Table of Contents:
- Short Intro
- What is Sex Education?
- Why Sex Education Important for Teenagers
- Is Sex Education Effective?
- What are the Issues with Abstinence-only-until-Marriage Programs?
- Dispelling the Myths about Sexuality Education
- The State of Sex Education in the Philippines
- Impact of Limited Access to Sex Education
Ah…Sex Education. The one topic that parents or even adults are most likely to skip when they’re having the “grown-up talk” with teenagers. One thing we are sure of is that sex education is important and it should not be a taboo topic when it comes to “grown-up talk” with your younger cousins, kids, nieces, and nephews. If you’re familiar with the Sex Education series, we sure know that you know what we are talking about!
In this article, we will have a deep dive into what Sex Education is and how it can help teenagers make great decisions about their bodies and sexual health. Moreover, we will also tackle how Sex Education is being taught in our country, given that the Philippines is leaning toward the conservative side when it comes to these topics.
Gird your loins, ladies and gents! You’re in for a Sex Education fun trip with us, your Jellytime besties!
What is Sex Education?
According to Planned Parenthood, “Sex Education is high-quality teaching and learning about broad variety of topics related to sex and sexuality”. In addition, SexEd for teenagers can be taught in schools, at home, and community.
According to healthyteennetwork.org, Sex Education “gives young people age-appropriate, medically accurate information and answers to their questions about sex and relationships without being shamed or judged.” Meaning, that SexEd is helpful for teens to navigate their lives and to know themselves deeper without them making feel bad about themselves.
It usually covers:
- Human Development (Puberty, Anatomy, SOGIE);
- Relationships towards self and other people;
- Personal Skills (Communication, Boundary-setting, Negotiation, and Decision-making);
- Sexual Behavior; and
- Society and Culture
Comprehensive Sex Ed is integral in a teen’s self-discovery and development because it builds a safer, inclusive society that won’t judge them with their wise choices and decisions that can help them later on in life.
Why Sex Education is Important for Teenagers
It is crucial for teens to have SexEd so that it can help them make correct decisions towards themselves and other people. Here are the importance of a comprehensive Sex Education that will be helpful when you’re talking to Gen Zs and the Alpha Generation:
Comprehensive SexEd provides information that can help teens in their sexuality and sexual health. It can make them more knowledgable and aware of sexually related diseases and how their bodies function. It equips young people with correct information and essential knowledge to make informed decisions about their sexual health.
Comprehensive SexEd also focuses on the importance of healthy relationships, respect (self-respect and respect for other people), communication, and boundaries. Moreover, SexEd also teaches teens how to have a healthy emotional response to themselves and to others, and also, how to navigate intimate connections toward the one they like.
In addition, SexEd also helps young people to show some love and respect for other’s right to bodily autonomy, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
A study from New York shows that having comprehensive SexEd can lower unwanted teenage pregnancies. In their study, when teens are equipped of knowing their sexual health and their body, the unwanted pregnancies were lowered by 3%.
It shows that having SexEd makes teenagers create more responsible choices towards sex.
Teaching about STIs and STDs when talking about SexEd can reduce the spread of infections and diseases among teenagers – especially the sexually active ones.
Comprehensive SexEd promotes and teaches young people to love and respect their bodies, and have full autonomy in their bodies. High self-esteem and empowerment of teens can make them more active and more participative in their everyday lives, especially in academics, according to a study.
Consent and the understanding of it is crucial in a teenager’s development. The earlier they know about consent and boundaries, the more they will be in touch with themselves. SexEd teaches the importance of mutual consent in ANY sexual activities and it also teaches the importance of respecting their own and other’s boundaries.
SexEd tackles diverse SOGIE (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Expression), cultural differences, fostering inclusivity, safe space, and understanding and reducing social stigma and discrimination towards marginalized groups.
SexEd debunks myths and misconceptions about sex and sexuality that can often lead to confusion, backward thinking, fear, or worse, risky sexual behaviors.
Overall, comprehensive SexEd equips teenagers to be more confident with their decision-making skills, knowledge of sex and sexuality, and attitudes that can help them navigate their relationships later on.
Is Sex Education Effective?
The question is: IS SEX EDUCATION EFFECTIVE? The answer is YES!
According to a study by UNESCO about Comprehensive SexEd, it has positive effects on young people by increasing their knowledge and improving their attitudes that are related to sexual and reproductive health and behaviors.
