In today’s society one has to try to determine whether we as adults are adequately preparing our young adults and teenagers for the responsibilities of adult hood, specifically when it come to relationships, sexual education available to them, and sexual intercourse. We are going to look at a few topics that need to be answered to see whether we are truly preparing our next generation appropriately to become parents and well informed young adults. The questions we seek to answer are: Are people who have their first child at a younger age more likely to favor sex education in public schools than people who have children at a later age; Are people of a younger age more likely to support the use of birth control use of teenagers than people of a later age; and Are people more likely to favor premarital sex amongst young adults over premarital sex amongst teenagers?
Trying to understand how modern society relates to the subject of sex education can help guide and mold our next generation of young parents and adults. This is important to help young adults evolve from the common idiom of allowing history to repeat ones mistakes. If one does not take steps to inform them, then we are condemning them to repeat our past mistakes, by educating them and molding them to be prepared for young adulthood we can help prevent unwanted pregnancies, stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, and hopefully give them a better start to their adult lives.
Why do we, as a modern society, want to provide sex education to our children? Well the simple truth is many of us older adults are not educated enough about sex to teach them what sexually transmitted diseases there are out there, many adults tend to be afraid to let their children know what we did at their age, and some of us really are not prepared to explain how, for my case, how an opposite sex partners body works. We need educated people to inform our children about many of these things. Birth control in my day was way different than it is today, that is why we rely heavily on doctors to prescribe what is right for a young adult female. Now as a father of a now 20 year boy, I could and did have a pretty in-depth talk with my son about condom use and some of the things that I know but it was not near as much as what a teacher in a school has for information for them to learn.
This is going to date me, but back when I was growing up our sex education class was part of home economics. We had a flour bag baby with an egg in the center of flour bag. We had to carry that 5lb bag with us everywhere we went for six weeks, change its clothes daily and manage to get a diaper on it. If the flour baby was not being tended to at all times we would fail the parenting portion of the sex education class. Now this was very difficult as a male and an active member of the high school football team. Not all males were required to take this course in high school back then, but I chose to because this is where I could learn to be a better person than what I had as an example as a father. Plus it was useful information learning how to do things like cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, sewing, and oh yea, best part was that there were lots of girls in the class that admired the few guys that chose to take the class. Back in our time, sex education was more teaching of abstinence only, but we had a teacher that also wanted you to know what to do in case you did have intercourse and you and your partner conceived a child. As I grew older I came to appreciate this teacher that taught the whole spectrum of the sex education verses only abstinence. Now that I have a teenage daughter, I also want her to know everything that she can about sex education to prepare herself for her future adult life. Since being a single father, sometimes there are things that she is embarrassed to ask me so I have to rely on female friends and the public schooling system to answer some of those questions.
As one may see this topic is important to me because I have young adult children and I want them to be prepared and well informed prior to experiencing sexual intercourse for the first time. I am sorry but I am not ready to become a grandpa until they finish college themselves. With my daughter, I worry she will be heavily influenced into doing things she knows she should wait on, especially when I send her off to college. I just want her prepared for that stage in her life.
While trying to decide how to write this paper I ran across some very interesting articles that I would like to share with you, the reader. The first one was titled “Consequences of Sex Education on Teen and Young Adult Sexual Behaviors and Outcomes” by Laura Duberstein Lindberg and Isaac Maddow-Zimet which discussed the effectiveness of formal sex education, regardless of the type, on teens and young adults and the sexual health behaviors and the outcomes that where found as a result. The survey was conducted with both male and females between the ages of 15 and 24. Utilizing the 2006-2008 National Survey of Family Growth with a data pool of a total of 4,691 surveyed. The study was trying to answer whether formal sex education has an effect on when the first vaginal intercourse occurs if received before their first sexual encounter and if the encounter was more controlled by use of birth control.
