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We Are Not Sticky Tape: The Problem with Today’s Sex Ed

Collegiettes, we are well aware that college is not only a time for academic exploration, but also a time to try out new relationships and hook-ups. While it is perfectly okay for us to have different personal perspectives on sex, it is not okay for all of us to have a different version of sex education. Sex is a very important decision in a modern woman’s life, and we should be given the necessary information to make choices in an objective and factual way. Instead, the lack of national attention to the requirements of sex education in schools has led to misinformation, lack of discussion, and negative pressure on women.

The Stats

Shockingly, only 22 states require sex ed to be taught in public schools, the federal government only financially supports abstinence-only programs, and oftentimes students might only be taught about STDs, but not contraception. Many high schools also ban the demonstration on how to use condoms, and only 19 states demand that their sex ed information be medically accurate.   All of this breeds an uneven culture of sexual knowledge, leaving some students well-informed, but most in the dark when they reach the hook-up permeated college level.

The Dangers

Besides the unpreparedness for sexual activity, skewed sex ed programs also lead to even more dangerous labels and perceptions. For instance, a popular metaphor for sex that is often used in more conservative schools is the idea of women as a piece of tape; each time she is with a new partner, she looses some of her stickiness, until, at last, she is left damaged and useless. The same metaphor has been used by referring to women as dirty sneakers or chewed gum. This type of explanation is an academically supported form of slut-shaming, a problem modern women today deal with as they enter an already unequal sexual society that defines women as either “sluts” or “prudes.” By starting these preconceptions as early as middle school, sexual education classes – in which judgment regarding sex should be excluded – are promoting the sexist culture collegiettes are trying to end.

What to Do

While we may not have personal power over the national standards for sex education, we can improve our knowledge on a micro level by getting the correct information for ourselves and our friends when it comes to sexual health. We also need to band together as independent young women to combat the negative labels attached to us sexually, and to promote a judgment-free environment that allows females to express (or not express) themselves sexually in whatever way they decide. 

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Megan Schmit

Wake Forest

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