Since the 1920’s, sex education has been taught in public schools all across the United States. Most curriculums consist of an abstinence-only education, teaching kids how not having sex is key, instead of how to have safe sex if you choose to have sex.
The idea to have a sex education class came in 1913, when Chicago became the first major city to implement sex education in public schools. Recently, people such as Eileen Kelly, a 20 year old woman from Seattle, began to question why this abstinence-only course was being enforced.
“I went to catholic school, so we didn’t even get sex ed, and it was the whole stigma of ‘Don’t have sex before marriage,’ instead of giving us the tools of, ‘Hey, if you are going to have sex, this is what you need to do to have safe sex,’” Kelly said in her interview with Galore TV. “What we’re doing is, is we are redefining ‘The Talk.’”
Eileen Kelly is the founder and owner of the sex education blog, killerandasweetthang.com.
There, she publishes everything you need to know about sex, love, and health, from relationships to periods. Kelly grew up in a single-parent household with her dad, and speaks on the subject of having an absent mother to teach her about her body.
“I grew up with a single dad, and didn’t have a mom when I was going through puberty. I wanted to create a place on the the internet I wish I had when I was 16, going through puberty, and getting my period,” she told Cosmopolitan magazine.
Nearly 60 percent of districts used abstinence-only education programs.
Rebecca Jones, Westwood high school sophomore in Austin, TX, shares what the class was like for her. “I think that LGBTQ+ kids do not have a safe space in this system at all, and I am a lesbian, so when I was in 8th grade I knew nothing about sex,” Jones said. “I was so terrified because of the fact that I had no space to ask questions that I wanted answered.”
On the contrary, there are many arguments on why education courses about sex should not be taught in schools at all. According to TeachingTimes.com, when sending out a survey to 1700 parents with kids in public schools, more than half of the parents said they would rather the course not be taught.
“Many think it is inappropriate to teach children about sex, whilst others think it should be a parents’ choice to inform their own child,” Teaching Times said.
On July 7th, 2017, Teen Vogue came out with a guide to anal sex. When this was published, Teen Vogue immediately received negative feedback for being “crude and inappropriate.” One conservative activist on twitter who calls herself Activist Mommy filmed herself burning the magazine, saying that the teen vogue writers had their “head in the gutter.”
After the negative responses to the article, many people stood up for the post, such as the digital editor of Teen Vogue magazine, Phillip Picardi. Picardi tweeted on July 14th, just 7 days after the magazine’s post was originally published: “How can you expect young women to not get pregnant without access to reproductive health care?” He argues the point that it is important to teach young kids about how to have safe sex, and be taught basic sex education.
Schools across the United States as well as other places in the world are being restricted to the one course of abstinence-only, and some students here in AISD want to change that.
“Kids are going to be having sex whether adults like it or not,” Jones said. “I just wish that schools had taught me that sex was okay to talk about. I would be hushed if a question was considered too vulgar or inappropriate, and I wish that they had made it a more comfortable environment.”