Why Sex Education Works

So, as a follow up to the previous post showing that comprehensive sex education actually reduces how much sex teens have, I thought I’d go into my analysis of why sex education actually has this effect.

Teens aren’t mindless. Many of them know, at least from talking amongst themselves, that sex feels good. If you don’t talk about sex while acknowledging what they know about it already, they’re going to realise you’re pushing an agenda and switch off to what you’re saying. Not all of them, but some of them will, because they are bright and they are used to picking up useful knowledge all the time, and a lot of what they learn is actually based on how a teacher approaches a subject, and not what they say.

Giving teens accurate information and exploring what they think about it is far more effective, and this exploration into the wider consequences of sex will make some teenagers think twice about its consequences without requiring the teacher to preach to children and turn them off from actually remembering what they’re saying. Free of the constraints of pushing a specific agenda, it also allows you to prepare teenagers for how to make decisions about sex effectively, and be honest to themselves about what decision they want to make and prepare for it.

I think many people underestimate teenagers when they propose policies with them in mind. Teenagers have their own worldview, and if you prompt them to think about it, they’ll realise where sex fits into that worldview, and when it might be appropriate to say no, or the importance of using birth control.

Give them information, let them explore ideas, and give them safe rules to experiment, and teenagers can and will work things out for themselves.

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