A new CDC survey of hundreds of thousands of teenagers has uncovered some disturbing trends in American sex education. Although the Obama administration is looking to move away from the abstinence-only sex ed. policies of the Bush administration–which have been proven ineffective again and again–comprehensive sex ed. should begin in the home.
But, according to Centers for Disease Control, the majority of American parents aren’t talking to their kids about safe sex. Less than half of girls and only 35 percent of boys reported talking with a parent about birth control methods. And the dearth of open discussion is translated into STD rates: incidence of HIV among boys aged 15 to 19 have doubled in the last decade, and rates of syphilis among girls in the same age range have gone up by about 50 percent.
Coming from a family that openly discusses everything from sex to substance abuse, I am certainly naive about the secrecy in other American families, but I still find it surprising that in this day and age so few parents teach their kids how to protect themselves.
And if they’re not comfortable telling their kids about condoms and the pill, I can only imagine how uncomfortable they’d be talking about emotionally healthy sexual relationships–which may have something to do with the fact that 10 percent of young women aged 18 to 24 reported that their first sexual intercourse was involuntary.