Why teach sex-ed this way?

Historically, sex education in schools focused on the way the human body changes as we mature, and also on the science of conception. When it came to sexual activity, the belief was to discourage teens from being sexually active until they were ready for a committed relationship. Not only that, but the risks involved in increased sexual activity among teens, such as unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and HIV, are proven. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. reported in 2013 that “nearly half of the 19 million new STDs each year are among young people aged 15–24 years.”10 Nearly half. That’s not a trend anyone would want to see continue.

Today, the approach is called Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE). CSE experts and teachers insist that teens, like adults, are capable of making personal decisions as long as they know about sexuality and have access to contraceptives. The way to fight sexually transmitted infections and teen pregnancies, they say, is to provide teens with information and contraceptives and teach them skills like how to say “no” and how to put on a condom. This belief is evident in the descriptions of CSE given by organizations like the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) 11 and the Sex Information and Education Council of Canada (SIECCAN).12

Words like “explore”, “experiment” and “discover” are being used along with descriptions of sexual behavior. In other words, adult learning strategies are being applied to children in the belief that they’ll make similar decisions. What’s wrong with this belief?


Click here to learn about the concerns with Comprehensive Sex Education.



10 “Adolescent and School Health,” last modified June 12, 2014, http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/sexualbehaviors/

11 “Comprehensive Sexuality Education.” http://www.unfpa.org/comprehensive-sexuality-education

12 Canada.  Ministry of Public Health.  Canadian Guidelines for Sexual Health Education. [Ottawa], 2008.  Accessed December 26, 2014.   http://www.sieccan.org/pdf/guidelines-eng.pdf