Comprehensive sex education is effective at assisting young people to make healthy decisions about sex and to adopt healthy sexual behaviors.
Sexuality education is a lifelong process of acquiring information and forming attitudes, beliefs, and values. It encompasses sexual development, sexual and reproductive health, interpersonal relationships, affection, intimacy, body image, and gender roles.
“school-based sexuality education should be designed to complement and augment the sexuality education children receive from their families.”
Most sex education happens in the home with parents, trusted adults and siblings. Teachable moments present opportunities for parents to discuss sexuality issues with their children. From the moment of birth, children learn about touch, love and relationships when parents hold them, talk to them, dress them and show them affection.
Young people also learn about sex from books, television, music, the Internet and their friends. They also learn from planned sessions in their churches and their schools.
According to the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), “school-based sexuality education should be designed to complement and augment the sexuality education children receive from their families.”
In our poll, African Americans Attitudes on Abortion, Contraceptive and Teen Sexual Health, respondents stated that high school sex education should cover “everything from how to prevent diseases to birth control, abstinence, domestic abuse, and healthy relationships.” Eight in ten also believed that teenagers should have access to contraception. Even 77 percent of self-described conservatives and 72 percent of those who attended religious services weekly or more agreed with this statement.
Why It Matters
Youth of color have a disproportionate risk of negative sexual health outcomes. Teen pregnancy continues to affect youth of color disproportionately, with rates for Black women and Hispanic women ages 15-19 that are more than double the rate for
Young Black women and men have the right to lead healthy lives.
young white women. Additionally, in the United States, rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) also are disproportionately high among youth of color, especially among Black and Hispanic youth.
Young Black women and men have the right to lead healthy lives. Providing them with honest, age appropriate comprehensive sexual health education is an important part in helping them take personal responsibility for their health and well-being.