Sex education is a course that provides knowledge and shapes one person’s attitude and beliefs towards sexual identity, relationships, intimacy and sex. It is about the expansion of the person’s abilities to gain information for the choices he prefers.
Debates about this proposed added course by the Department of Education (DepEd) for elementary and high school students here in the Philippines has been talk of the town for quite some time. Although the DepEd had explained that the course would not talk about sex as the act itself but the science of reproduction, physical care, correct values and the norms of interpersonal relations, sex education is still being questioned for its essence.
Curiosity is a part of every child’s growth. Some adults are afraid with the threat of opening up the topic about sex because it may lead to sexual experimentation. Morality is also an issue in a very conservative and religious Christian country like ours. Their main concern is to not encourage the youth to try having sex at a very early age and until they are married.
These fears are understandable, but prohibiting the youth’s right to acquire information about matters regarding their sexuality and relations to others can be more harmful. Harms such as unwanted pregnancies and infection with sexually transmitted diseases (STD) including HIV and AIDS are the main reason why ignorance on sex education is being blamed.
Sex education aims to endow awareness among the youth especially the teenagers; adding the right information to their existing knowledge and correcting the wrong facts they may have heard. Misinformation can put these teenagers at a greater risk.
Parents, guardians, and teachers are the most trusted informant to teenagers. Peers are helpful too because teens get to exchange thoughts and ideas comfortably but the details aren’t always accurate and the reliability of the information is questioned.
Teenagers should be taught about sexual development and education, relationships, contraception, birth control, abortion and sexuality. Aside from these, teens should also be informed about the collection of sources they can turn to on providing advices and support within the community/society.
Studies in other countries have shown great improvement on the reduction of STD and teenage pregnancy cases after the implementation of sexual education. Sex education is important to start at a young age and should also be sustained. The basic information given to the youth is a foundation on which more drawn-out awareness is built up over time.