Should sex education be taught at home, school or church?On March 10, 2012, Williamsonma submitted this question and received one answer which can be referred to at the above exact title. I believe...

Should sex education be taught at home, school or church?

On March 10, 2012, Williamsonma submitted this question and received one answer which can be referred to at the above exact title. I believe this is such an important question that it should be thrown open to a general discussion.

In my opinion, sex education ought to be taught in school, although it should not include advice on contraception but should be restricted to scientific facts about human reproduction, including conception and development of the embryo. Much of this information can be shown on film that is already available.

The parent, of course, is free to offer sex education at home, but many parents may fail to do so, and many may not be competent to do an adequate job.

Sex education may be taught at church, too. But only half the population attends church, and certainly not all churches offer any kind of sex education.

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dano7744's profile pic

dano7744 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

I think sex education should be taught in the home and at school. At home because of the delicate nature of the topic and at school to cover the scientific bases of the subject. I think this type of topic should be left out of the church.

msparks1009's profile pic

msparks1009 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

Sex is a natural instinct to reproduce, as we are all well aware. My stepmother and I have had this discussion quite a few times, and in my opinion, sex education should be taught within all aspects of social life. It should mainly be taught at home due to the fact that you spend most of your life with your family, and those should be the people that you trust the most. The topics of sex education should include, but not be limited to: STDs, contraception, statistics of how many pregnancies occur each year, or for a more eye-opening fact, each month or day, the chances of getting pregnant, basic sex physiology, sex offense, and what I feel is most important, the mental, emotional, financial, and physical strain that it takes to give birth to and raise a child. It is well known that adolescents will experiement, especially with the media openly showing sex scenes and intimate situations. Children need to be taught the difference between sex and love. They need to be educated, and if the parents do not know enough even though they gave birth to thier child, a well educated teacher would suffice. I think the thing we should focus on a lot is getting teens to be comfortable talking about it. It is a natural desire that everyone desires, so it should not be pushed aside and hushed. Also, the parents should be comfortable talking with thier children. The law does not dictate what can and cannot be said in the home, so that should be the main institution of sex education.

amymc's profile pic

amymc | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted on

Sex education is such a touchy subject, and, in a perfect world, it would be addressed at home, school, and church.  Home would be the best place for a child to learn about sex, its purpose and its ramifications.  Unfortunately, parents can be to scared to approach the subject, and children are not always prone to taking their parents advice.  Church teachings can step in and help with the discussion, but many children do not attend church.  Ultimately, if both home and church fail to instruct children about sex, the school must step in.  Programs  that teach abstinence and even safety from disease do exist in some places, but if they don't, the children will learn at school anyway - from their peers.  This is the least reliable way to learn, so as adults, we must find ways to boost the effectiveness of the other methods.

billdelaney's profile pic

William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I would like to point out that there is a question posted today, April 29, 2012, under Health asking: "Can a girl become pregnant if a boy kisses her on the lips?" I think this suggests that some students could use a little more information about such human biology. It also suggests that some students are getting the wrong ideas through hearsay.

lorrainecaplan's profile pic

Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Public education should include sex education, always, in my opinion, education that presents factual information in a value-neutral way.  Youth need to have some knowledge about how their bodies work.  Youth also need to be aware of all options to protect themselves from pregnancy and disease.  Whether these options are those frowned upon by their parents or religions is something that must be dealt with at home or by the religious institution.  Parents who find a public education curricula offensive or otherwise problematic are free to educate their children privately, for example, those who find the teaching of evolution to be contradictory to their religious beliefs.  If a parent does not think that his or her child should be exposed to the fact of birth control or abortion, though, that parent is not likely to prevent this exposure under any circumstances.

vangoghfan's profile pic

vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I agree that sex education should be part of the school curriculum, although I would not like to see such classes used for propaganda or advocacy. As much as possible, emphasis should be on facts. It is, however, probably worth trying to do something to stem the rising tide of illegitimacy, since this trend can have enormously negative impacts on the children involved, and, therefore, on society.

rrteacher's profile pic

rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Posts number 2 (and 3, which points out a major issue) are spot on. The problem with teaching sex education at schools is that schools, as public institutions, are also political institutions, and the curricula that are taught there are often the product of political debates and wrangling. I believe it was Utah that banned the mention of homosexuality by teachers in schools, to cite one example. And several states have passed laws stating that only abstinence may be mentioned as an example of birth control in sex education classes. The point is that we cannot think of schools as offering a necessarily more liberal (not in the political sense) or enlightened position of sex than churches or families.

