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

Some high schools within our country are huge advocates for abstinence-till-marriage sex education and while it does not seem like the biggest deal, there are severe problems with it. It has been proven that abstinence only sex education fails at meeting its goals of reducing teen pregnancy, STD and STI outbreaks. Abstinence only sex education teaches young adults and teens that they should wait until marriage to have sex. The overall idea is not an awful one. What hurts abstinence only sexual education programs is that they do not teach students about contraceptives, and ways to prevent STDs and STIs.

Photo Credit: Alexis Corbello

There is nothing wrong with waiting until marriage to have sex, but it’s dangerous to get everyone to conform to such an idea and to assume that everyone will comply with it. Many teenagers and young adults want to have sex with little regard as to when they do it. No matter how much it is forced upon them or encouraged by their schools and families, there will always be the chance that young adults just won’t listen. Teens are known for rebelling against authority, it’s no surprise that some would reject the idea of waiting until marriage to have sex. If schools want to encourage abstinence then they have every right to, but they should also make their students aware of contraceptive aids, and the prevention of STDs and STIs.

Talking about sex is difficult and can be extremely awkward at times. It can be difficult to accept that these young people are at an age where sex is on the brain a lot of the time. The bottom line is, that no matter how awkward it is, the talk needs to happen from both schools and parents. Teenagers need to learn about their bodies so that they can properly take care of them and keep themselves healthy. It would be best if “The Talk” was handled by both parents and schools. This needs to be a collaborative effort from both parties as well as those being taught.

Teenagers themselves are aware that this system needs to change. They are smarter than many adults give them credit for. Clayton Ginger is a high school senior at Franklin High School in El Paso, Texas (an abstinence-only sex education state). He said in regard to his feelings on this issue, “I think there would be boundaries to break, other than ‘don’t have sex kids’… How much can you go in depth on something so simple?” He’s right. There are walls that definitely need to be torn down and there are certain conversations that need to happen. Sex education does not need to be as complicated as people sometimes think it needs to be. Teach these young people how to protect themselves and others when engaging in sexual activity. Have faith in your kids, and that they will do the right thing.

Another troubling part of abstinence-only education is that there are some pretty important lawmakers running our country that still believe in it. President Donald Trump just proposed the 75 million dollars of the education budget for 2019 go towards abstinence-only sex education. This is highly concerning. As established earlier, abstinence-only sex ed does not yield the results that it aims for. This isn’t about enforcing rules, or political agendas, this is about the safety and health of the young people across America. The youth of our country wants to stay healthy, so the older generations have the responsibility of teaching them how to do so. Teenagers should not have to learn about sex through the internet or their slightly unqualified peers. They should not have to face the consequences of STDs, STIs or unplanned pregnancies at such a young age. If they decide that they are old enough and mature enough to have sex, then they should be educated on it from the adults that they are meant to trust.


Raised in El Paso, TX, an avid feminist that loves her dog and the written word.