Moreover, according to another study, comprehensive SexEd helps teens understand their bodies, and making more LGBTQ-inclusive education across schools’ curriculum.
What are the issues with Abstinence-only-until-Marriage Programs?
The issue of Abstinence-only-until-Marriage programs is different from Comprehensive SexEd. Not only it is not LGBTQ-inclusive but it makes teens more “fearful” of exploring safe sexual activities. Moreover, Abstinence-only-until-Marriage programs teaches outdated roles for boys and girls.
Abstinence-only-until-Marriage programs are harmful to teach teens because not only are they outdated, but they use fear whenever contraceptives or safe sex methods are being tackled, unlike Comprehensive SexEd which is safe, inclusive, and thinks of the young people as adults capable of choosing responsible decisions and has full autonomy and knowledge of themselves and other people.
Dispelling The Myths about Sexuality Education
Curious about the Myths and the Truth about SexEd? This might help you! Here are some of the myths and claims about SexEd that are debunked and the real truth about it!
Myth: SexEd encourages teens to have sex earlier and have more risky sex
Fact: FALSE. Providing information about young people’s sex health, sexual behaviors, and sexuality makes them more confident in making sexual decisions and makes them more knowledgeable.
Myth: SexEd is just about sex
Fact: FALSE. SexEd not only teaches sex but it also teaches teens about their bodies and about human relationships! It also teaches human anatomy, autonomy, respect, safety, kindness, and everything that is needed to be tackled under the sun!
Myth: SexEd should be taught by parents ONLY.
Fact: FALSE. Even if parents are the first adults and the guardians of teenagers, community – teachers, higher ups, and responsible adults included play important roles when it comes to SexEd. Remember, young people have so many questions when it comes to SexEd so it takes a community to create a well-informed young adult!
These myths are the most important myths that have been debunked so we are pretty sure that once you’ve read this, you are in the right path towards educating teens about SexEd!
The State of Sex Education in the Philippines
You might be surprised but yes, we have Comprehensive SexEd in the Philippines BUT it is making a slow progress in embracing it because we are too conservative when it comes to these talks. According to DepEd, they are pushing to make the Comprehensive SexEd compulsory in ALL levels of basic education and to standardize it so that it will battle the increase of teenage pregnancy in the country. In addition, if the Comprehensive SexEd law be passed and approved, it will include age and development appropriate topics such as human sexuality, media literacy, consent, and adolescent reproductive health, among others.
Even if other government agencies are pushing for Comprehensive SexEd, we should also pressure the congress and the senate to be more proactive in approving this curriculum because not only is it helpful for the future of our teens but moreover, SexEd in the Philippines needs to be improved NOW so that the young people will be more well-informed and knowledgable.
Impact of Limited Access to Sex Education
- General Impact
If you think SexEd is only for the rich and for the “burgis”, think again. Limited access to SexEd is harmful to the society because not only will the young people and even us more inclined to do risky sexual behaviors but we will also be boxed into the thinking that relationships are fine – even the toxic ones.
- Impact to Young Women
Limited access to SexEd is harmful most especially to young women because women bears the brunt of the effects of unsafe and unhealthy sexual practices. When these young women became pregnant, they will resort to unsafe abortion procedures, they will have no access to medical healthcare, and trauma that can resort to mental health problems.
- Impact to LGBTQIA+
Limited access to SexEd when it comes to LGBTQIA+ is that not only will they be more risky of doing unsafe sexual behaviors but they will also be exposed to having sexual transmitted infections and diseases that may lead to more severe cases of STIs or STDs. Moreover, without access to SexEd, the LGBTQIA+ teens will more likely be exposed in having HIV or AIDS.
- Impact to Marginalized Groups
Limited access to SexEd in Marginalized Groups is that teens will be most likely be pushed in starting a family at an early age and that they will not have family planning. In addition, limited access to SexEd in marginalized groups is that they will be more prone to sexual assault and sexual violence.
These impacts of limited access to SexEd can be avoided and can be lessened if the Philippines will be more hardworking in protecting the welfare of our youth in terms of sex and sexual health.
In conclusion, SexEd gives young people their full autonomy towards their body without them making feel judged or shamed. It also helps the Gen Zs and the Alpha Generation to be more mindful towards their needs, to have well-informed decisions, and to be more respectful to themselves and other people.
Remember, just like what we said earlier, it takes a community to create a well-informed and responsible young adult, so let’s think of the future of our younger generation and let us push for a more comprehensive SexEd to help them achieve their goals!