The dependant variables that were surveyed to allow for this research topic to be answered which were the timing of the first vaginal intercourse, contraceptive use at first sex, and condom use at first sex, partnership selection as to whether it was a romantic partner or a casual partner, an age discrepant on the partner of 3 years variance, or unwanted first sex, measured lifetime and current sexual reproductive health indicators at the time of interview including having 6 or more sexual partners, ever been or gotten someone pregnant, sexual transmitted infections treatment in the past 12 months, and use of contraceptives at the last sex encounter. The others were age at time of interview, race/ethnicity, poverty level, mothers education, living arrangements at age of 14, community type, and frequency of attendance of religious services at age 14.(1)
Utilizing all these variables, the author was able to see that formal sex education does in fact assist some in the prolonging of the first sexual experience than that of the individual who did not have any formal training and shows that the use of contraceptives and condoms are more likely to be utilized by those who have had some sort of formal sex education training verses those who have not. The survey additionally shows a higher rate of lower income Black and Hispanic people not having the formal sex education training with a higher than normal number occurrences of Sexual transmitted infections and teenage pregnancies.
The next article I reviewed was “What if You Already Know Everything About Sex?” Content Analysis of Questions From Early Adolescents in a Middle School Sex Education Program by Linda Charmaraman, Alice J. Lee, and Sumru Ekrut. The assessment conducted was to see just how much sixth graders really knew about sex already. Based on data collected in the greater Boston area in eight schools utilizing the Get Real: Comprehensive Sex Education that Works Curriculum, with the approval of an institutional review board, parental consent, and assent all six graders from the eight schools participated in anonymous questions about the curriculum. The questions that they were trying to answer were what sex-related topics do early adolescents ask about anonymously, which issues related to sex are of most concern to early adolescents, and how does the school context affect the types of questions raised. This was conducted to allow health care providers information on the conversations that may need to be addressed with early adolescents.
The result varied to show that curiosity still had a lot of play from everything to pre-awareness and avoidance to more advanced questions into specific and explicit in nature. Students in larger higher risk schools were more likely to ask more specific questions verses the students in the smaller less risked schools. In classrooms were it was a single sex environment allowed for more specific questions as well.
Since this research type was not pre based questions, the crew had one
researcher enter in the precedence of the coding, and two others crossed checked the coding and all three debated until all were happy with the appropriate coding for each groups of questions that the students asked. Over all I would say that the research shows that even at the young age of sixth graders, more needs to be done to teach adolescent youths the birds and the bees at an age appropriate level more often than it is currently happening in society. One approach that may need more research may be to host single-sex sex education classes as to allow more students to ask more explicit questions. Another topic that may need to be addressed in more detail would be sex education to all students especially in the urban, lower income neighborhoods that tend to have a higher risk of early pregnancies and sexual transited infections.
The third article I reviewed was “An exploratory study of Muslim adolescents’ views on sexuality: Implications for sex education and prevention” by Chris Smerecnik, Herman Schaalma, Kok Gerjo, Suzanne Meijer, and Jos Poelman. This article was created utilizing an exploratory qualitative study in the Netherlands to access current views on Muslim adolescents about sexuality. The research was mainly conducted to see how to approach Muslim adolescents about sex education with the questions to be addressed being the current views of Muslim adolescents on sexuality, who to and to what extent do Muslim views differ from the views of non-Muslim adolescents, and to hope to learn whether existing approaches to sex education among Muslim adolescents are likely to be successful or a new approach could be identified to assist in the education of the Muslim adolescents. (3)
This research was conducted solely on the internet in a forum set up on the STI-AIDS Netherlands (Expertise Center for HIV/AIDS and other STIs). In this particular forum “Islam & Sexuality” offered general information on sexuality, STI’s, and prevention. Targeted age for the forum was to be Muslim teens and young adults between the age of 14 and 24. The research was gathered for the analysis from June 2004 to September of 2005. To be Muslim sensitive and prevent any disparities on judgments, an Imam, was utilized for the discussion as well as two other trained monitors. All discussions were anonymous with the exception of whether the person was a male or a female, and Muslim or non-Muslim. Everyone else was weeded out of the survey resulting in only 44 Muslim and 33 non-Muslim participants being surveyed.
