Let’s talk about what?

Thisanjali Gangoda

It’s on the television and in movies and is almost as blatant as the fact that whatever you’re watching lacks in plot or appropriate character development. It’s a constant theme riddled in lyrics of music of all different styles and genres. It’s written about in books and is debated on radio shows. It’s hyped up and down in conversation, yet is spoken of in hushed tones.

Sex is everywhere, but in the United States more than 11 percent of students haven’t had some form of sex education. Of this percentage of students, only one-third has received proper instruction about how to use contraceptives. Why is it that in 2009 we are still struggling as a nation to implement comprehensive sex education for all?

With as many as 850,000 teen pregnancies occurring and 9.1 million teens experiencing sexually transmitted diseases a year, it shouldn’t be that difficult to do the math and reason that teenagers have sex. They’re curious about exploring their sexual natures and have a right to understand sex and sexual habits to their fullest.

Despite race, religion, ethnicity, moral upbringing and age, sex is an act that knows no societal bounds when under the covers. It’s time for society to accept this fact, and instead of wallowing in the “horrors” of pre-martial sex and teenage “irresponsibility,” society should in turn work toward establishing open dialogue.

Sex is a complex matter that shouldn’t be taken lightly and is deeply imbedded in how we view our relationships with ourselves and with others. The science and psychology of sex continues to develop and become accepted by the general public; therefore, it doesn’t make sense to refuse such knowledge to the most likely of sexual engagers.

What harm does it do to be open about sex? If your argument is that it fosters more sexual activity and unnecessary family burdens, then you are blindsided by religious finger-wagging, politics and media. People have a right to comprehensive sex education so they can make conscious, healthy decisions about sex.

Statistically, when people are given comprehensive sex education, the risks of unplanned pregnancy and dangerous sexual activities are significantly lowered. Yet the United States government and private companies continue to pour billions of dollars into abstinence-only programs every year. Abstinence-only programs are the most disastrous and illogical programs for dealing with the most inherent, human act there is. Though teenagers have the right to understand the idea of abstaining from sex until marriage, it doesn’t in any way guarantee that they’ll know how to be safe if they choose not to remain abstinent. And honestly, they’re more likely to choose the latter of the two.

What good does it do for society to chide and scare teenagers of the consequences of sex? Do we still not understand the very definition of teenagers and all that they’re capable of?

I personally believe that the most effective programs of sex education are abstinence programs – not abstinence-only programs- coupled with sex education programs. Teenagers can then take the time to think about waiting to have sex until marriage while also understanding the options they have if they choose not to wait.

The more choices and knowledge a person has, the more able they are to do what’s best for themselves and others. There’s no shame in openly discussing the choices you have. So why not, let’s talk about sex.

Thisanjali Gangoda is a senior political science major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].