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Some educators believe that sex education is the first line of defense against promiscuity—a rational preventative measure to protect against things like teen pregnancies and STDs. They also believe that, in order for sex education to be most effective, children should be introduced to it at an early age. Opponents of the early-childhood sex education philosophy, however, contend that the tactic would have the opposite effect; that teaching children about condoms would in fact encourage promiscuity by awakening their curiosity about sex. They believe that keeping children in the dark about sex for as long as possible is the best way to go.
But sex education involves more than what and adult on sex education thinks about how it will affect children. It incorporates a broad spectrum of sex related issues including human sexuality, anatomy, reproduction, intercourse, reproductive health, relationships, reproductive rights, contraception, and a whole host of other aspects of human interaction. Those charged with enlightening us about the intricacies and peculiarities are educators, doctors, schools, and of course parents.
Human sexuality is a combination of biological, physical, and spiritual characteristics. The biological par of human sexuality, of course, the reproductive process, as well as the natural, hormonal-induced impulse to procreate that exists in all species. The physical part is represented by the attachments created when two people become emotionally involved and is expressed through deep affections and love. The last component that makes up human sexuality is spirituality. This obscure part of the human sexuality puzzle is difficult to pin down, but researchers attribute the natural curiosity in children about sex to the spiritual aspect of sexuality inherent in all of us.
Traditionally, educating children on matters of sex was left up to the parents. However, most parents considered the subject taboo and refused to broach it with their children until they were almost at the foot of the altar, ring in hand. Consequently, children were left o obtained this information through secondhand, sometimes unreliable, sources; usually from a friend or acquaintance. Most of these informal discussions about sex took place during puberty when hormonal activity was at its peak. Consequently, this misinformation manifested itself in an epidemic of teenage pregnancies, especially during the rebellious decade of the ‘60s. To counteract the problem, state and federal governments introduced sex education programs in schools, much to the consternation of religious groups and churches.
Curiosity about sex is a natural progression in a child’s development. Therefore, parents should take the initiative to begin educating them about the biological influences they may be experiencing. This will help them understand how their bodies work and remove any negative feelings they may be experiencing because their bodies are changing. In addition, establishing an open and honest line of communication with your children concerning matters of sex could head-off many of the problems caused by misinformation they receive from other sources, like teen pregnancies and STD.