Topics of analysis were sex outside of marriage, Inter-religious relationships, masturbation, homosexuality, and abortion. On the subject of sex outside of marriage it was interesting to note that although Muslim’s believe sex outside of marriage is a taboo, there is a double standard at play were many males do have sex outside of marriage but say it is definitely wrong for females to do so. Non-Muslims did not have any issues with sex outside of marriage. Inter-religious relationships are a true problem for Muslims because they are taught that parent’s approval is absolute in order to marry and Muslim tradition is to not marry outside of the religious circle. Non-Muslims did not have a problem with marrying someone of other religions since they seek love in a partner not religion. Masturbation in Muslim communities is forbidden and treated the same as sex before marriage therefore not allowed or condoned. Non-Muslims argued that this is a way to relieve sexual tension and is okay to do. Homosexuality was not given unto a person as they were born and therefore is not condoned in the Muslim faith. Non-Muslims seemed to express it is a trait you are born with and free to explore. Abortion was not only a problem with a Muslim person; it becomes an issue for the entire Muslim family, whereas non-Muslims portrayed it as a problem only amongst the female and the male who conceived the child.
As one may expect, the results of the analysis shows there is a long ways to go to getting Muslim youth more sexually educated since they teach absentness is essential to Islamic law and traditions forbid the discussion of certain topics. One may try to approach the religious leaders to see how this topic can be discussed in a religious sensitive manner, and allow the religious leaders to talk to the parents for input on how to create an educational class that would be appropriate to not violate the Qur’an or Islamic laws that they follow.
The fourth article I reviewed was “Build a curriculum that includes everyone” by Robert McGarry. This article is about the need to incorporate a gender bias, sexuality preference bias educational curriculum as to include the topics and discussions of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender adolescents to teach all adolescents that no matter what orientation preferences one has they should be accepted and all sexual educational needs should be addressed. Of a research conducted in 2011 by GLSEN’s of 8,000 students from 6th to 12th grade most have not been taught anything positive about gays, lesbians, bisexuals, or transgender people in any curriculum.
According to the article eight states have laws prohibiting the teaching of such practices in their schools including Texas. This article also mentions that most current curriculum takes an ignoring approach to the topic as to not bring the subject up. Some have demonized such practices, and even stigmatized the preferences. By incorporating a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender curriculum starting as early as kindergarten a school could change the way many students feel towards non heterosexual people and other students as they grow together in the school. This article portrays that by doing so we as a society can change our future way of thinking as the country regenerated its society.
While I see the validity in the way the author is thinking, I agree with most of the curriculum that they are trying to introduce. The core concepts, access to information, communication, Self-management are all good topics. Teaching of anatomy, physiology, puberty, adolescent development, identity, pregnancy, reproduction, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, healthy relationships, and personal safety should be incorporated in every schools sex education class. I do have a few issues with the teaching of acceptance of all sexual orientation personally due to my religious upbringing and I also feel it is an invasion of my rights as a parent to teach my morals and values to my children. We as a society have already given in too much on losing our religious preferences with the removal of state and religion. Of course this is a different topic all together with many controversies as well since our country was founded on religious
In the article it has stated that a program was started after a 3 year controversy in a public school and put in to effect in 2007. I will be looking forward to reviewing the evaluation of the program over a 12 year period to see its effectiveness.
The fifth article I reviewed was called” The multiple choices of sex education” by Rashea Hamilton, Megan Sanders, and Eric M. Anderman. The topic of this article has to do with whether or not to give a written test after the study of sex education in the school systems. Should an exam be given or should a role play example be more feasible to allow the adolescents to learn by being shown how to avoid situations and or stand up to the pressures of their peers. The research questions that were to be looked at were simple but very difficult to answer, “Do adolescents actually implement what they learn in health education classes?” and “Do the sex education classes actually work?” (5) The biggest question of the whole article is retention of the information if it is taught as a testable technique style or if the retention would be greater if the information was taught as an introduction and show examples of the situations one could encounter and how to really deal with the situation. In the reading I also found that another question really needs to be addressed as to the uniformity of where and how the information is delivered. It was interesting to read that many inner city adolescents have a higher rate of teen pregnancies and STD infections, especially if they are from low income and single parent homes.
When conducting the research information the authors pulled their data from how many states taught what parts of sex education from the Guttmacher Institute, 2012 report. This report shows that even though the federal government provides funding for this education each state, district, and school all teach non-standardized approaches to how to get the information and to some extent what information to give out to the students/ adolescents.
