Start effective sex education before college

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Northwestern Sex Week exemplifies how open NU and many other colleges are in their discussion of issues relating to sex and sexuality. The honest approach I have seen at a school where people collect condoms and lubricant as they walk into a burlesque show on a Saturday night is indicative of a student body that is prepared to make decisions about sex. Unfortunately, this strongly contrasts with the intimidating approach found in many high schools. Many come to college without being informed about topics that should have been covered in high school.

“Don't have sex because you will get pregnant and die!” is more than just a line from "Mean Girls." It is not far from what many NU students I have spoken to were taught in high school. This is not to say there are not instances of effective sexual education in schools. However, improvement is needed. The scare tactics used in high school health keep students from trusting their educators and learning what they need to know to be prepared for college.

With young people accounting for half of all new infections of sexually transmitted diseases, sexual education needs to be introduced at younger ages. Students come to college uninformed about STDs and begin engaging in sexual behavior — or worse, they have already been infected in high school. For instance, one study found at least one in four teenage girls in America has an STD.

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