Abstinence can only do so much

Students need holistic sex education to truly be safe


Cecile Walsh '24

Graphic by Cecile Walsh ’24

The Tower Staff

When it comes to sex education, the GPPSS curriclumn is deficient at best. The act of sex is skipped altogether, resulting in a deficit in coverage on not only safe sex, but queer sex, and what it means to truly consent outside of legality. As a result of these shortcomings, many students default to self-educating on such topics, to varying levels of success. We at The Tower urge our peers to proceed carefully when it comes to supplemental sex education.

First and foremost, pornography is not an adequate substitue to proper sex education— especially as it concerns safe sex and consent. Many adult-film actors are not seen using condoms, or utilizing other safe sex strategies. So why would students understand the importance of practicing safe sex, if porn is the only media they are consuming?

Moreover, we at The Tower feel the lack of consent coverage in porn damages students’ comprehension of what it means to truly consent to a sexual act. We firmly believe porn should not be used in the context of sex education.

According to research by the National Survey of Family Growth, teenagers who receive comprehensive sex education are 50 percent less likely to experience pregnancy than those who received abstinence-until-marriage programs.

We encourage our peers to take this statistic to heart, and recognize the flaws within our sex education curriculum. Abstinence-based sex education is not inherently wrong, but it is defective in that it fails to properly educate students on what safe sex is and how to practice it. That being said, we want to acknowledge that this is not our educators’ faults. Additionally, we want students to know that it is their choice to decide whether abstinence is the right choice for them.

Instead of turning to porn or other questionable sources, we at The Tower urge students to do supplemental research with care. For example, some excellent resources include: “Answer Sex Ed, Honestly” by Rutgers, “Roo” by Planned Parenthood, as well as articles by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN). All of which are conducted by professionals within the sex education field, and offer guidance to many questions students may have about sex.

Again, we advise our peers: be smart, be safe and do your research. There is no substitute for sex education better than informed research. And although it should not be the responsibility of students to compensate for the shortcomings of our education system, it is in their best interest to educate themselves on sex safe practices for their own health and well-being.