abstinence-only, abstinence-plus, and comprehensive sex education. Although sex education programs that only promotes abstinence are very prominent in American public schools, comprehensive sex education is known to be the most effective and is proven to have helped young people make better decisions.
Sex education has many benefits as it educates students about the human anatomy and teaches the importance of having healthy relationships. Adequate sex education programs in public schools greatly benefit students and have the potential to reduce the high percentages of sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies in America.
Most adolescents in the United States receive some form of sex education at school at least once between grades 6 and 12; many schools begin addressing some topics as early as grades 4 or 5. Many states have laws governing what is taught in sex education classes or allowing parents to opt out. Some state laws leave curriculum decisions to individual school districts.
HIV or STD prevention and pregnancy prevention are more commonly required in high school than in middle or elementary school.
Within the demographic of United States public and private high schools which taught pregnancy prevention, the average time spent in class teaching this topic was 4. The CDC report also found that, on average, 2. Sex education in these grades is often referred to as puberty education in order to reflect the emphasis on preparing children for the changes that all humans experience as they develop into adults. Little data is available for how much sex education is taught in elementary, but increasing numbers of schools are beginning developmentally appropriate sex education beginning in kindergarten in alignment with the National Sexuality Education Standards NSES.
Public opinion[ edit ] There have been numerous studies on the effectiveness of both approaches, and conflicting data on American public opinion. Public opinion polls conducted over the years have found that the majority of Americans favor broader sex education programs over those that teach only abstinence, although abstinence educators recently published poll data with the opposite conclusion.
Experts at University of California, San Francisco also encourage sex educators to include oral sex and emotional concerns as part of their curriculum. Their findings also support earlier studies that conclude: Discussion about potential negative consequences, such as experiencing guilt or feeling used by one's partner, may lead some adolescents to delay the onset of sexual behavior until they feel more sure of the strength of their relationship with a partner and more comfortable with the idea of becoming sexually active.
Identification of common negative social and emotional consequences of having sex may also be useful in screening for adolescents at risk of experiencing more-serious adverse outcomes after having sex. Some parents believe that their children's school programs encourage sexual activity, and the schools believe that there are many students that don't get any sex education at home.
The goal for the parents is for their children to follow their family values. Parents want the ability to teach their children what they want about sex education rather than school programs teaching them of things that certain things that parents are trying to avoid.
Sex education programs in schools are mainly trying to give the students a complete picture about sex and sexuality. They want students to know their bodies as well as know how to protect them and make smart decisions. In a study titled "Emerging Answers: Research Findings on Programs to reduce Teen Pregnancy" showed that sex education programs in schools are having a huge impact on teen's decisions to remain abstinent or to use contraceptives if they do choose to have intercourse 1.
School programs are teaching students everything they need to know about sex and sexuality and that is helping these same students to make their own decisions and to be safe no matter what they choose to do. A near peer teaching model is when a more experienced student acts as the instructor and passes on their knowledge and experience to the students.
Additionally, it has been used as tool for peer educators to enhance their teaching and leadership skills. This is due to the fact there is a gain in social constructivism, a theory that states individuals conceptualize material through social interactions. Additionally, educators develop a new understanding of the material they are teaching, because they often create their own explanations, which is found to have the largest academic gains.
Results showed that 7 out of the 11 trials were more effective with the peer taught model. It also depicted greater positive changes in health behavior with a peer model compared to that of adults. It was seen to reduce smoking, marijuana, and alcohol usage.
Unlike other TPP programs, Teen PEP's main focus is implementing the peer education component, 11th and 12th-grade students are peer educators teaching sexual health to ninth grade students in their second semester. Teen PEP focused in 3 broad areas: Results shows a positive impact of this model. Due to the fact that peer educators are closer in age to the students, students across all schools felt that they were more approachable and reliable than teachers since they share more common experiences.
I learn better from younger kids that have been in my situation. Furthermore, peer educators were proven to be effective instructors.
In these same six students created Peer Health Exchange PHE , in which college undergraduate students teach comprehensive health education to 9th grade students in Title I schools. PHE is a c 3 organization and focuses on four main areas: The purpose of having peer health educators is so that conversations with high school students, regarding health, are more honest and real. Additionally, students who received the 13 workshops had higher rates of accurately define consent, knowing how access contraceptives, and identifying signs of poor mental health compared to those who did not.
This study aimed to analyze the effectiveness of peers intervening via text messaging to promote sexual health. The app's main purpose was to serves as a sexual health text line that would reach beyond the classroom, in which peer educators could participate in by responding to students questions with adult oversight.
The PPWP Education Department made sure that the peer educators received appropriate training for answering sexual health question and navigating the app; they developed an 8-lesson student curriculum. The app was then launched in four high schools in western Pennsylvania in which peer educators answered student questions.
IOTAS was successful and deemed to be time-effective in answering questions all while upholding the confidentiality of sexual health information beyond the classroom.
It also allowed the peer educators to be more involved in their communities and expand their own sexual health knowledge, thus is was great for both those who were receiving and getting the information. It began in as a sexual health info line where teens could call and get their sexual health questions answered anonymously and confidentially from adults.
