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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Denison chapter.

Do you remember when your high school teacher told you the ins and outs of sex, and the different types of contraception and protection options that were available? Yeah, neither do I. Because it never happened. 

In my health class in high school, we went over the reproductive system, and the instructor told us that people had a vagina or a penis, not including the possibility of being intersex. We never got that banana demonstration that showed us how to use a condom like in the movies. I didn’t even know what a dental dam was until I looked them up online. Us girls weren’t told what precautions to take in order to avoid an unwanted pregnancy, or the options that were available upon finding out if you did end up pregnant. For some reason unknown, sex is such a taboo subject. It’s taught to be dirty and bad, and we are always told to simply abstain from it. Teaching only abstinence to a group full of teens going through puberty doesn’t seem very well thought out. Why aren’t we being taught the pleasurable aspects of sex, or how to have safe sex? We need to separate the religious ideals of sex from the medical aspect. Only being taught abstinence does not work, and it never will.

According to the Guttmacher Institution, there are 39 states that have mandated sexual education and/or HIV education in schools. 27 mandate both, 2 states mandate sex ed only, and 10 states mandate only HIV education. And get this, out of the states that have sex ed or HIV programs, only 17 states require the content that’s being taught needs to be medically accurate. Yes, you read that correctly. And from that same number, only 3 states prohibit religion from being promoted during sexual education, which usually includes the promotion of only abstinence. If you’d like to learn more, the link above has a lot more stats, laid out in a clear way. 

People wonder why the pregnancy rate in teens is high in the U.S., or why people don’t know the basic anatomy when they have sex, such as; the whereabouts of the clit. But, if we aren’t being taught these things, how are we supposed to safely and positively navigate through our sex lives as adults? Education is meant to guide. If this education is being censored, and we aren’t getting the information we need, how does that help anyone? It leaves students trying to learn more about it through other outlets that might not be as realistic. The most popular way for a boy to learn about sex is from free online porn. Sure, porn isn’t bad, but it’s not the most ideal way to introduce someone to sex, since it creates false ideas of what sex entails in the real world.

My point is, the U.S needs to reconsider the mandates on sexual education and provide it to all students in every state. Sex should not be as taboo a subject as it is. 

If you want to learn more about sex, contraception, different methods of protection and literally anything else about it, I’ve linked some sites below that are awesome resources for anyone! There is no shame in wanting to learn more about sexual health, or not knowing something. I highly suggest just exploring these websites, and learning more!


  1. www.wildflowersex.com

  2. https://www.scarleteen.com/

  3. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/teens#

Olivia Mize

Denison '22

Hello! I’m Olivia, a student at Denison University, born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. I'm majoring in Anthropology & Sociology with a Studio Art minor. I enjoy watching movies, painting, and drawing.