billdelaney's profile pic

William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The answerer in #7 says exactly what I believe and what I have observed about teaching sex education at home. "The realiity is that not all students are taught the correct information at home or not taught anything." Exactly! A lot are not taught anything. But they get a lot of incorrect and sometimes absurd hearsay information from their friends. In our liberal and enlightened age, this is still the case. (Maybe Dad thinks that Mom is teaching the kids about sex and Mom thinks that Dad is doing it--or at least hoping so, because neither Mom nor Dad wants to bring the subject up or knows when is the proper time.)

mlsiasebs's profile pic

mlsiasebs | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

I think it should be taught in both.  Sex education in schools should focus more on the facts while home education can be about facts as well as expected standards of behaviors in each family.   The reality is that not all students are taught the correct information at home or not taught anything.  Having it come from the school rather than peers increases the chances that students get accurate information.

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I think that for the basic health of society there should be some sex education in schools. Unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases can be prevented with more education. I think that basic health information should be part of the curriculum, and moral issues left to the church and parents.
e-martin's profile pic

e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I believe also that sexual education should be taught in school. Teaching young people to talk about sex, sexuality, and related issues can help to keep them safe and that, to me, is the most important reason to keep this subject in schools.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I agree. I think that the fact that in the US we treat sex education as a separate topic is actually part of the problem, however. Everyone should be taught to care for and respect their bodies. Sex is simply a part of that topic, which should also include learning about nutrition, heart health, stress management, substance abuse, and physical activity. If the whole thing were approached from that angle, and were discussed openly (as is done in some countries), the whole embarrassment piece would be eliminated. Sex is a natural and normal part of life, and should be taught as such. Schools should offer facts and information. This should include relevant statistics, since many, if not most, teenagers seem to think that they can beat the odds when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases, rape, and unplanned pregnancies. Parents should be teaching personal values, which they certainly ought to be competent to relate, and also as much of the biological information as they feel able to teach. Churches and youth development groups should emphasize moral values as well. This is some of the most important information a person can learn- it would be better to overdo it rather than leaving anything to chance.

I don't disagree with anything that you've said, but I think that two things you say here point to the difficulty of knowing what should be taught in schools.  You say that

Sex is a natural and normal part of life, and should be taught as such.

But you also say that personal values and moral values should be taught at home.  I think that there are many people for whom teaching about sex as a natural and normal part of life would be a moral choice of its own -- one that they might object to.  I think that there's still a lot of people who would rather have their kids taught that sex is a forbidden thing that should not be talked about as a normal part of life.

pacorz's profile pic

pacorz | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

I agree. I think that the fact that in the US we treat sex education as a separate topic is actually part of the problem, however. Everyone should be taught to care for and respect their bodies. Sex is simply a part of that topic, which should also include learning about nutrition, heart health, stress management, substance abuse, and physical activity. If the whole thing were approached from that angle, and were discussed openly (as is done in some countries), the whole embarrassment piece would be eliminated. Sex is a natural and normal part of life, and should be taught as such. Schools should offer facts and information. This should include relevant statistics, since many, if not most, teenagers seem to think that they can beat the odds when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases, rape, and unplanned pregnancies. Parents should be teaching personal values, which they certainly ought to be competent to relate, and also as much of the biological information as they feel able to teach. Churches and youth development groups should emphasize moral values as well. This is some of the most important information a person can learn- it would be better to overdo it rather than leaving anything to chance.

crystaltu001's profile pic

crystaltu001 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

I think that sex education should be taught in school because that is when kids are starting to develop and grow. So i think it is important for them to learn that stuff while they are still growing so they can be careful of what they do when they grow up .

moosekcr's profile pic

moosekcr | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Sex education should be taught in schools. The fact is that even if some people don't believe that some parts of sex should be covered they need to think about kids today. By the time I was in the eighth grade have of my class had already had sex. Being taught about everything seems the better route to me because kids are going to have sex. Telling them facts about everything that can happen when you have sex is fine, but telling them how to have safe sex is even better. I have noticed that it is a lot of teachers posting to this discussion and I understand your points of view because both of my parents are teachers as well but kids today should get everything no matter how embarrased they or the teacher gets talking about it. Like in post 5 if a kid has a question they are to embarrased to ask the teacher they can take it home to their parents. Parents might not like giving the birds and the bees speech but at least they know their child has questions and can address them. As for church they can teach it but I doubt that it will be very affective. I for one have never attended church and I know that a lot of people don't especially kids that have the choice and are not raised in the religion. I am not saying they souldn't teach it but if they do they should also tell everything and help thoughs kids that have already had sex understand it better and be more protected for the next time it happens.

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