Tag Archives: sex education

TSD Ep 35 – Interview with Upcoming Sex Educator Marshall Richey

This week Jenna talks to a fellow Sex Educator, Marshall, about his journey to want to help others.  Find out where he learned about sex and what he feels is the most important thing when it comes to sex. I bet it’s not what you think! He opens up about his past struggle with premature ejaculation and what technique he used to over come it.  Jenna shares her path to becoming a sex educator and why she is so passionate about sexual health. Marshall asks the burning sex question he has had since 17 – does size really matter? Tune in to find out the answer and hear about one man’s past to help those in the future! Check out his upcoming blog, Sexcellence, here.

Importance of comprehensive sex education in schools

Recently John Oliver of Late Last Week tackled the topic of abstinence-only sex education in American schools and how schools promote a purity culture. Basically it means, being a virgin until marriage is a moral accomplishment. Why is this what we want our youth to strive too? Why isn’t our focus on raising knowledgeable, happy, healthy sexual beings? The worst part is the fact that these programs get federal funding to promote abstinence only education. How much funding are we talking about? The V abstinence-only-until-marriage program allocated $50 million a year in mandatory funding for five years (2010-2014) for a total of $250 million! That is a lot of dough to be putting towards a curriculum that doesn’t even work! You can read more about the history of federal funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage program here.

Not only do schools get funded to provide abstinence only sex-ed, only 22 states mandate sex education and ONLY 13 REQUIRE IT TO BE MEDICALLY ACCURATE!!!! Could you imagine if we didn’t have to learn the accurate history of WWl or WWll? This standard would not be allowed in another other subject. So why is it allowed in sex-ed? I learned a ton of stuff in school that I have not had to use since I graduated but yet we were forced to learn growing up. When is the last time you graphed quadratic formulas? Probably not since you took that class! I will save my rant on how school doesn’t prepare you for the real world (like teach students how to file taxes or balance a cheque book) for another day. So my question is – how come comprehensive sex education isn’t one of those things that is mandatory for every student to learn? Do we not have a right to learn about our bodies? We learn everything else about our bodies and how they work except our sexuality. To me, it is one of the most fundamental things everyone should be taught. We are living in our bodies 24/7 and have the right to know how our bodies work in all capacities. Sex is something that is inevitable that will happen to most people at some point in their life. They should be given the tools and information to make an informed decision that is right for them instead of being almost bullied or feared into abstaining from sex until marriage.

For me, the proof is in the pudding.  It’s statistically proven that states that promote abstinence-only sex-education have higher rates of teen pregnancy. In the United States there are 26 adolescent pregnancies per 1000 15-19 year olds and in Sweden there are only 6%. Although the United States rate dropped about 10% since 2012, its still significantly higher than any other industrialized country. There is a direct correlation between the type of sex education adolescents receive and rates of teen pregnancy. This should not surprise anyone. If youth do not learn how to engage in safe sex and know different forms of contraception then when they do it (because stats show 50% of them will!), there is a much higher chance of them not using a condom (because they have not been told about them, let alone taught how to use one properly) or another form of effective contraception. If we look at abstinence only education in the states compared to comprehensive sex education in Sweden there are significant differences which are in favour of the latter. According to an article posted on thinkprogress.org “researchers at the University of Washington found that teenagers who received some type of comprehensive sex education were 60 percent less likely to get pregnant or get someone else pregnant. And in 2007, a federal report showed that abstinence-only programs had “no impacts on rates of sexual abstinence” (2012).

sex ed in the states

Why is prevention of teen pregnancy so important? The Centre for Disease and Control (CDC) listed these important points:

Teen pregnancy and childbearing bring substantial social and economic costs through immediate and long-term impacts on teen parents and their children.

  • In 2010, teen pregnancy and childbirth accounted for at least $9.4 billion in costs to U.S. taxpayers for increased health care and foster care, increased incarceration rates among children of teen parents, and lost tax revenue because of lower educational attainment and income among teen mothers.
  • Pregnancy and birth are significant contributors to high school drop out rates among girls. Only about 50% of teen mothers receive a high school diploma by 22 years of age, versus approximately 90% of women who had not given birth during adolescence.
  • The children of teenage mothers are more likely to have lower school achievement and drop out of high school, have more health problems, be incarcerated at some time during adolescence, give birth as a teenager, and face unemployment as a young adult.

So much funding that goes into abstinence based sex education in order to prevent our youth from teen pregnancy and STIs but instead the youth are still engaging in sexual activity but without using effective contraception and the result is costing the government and you (the tax payers) even more money to support them. Instead of trying to prevent them from having sex all together, we should be giving comprehensive information so they can make informed decisions if/when they decide to become sexually active. Youth will be more likely to use effective contraception the first and future times they engage in sexual activity and statistically proven to hold off having sex until later compared to those who received abstinence based education.

This segment is exactly why I am working towards becoming a Sexual Health Educator. I believe we need to empower our youth to have the tools and knowledge to make informed decisions no matter what they are. I believe everyone has the right to learn about their bodies and to have sexually healthy and satisfying relationships at any age. Although Canada has more comprehensive sex education than the states it still has a long way to go. We need to make sure comprehensive sex ed is in every school (not just public) and available to all youth. Knowledge about our bodies and sexuality to become healthy sexual beings in a basic human right. Lets work together to make this available to everyone.

Here is the John Olivier clip:

For additional reading Rolling Stone put out a great article on this segment and you can read it here.