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What is the relationship between the absence of sexuality education and the presence of sexual risk?

by | Jun 20, 2022 | Recent Orders

Nicole Kuzmanic: In this reading Michelle Fine and Sara McClelland discuss how national policies have an uneven impact on young people and disproportionately place the burden on girls, youth of color, teens with disabilities, and lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender youth. Sexuality education influences the development and health of adolescents. The way in which schools taught young people about sexuality has raised questions and concerns. Sexuality education is the only academic content area that is taught as if the knowledge gained in the classroom is meant to exclusively serve the young person’s present situation. Michelle Fine argued that schools, by positioning young women primarily as potential victims of male sexual aggression, compromised young women and men’s development of sexual subjectivities. The sexual subjectivity of young women is a main focus in this reading as their bodies endure the consequences of limited sexuality education and are the area where progressive educational and health policies can have significant effect. By considering national sexuality education policy and young women’s access to contraception and abortion, it is fair to say that young women’s sexuality has become a designated “dense transfer point for relations of power” (Foucault, 1990, p. 103). Young women were denied knowledge and skills, and left on their own in a world of danger.

Abstinence education affects adolescent and sexual health. This includes how long youth remain abstinent, what choices they make when they decide to have sex, and the long-term consequences of learning about the dangers of sexuality. Haignere and her colleagues found that abstinence education had a user-failure rate between 26% and 86% after studying teens that abstained for a period of time. Young people are being educated to not trust condoms and contraception, to feel ashamed about their premarital sexuality, and to remain silent about their own sexual development. By voicing this, educators, policymakers, and families are placing young people at risk.

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What is the relationship between the absence of sexuality education and the presence of sexual risk?
What are some different ways to encourage abstinence, practicing safe sex and pursuing a healthy sexual development that will not place young people at risk?

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