The Benefits of Comprehensive Sex Education
Sex education, also called sexual education, sex therapy or sexual ed, is the education of problems relating to sexual relationships, including legal responsibilities and emotional obligations, sexual awareness, body image, and sexual health. Sex education varies from country to country; some offer basic information on pregnancy, sexual behaviors, and functions of the reproductive system, while others teach comprehensive information on the problems related to sexual health and relationships. Sexual education can be taught in schools, colleges and universities, health centers, and through community-based organizations. The first nationally recognized sex education bill was introduced in 1974 in the United States. Since then, there have been several attempts to introduce national sex education laws.
With greater societal tolerance, sexual education is now being offered in schools across the country. Several factors contribute to the lack of sexual awareness and interest in teen pregnancy, STDs and HIV/AIDS, and other sexually transmitted diseases. One of these factors is the “social media” or Internet, which provides a forum for people to express their sexual ideas and feelings, views, worries and desires. Also, sexually suggestive material is readily available on the web. With the increasing number of web sites that provide entertainment, there are more teens who are exposed to adult content on the internet. In addition, many teens search for alternative venues where they can talk about, and discuss controversial issues like teen pregnancy, masturbation, abstinence, and same-sex sexual activity.
Health care providers recommend that teens get themselves vaccinated and receive regular checkups at gynecologists for viral infections like HPV. Also, sexually active teens should be aware of safe sex practices to avoid unwanted pregnancy and STDs. Teenagers should know that it is healthy to have regular gynecologic checkups, and that regular vaccines for HPV and routine checkups are recommended. For gynecologists, comprehensive sexuality education programs help them to offer sound advice to patients, particularly those teenagers who are sexually active.
For gynecologists, comprehensive sexuality education programs also include teaching students how to recognize symptoms of female infections, especially Folliculitis, Trichomonas vaginalis, and Yeast infection within the female reproductive system. They must be able to help students plan treatment plans and evaluate symptoms, and treat patients properly. For example, if a patient has persistent vaginal discharge with a foul odor, they should be able to identify it as a yeast infection. Proper diagnosis and treatment by an experienced gynecologist are necessary in order to avoid further complications, and delaying sexual intercourse for one’s health.
A new study from the Guttmacher Institute found that nearly three-quarters of the women attending contraceptive clinics did not use any form of protection at all when they received their contraceptives. The use of any form of contraception was discouraged among women in these clinics, even when the woman’s health was at risk. Nearly half of the women who used no form of contraception at all had an unintended pregnancy within the year, and almost a fifth of those pregnancies resulted in abortion. A comprehensive sexuality education program, integrated with contraceptive services, should promote use of the most effective methods of contraception, while promoting patient education about sexually transmitted diseases.
It is also important that all patients receive their routine pap smears and pelvic exams on time, and that health care providers provide consistent education about safe sex. Health professionals are responsible for informing patients about STDs and offering protection when appropriate. Sexuality education programs that do not address these issues are often less effective in the prevention or treatment of conditions such as Chlamydia and gonorrhea.