To conduct the goal structures and the long term outcome in sex
education, they utilized the National Institutes of Health to sample over 5000 students in 32 high schools. They examined the goal structure of performance verses mastery that showed several important outcomes including student’s attitude towards sex, intentions to have sex, and self perceived ability to engage in safe sex behaviors. Results showed that those students mastering the sex education concept were shown or taught in a more example style technique verses the structured exam style. Life chances would be better for all young adolescents if they were more informed and were better able to actually understand the stuff they are being taught.
The last article I reviewed while researching this subject was “Abstinence-Only and Comprehensive Sex Education and the Initiation of Sexual Activity and Teen Pregnancy” by Pamela K. Kohler, Lisa E. Manhart, and William E. Lafferty. This article was a comparison of sexual health risk of adolescents who received abstinence-only sex education, those who received comprehensive sex education, and adolescents who receive no formal sex education. They looked at the age group of 15 to 19 heterosexual never married which resulted in a sample study of 1719 from the Nation Survey of Family Growth survey cycle 6(2002) .
Of the results those adolescents who received comprehensive sex education were significantly less likely to have reported a pregnancy than the adolescents who did not have formal sex education. Abstinence only training did not reduce the likely hood of sexual vaginal intercourse but comprehensive sex educated adolescents showed a marginal decrease in the adolescents having vaginal intercourse. The mean age for the study was 17. Neither abstinence only nor comprehensive sex education reduced the reporting of STD’s among this study group.
I found it interesting to learn that rates of STD, teenage pregnancy, and teen births are actually higher in the United States than most other industrialized countries. Romania and the Russian Federation were the only two countries that exceeded the United States in STD’s in the 2000 study of STD incidents among 16 countries.
Method of research came from the National Center of Health Statistics nationwide survey from Jan 2002 to March 2003. Data was collected by trained personnel from the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research through in home interviews that included audio computer assisted self interviewing. Items collected were basic demographics, knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs regarding the family planning issues, and self reported sexual behavior and any previous diagnoses of STD’s. A total of 1150 girls and 1121 boys responded to the questionnaire and special interview. They were further reduced by sorting out the none heterosexuals, marriage status, age of first intercourse if less than ten years old, or they did not meet the criteria reporting of no formal sex education, formal sex education on how to say no to sex only, or formal sex education that covered saying no to sex and birth control.
Results showed that of the sample that STD’s and no sex education were higher in the adolescent was from a low income non-intact family environment, black, and from rural areas. Comprehensive sex education was marginally associated with reduction of vaginal intercourse amongst the adolescents surveyed. Teen pregnancies were higher in older age, black race, lower household income, non central city metropolitan residence, and in non-intact families. The strongest predictor for STD’s was non-intact family unit status with a four times higher rate than others. Another results showed that the adolescents who were taught abstinence only programs found later sexual debut and that the majority of those who pledge abstinence only broke their vow to not have vaginal intercourse until they were married. They found those who had comprehensive sex education had a lower risk of teen pregnancy than those who had no formal training.
When it came to answering questions we seek to find results for we turned to the General Social Survey (GSS) database located at http://www3.norc.org/GSS+Website/Data+Analysis . We first went to the NORC Public Use Data Catalog tab, then clicked on the GSS tab, then General Social Surveys, 1972-2006 Cumulative File, then variable description,
followed by the subject index file. This data file was set up by the NORC, A Social Science Research Center at the University of Chicago, with the support of the National Science Foundation with a goal to provide a foundation for social research to have a structured orientation and to provide up to date, important, and high-quality data to social scientists, students, policy makers, and others.
To answer the first question, Are people who have their first child at a younger age more likely to favor sex education in public schools than people who have children at a later age, we utilized the information pulled from the E tab, Education, Sex Education, then SEX EDUCATION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS and the A tab, Age, At birth of first child, RS AGE WHEN 1ST CHILD BORN. To answer the second question, Are people of a younger age more likely to support the use of birth control use of teenagers than people of a later age, we pulled our information from the B tab, Birth Control, Teenagers’ use, then BIRTH CONTROL TO TEENAGERS 14-16, and from the A tab, Age, Birth Cohort, AGE OF RESPONDENT. For the third question, Are people more likely to favor premarital sex amongst young adults over premarital sex amongst teenagers, we pulled our information from the S tab, Sex, Premarital Sex, then SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE, and the S tab, Sex, Teen sex, then SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE — TEENS 14-16.
