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If you’ve ever checked out the subreddit r/sex it’s clear that a lot of people have a lot of honest, healthy questions that need answering. Everything from “What’s normal anyway?” and “How the hell do you shave your privates?” to “Have you ever used your stuffed animal for masturbation?”
And you call this education? It really shouldn’t be a surprise that r/sex is the new go-to advisor for the sexually curious as sex education in the United States is an unscientific, convoluted garbage fire of wildly different policies with no base curriculum. Cosmopolitan recently dropped a multi-part series on the state of sex ed in the country and the findings are more frightening than waiting for the results from that first STI test. (Get checked, people!)
Some students make it to college with no sex ed whatsoever, as just 24 states and Washington, D.C. require it. Only 13 states have rules stipulating the information provided has to be medically accurate. In many districts where it is included, the focus is abstinence-only education that ignores basic facts and reality about how real U.S. teens behave. Pre-marital sex has been nearly universal among Americans for decades, and, based on the latest research, abstinence-only sex ed is likely both ineffective and unethical.
Lies my teacher told me – The Trump Administration is promoting abstinence-only programs over other forms of sex ed, but many of the providers have been shown to relay misleading, stigmatizing and flat out false information. In seven states teachers are specifically prohibited from discussing anything related to LGBTQ relations or issues, and only six states mandate the topic of consent be addressed in the coursework. Some programs claim people who have sex with any more than one partner will start to lose their ability to bond with others and form a lasting relationship. Various abstinence-focused programs skew or misrepresent facts, one telling students that condoms are 85% effective when used correctly when the actual figure is 98%. Still, other programs perpetuate victim-blaming stereotypes by focusing on women as the gatekeepers of sex, like Heritage Keepers, which advises girls to “choose your clothes, expressions, and gestures carefully” and to make sure “the messages you send match your values.”
With “education” like this, is it any wonder chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are on the rise again after falling off during the 90s?