[Welcome Jessica Fields, and Host, Heather Corinna, Artist, Author and Activist, her website is Scarleteen. As a reminder, please take off-topic discussions to a different thread. bevw]
Since its dawn in America around 100 years ago, sex education has been and remains a controversial and provocative topic with often greatly polarized opinions about and approaches to it. In the last 12 years, since the advent of federally-funded abstinence-only sex education, the battles over sex ed by parents, advocacy, religious and health organizations and the government have amplified. Yet, caught in the middle are the students and teachers whose everyday experiences of sex education are seldom as clear-cut as either side of the debate suggests. With teen STI [sexually transmitted illness], pregnancy and birth rates in the U.S. still the highest of any developed nation, and with teens living in a world of increasingly mixed sexual messages, these issues are crucial.
Yet, whether we’re talking about abstinence-only or comprehensive sex education, the issue doesn’t stop at who is getting what kind of sex education. As someone who works to fill in sex education gaps for teens, no matter what type of sex ed they have or have not had, I can attest to the importance of looking not just at the battles around sex education and assuring young people get the information they need, but of issues in and around sex education which are often overlooked or diminished.