For the first question I utilized the cross tabulation chart with the dependant variable SEX EDUCATION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS and the Independent Variable RS AGE WHEN 1ST CHILD BORN. For the second question I also utilized a cross tabulation chart with the dependent variable BIRTH CONTROL TO TEENAGERS 14-16 and the Independent Variable AGE OF RESPONDENT. The third one however I utilized a side by side comparison of two variables to see the results.
In this section you will see the three research questions along with the graphs generated to answer my theories and hypothesis in order to come to my conclusion.
Question # 1: Are people who have their first child at a younger age more likely to favor sex education in public schools than people who have children at a later age?
Theory: People who have a first child at a younger age will be more likely to support sex education in public school because they may want teenagers to know more than they did when they first had sex and want them to have information to help guide them.
Hypothesis: People who had their first child at a younger age will be more likely to support sex education than those who have their first child later in life.
Dependant Variable: E: Education: Sex Education: SEX EDUCATION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS Independent Variable: A: Age: At birth of first child: RS AGE WHEN 1ST CHILD BORN
This analysis does in fact offer support for the theory that people who have a child at a younger age will be more likely to support sex education in the public school system. As seen in the chart more people tend to favor sex education in public schools up to about age 4. After age 41, less people favor the support of sex education in public school but still at least half of them do still support the sex education in public schooling.
Question # 2: Are people of a younger age more likely to support the use of birth control use of teenagers than people of a later age?
Theory: Younger people will favor the use of birth control for teenagers more than older adults due to more recent frequency of sexual encounters and lack of maturity of teenagers having riskier sexual encounters. Many young adults just came out of their teenage years and the sexual experiences they recently encountered are still fresh in their minds.
Hypothesis: People of a younger age will support the use of birth control for teenagers.
Dependent Variable: B: Birth Control: Teenagers’ use: BIRTH CONTROL TO TEENAGERS 14-16
Independent Variable: A: Age: Birth Cohort: AGE OF RESPONDENT
As seen in the graph above, younger adults do not in fact support the theory for the use of birth control by teenagers therefore our theory would not be a valid theory. We could however observe through this chart that as age progresses older people support the use of birth control by teenagers. An alternate theory that could be presented would be that older people will more likely support the use of birth control by teenagers than younger people. Possible reasoning would be because of life lessons they had to live with and may see if they would have utilized birth control at a young age they may have had different life chances that would have allowed them to pursue alternate life styles and career paths.
Question # 3: Are people more likely to favor premarital sex amongst young adults over premarital sex amongst teenagers?
Theory: Society is more acceptable to young adults having premarital sex than teenagers having premarital due to their maturity level and modern social beliefs.
Hypothesis: People are more likely to support premarital sex among young people than premarital sex among teens.
Variable 1: S: Sex: Premarital Sex: SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE
Variable 2: S: Sex: Teen sex: SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE — TEENS 14-16
Premarital SexTeens Premarital Sex
| |ies |
|Missing cases |33338 |
| | |
Teen Premarital Sex
|Valid cases |29596 |
|Missing cases |21424 |
As seen we do have support for the theory that premarital sex among young adults prior to marriage is more accepting than teenagers age 14-16 having premarital sex. In the univariate charts above People tend to agree that premarital sex for young adults is not wrong at all. While 28.2 percent say that is always wrong, 39.9 percent say that it is not wrong at all. Looking at the teenagers age 14-16 having sex however, an overwhelming 70.4 percent still believe teenagers age 14-16 should not have premarital sex while only a small 3.7 percent feel it is not wrong at all.
