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Back To School: Sex Ed For Teens

Dr. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker

It’s school time again and if you are a parent of a teen or even a pre-teen, your child may attend a sex-ed class this year.  But something going on in the news lately has really got me seeing red.

I’m incensed about what is going on the sex-ed community.

Planned Parenthood has just released a document (titled Exclaim!) in preparation for the United Nations Conference on children later this month. The upshot of the document is to advocate for the sexual rights of our kids. You read that right- the document says that every child has the right to make his/her own decision when it comes to sexual activity. Furthermore, they advocate that kids should have access to sexual counseling and services  without their parents knowledge. Even if they’re 11 years old.

Let’s put political, religious and even ethical views aside for a moment. Let’s simply look at kids and some medical facts (outlined in my book Your Kids At Risk ).

  • 20 million Americans contract a new sexually transmitted infection every year in the US and about 50 % are in kids and young adults.
  • 1:5 people over age 12 tests positive for genital herpes
  • 1:4 teens (all teens- not just those having sex) get a sexually transmitted infection every year
  • HPV causes 99% of all cervical cancers and teen girls are more prone to getting cervical cancer if infected because of differences in their anatomy
  • 40% all girls 14-18 y/o state that they have sex that they don’t want to have because they don’t want to let their boyfriends down
  • According to a medical study released in Sept 2001, if we don’t dramatically change course (teach our kids to put the brakes on), by the year 2025 (how old will your grandchildren be?), 30 % of all men and 40% all women will test positive for genital herpes.

Shall I continue? If you question the validity of the above numbers, I have an extensive bibliography.

Regardless what you think about Planned Parenthood, think about this for a moment. We now know, through extensive research done by neuroscientists, that teens are not capable of full abstract thinking. This means that they lack the ability to understand in a meaningful way that action A leads to consequence B in 5 days. That’s why your 17-year-old son genuinely believes he can drive his car 90 mph into a tree and walk away from the car. He just doesn’t get it.

Planned Parenthood knows this. It’s made national news in the past few years. So what gives, then, when it comes to sex education? Physicians universally agree that in 2011, sex for kids is really risky stuff. They shouldn’t have it. It is no longer a religious or moral issue; it is a medical one.

Why then, would the document from Planned Parenthood state in Exclaim! that kids have sexual rights when they aren’t capable of understanding that disease is very real and that if they buckle to sexual pressure, their lives could be at stake? I can think of one reason they would write this and sacrifice the health of our kids: keep sexual freedom alive.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a sex hater. As a matter of fact, when I speak to teens across the country, I always begin by shouting, “Sex is amazing!” to the kids.  I tell them that sex is too great to waste on the teen years because scientists know that if they start having sex at 15, their chances of getting an infection are exponentially higher than if they wait. Then I talk to them about their hearts, their feelings.

Many out there don’t have their facts straight- including Planned Parenthood. They are not an organization of physicians, they are social activists. So do right by your kids. It’s a tough sexual climate out there and they need you to step up to the plate and do the real educating. Make them put the brakes on and tell them why. They’ll love you for it.

What say you, parents? Have you spoken honestly and frankly to your kids about sex? If they are teen or even pre-teen, what’s stopping you?

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Feeling a a bit uneasy about having "the talk" with your son or daughter?
Dr. Meeker is here to help! “How to Talk to Your Kids about Puberty & Sex (ages 8-18)” is her most comprehensive course ever and she’ll equip you to have that conversation with knowledge, confidence and sensitivity. Check it out!

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