Since then it has emerged into a near peer model in which youth volunteers are available 5 days a week Mondays-Thursdays between 4 p. They cover a wide range of sexual health topics, some of which include: It started to become less effective due to overcrowding and students not wanting to ask their questions in person. Time commitment[ edit ] It is hard to sustain due to the time commitment it requires of peers.
This time commitment requires the peer to become experts in health knowledge which is impractical. The results showed that 9th grade students did not perceive educators as having the same authority as teachers, therefore it was difficult for peer educators to have control over the classroom.
It was also noted that it was more difficult for male peer educators to control the classroom because of tensions flowing from preconceptions and stereotypical views about male behavior and the role of men in managing groups. They also had difficulty managing noise levels. The timing of the lessons were another problem. Educators reported that when they taught at the end of the day, students were tired and not engaged. Additionally, the constraints of the school schedule also made it difficult.
Sometimes lessons would be cancelled, or the delivery of lessons would have long gaps due to the school schedule therefore, the lesson that followed would not be as effective. Peer educators stated they would have appreciated some affirmations for their contributions. Others noted that they did not receive help in finding resources such as writing materials.
Then develop a training for peer educators that include classroom management skills such as how to deal with bullring and how to address comments. The peer educator's training and student lessons should have clear objectives, be engaging and fun, have relevance to the students, be practical, and should involve learning something new. Reassure peer educators that even the most difficult students are able to engage well with peers.
This can be done through creating relationships by using humor. Do not let more than a few weeks elapse between lessons nor the period between the peer educator's training and delivery of lessons. Make sure there is an adequate amount of space to teach the lesson and that the lessons are not taught at the end of the day.
Emphasize working in small groups and if feasible have peer educators give multiple lessons to the same group of students. Teachers should be actively engaged by supporting peer educators. Teachers should show appreciation to peer educators, provide them with resources, and make sure to work around the school schedule for lessons. When the 1, participants were asked for their opinion regarding curriculum options, the majority group, The study also noted that Hispanic parents demonstrated the strongest support for school-based education which is medically accurate, and provides information on condoms and contraception.
The survey demonstrated popular support for comprehensive sex education; the odds of parents who favored CSE as a more effective method for sex education than abstinence-only curriculum were The survey revealed that parental for the inclusion of specific individual topics in school-based sex education was also high, ranging from The majority of parents also felt that school-based sex education should begin in middle school, or earlier. As of July 11, , the House has not released a deadline for a decision on whether of not the bill will officially pass and cut funding for TPP and the Family X Program, or consider the Senate's version of the bill.
Funding for Title V, Section abstinence-only education had expired in , but was reinstated by a provision in the health care reform law by Senator Orrin Hatch. M" is an acronym, which stands for "abstinence only until marriage. M is a federally-funded policy for sex education that was developed in the s as a part of welfare reform, partially in reaction to the growth and development of adolescent sex and HIV education programs spanning the s, s and s.
M policy has little influence over preventing students from engaging in sexual activity, is ineffective in reducing "sexual risk behaviors" and fails to improve the health outcomes of increasing contraceptive use and decreasing teen pregnancy rates. M, due to "10 years of opposition and concern from medical and public health professionals, sexuality educators, and the human rights community that AOUM withholds information about condoms and contraception, promotes religious ideologies and gender stereotypes and stigmatizes adolescents with non-heteronormative sexual identities.
These criticisms are generally dealt in the form of studies conducted or sponsored by Abstinence-Only or Comprehensive advocates, with the intent of once and for all convicting the other side of ineffectively educating. These emotional components include but are not limited to topics of consent, pleasure, love, and constructive conversation techniques.
Comprehensive sex education curricula are intended to reduce sexually transmitted disease and out-of-wedlock or teenage pregnancies. According to Emerging Answers At the time, each organization was looking ahead to the possibility of a future without federal abstinence-only-until-marriage funding and simultaneously found themselves exploring the question of how best to advance comprehensive sexuality education in schools.
The purpose of the project is to create a national dialogue about the future of sex education and to promote the institutionalization of comprehensive sexuality education in elementary schools.
In "Sexuality Education in the United States: Shared Cultural Ideas across a Political Divide," Jessica Fields discusses that sexuality education seeks behavioral change, and believes that worded in specific terms, can be transparent and neutral. At the heart of sexuality debates, practice, and sexuality education lies a stable, rational, and unambiguous relationship between knowledge and behavior.
Proponents of this approach argue that sexual behavior after puberty is a given, and it is therefore crucial to provide information about the risks and how they can be minimized. They hold that abstinence-only sex ed and conservative moralizing will only alienate students and thus weaken the message. When information about risk, prevention, and responsible behavior is presented, it promotes healthy decision-making in youth.
Family life or sex education in the public schools, which traditionally has consisted largely of providing factual information at the secondary school level, is the most general or pervasive approach to preventing pregnancy among adolescents Adolescents who begin having sexual intercourse need to understand the importance of using an effective contraceptive every time they have sex.