When looking at the graphs to answer the question of are people who have their first child at a younger age more likely to favor sex education in public schools than people who have children at a later age, we can conclude that we society in general is in fact in agreement that sex education should be part of our societies public school curriculum. The second question of are people of a younger age more likely to support the use of birth control use of teenagers than people of a later age, is not supported by younger people for some unknown reasons and in fact the opposite is actually true. Older adults support the use of teenagers using birth control. One can theorize this to be that older people are more reflective of their past and do not want teenagers to have the trials and tribunes they grew up dealing with at having to marry at a young age and start families because that is what society used to tell them was standard. Since times are changing and more women are further educated and working to make ends meet in these economic times, older adults see this as a preventative measure. For the third question as to whether people are more likely to favor premarital sex amongst young adults over premarital sex amongst teenagers, the analysis supports the theory and concludes that yes society is more able to handle a young adult having premarital sex over a teenager having premarital sex. As a father of a seventeen year old daughter, I too conclude this to be the case since I do not want my daughter to take a chance in hindering her passion to one day becomes a nurse or a veterinarian.
In my opinion after reviewing all my articles and researching the GSS data base, I am seeing the question of uniformity arises in all of them amongst all teachings. Every single article clearly states in one shape or another that we as a country need to be teaching on a universal informational playing field and this will allow each adolescent the same opportunity to gain the vast and important knowledge they need to be ready for their first vaginal intercourse. Only this will start to reduce the risk of STD’s and teen pregnancies. By asking the government to incorporate more stringent requirement on what has to be taught we can start to make this happen. Since the government only requires abstinence only program be taught to be eligible for title IV monies, many states do not go any further than they have to in order to receive the funding from the government.
Another larger issue is the very nature of when, how, and even if sex education is taught at every public school. In the articles, one of the issues that came up over and over was that many inner city and rural area youth have higher rates of teen pregnancies and STD’s. With a more consistent program maybe we can slow this trend down. Of course a little more adult supervision could help as well, but with many low income families being single parent households, this can be very difficult and we as parents have to trust our children to do right when we are not around.
When speculating what can be done to slow the progression of STD’s and teenage pregnancies I can only come to one repeated conclusion. Give the young adults and teenagers all the information available to every one of them and possibly incorporate an adult/parent orientation into the curriculum to teach the parents what they may have not known about or have forgotten over the years. Get the parent more involved in the teenagers and young adults lives and quit allowing the teenager to grow up unsupervised. Locate an activity for them to do after school until you are able to be home with them. I read a while back an article that stated most teenage pregnancies happened between four and six pm while the parents are away at work. I really wished I could have found that article to add to the reviews because it was very appropriate for this research paper.
As a father I have started looking into what our local school is teaching when I started this course and found out that it too needs many improvements. The teach-for-a-test program does not work. We, our school and parents, need to look into getting more aggressive in the training of our teenagers and young adults so we can slow the progression of teen pregnancies and STD’s. Unfortunately, living even in this small town, we have experienced a high number of teen pregnancies. I would like to see this trend change to allow these young adults and teenagers a life chance for something other than raising a baby at a young age and still living at home with the parents.
1. Duberstein, Laura, Maddow-Zimet, Isaac, (2012) Consequences of Sex Education on Teen and Young Adult Sexual Behaviors and Outcomes. Elsevier. Journal of Adolescent Health 51 (2012) 332-338
2. Linda Charmaraman, Alice J. Lee, and Sumru Erkut: (2012). “What if You Already Know Everything About Sex?” Content Analysis of Questions from Early Adolescents in a Middle School Sex Education Program. Elsevier. Journal of Adolescent Health Volume 50 Issue 5 527-530
3. Chris Smerecnik, Herman Schaalma, Kok Gerjo, Suzanne Meijer, Jos Poelman. (2010)” An exploratory study of Muslim adolescents’ views on sexuality: Implications for sex education and prevention”. BMC Public Health, 10:533
4. McGarry, Robert. (2013) Build a curriculum that includes everyone. : Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 94 Issue 5, p27-31, 5p, 1 Chart
5. Hamilton, Rashea, Sanders, Megan, Anderman, Eric M. (2013). The multiple choices of sex education. Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 94 Issue 5, p34-39, 6p, 1 Color Photograph, 2 Charts
6. Kohler, Pamela K., Manhart, Lisa E., Lafferty, William E. (2008). Abstinence-Only and Comprehensive Sex Education and the Initiation of Sexual Activity and Teen Pregnancy. Elsevier. Journal of Adolescent Health