I grew up in the upstate of South Carolina and attended Mauldin High School. I have many memories of it being a great school, offering opportunities for its students to grow and prepare for college and the real world. However, there was one area where my alma mater failed me, and that was with my sex education.
I realized after reflecting on my experience with sex education in South Carolina that it was not only ineffective, but it was completely unmemorable. The only memories that I have of sex edu was that it was taught in a trailer separate from the school and that it was taught by an outside individual who was not employed by the school-who made a big deal about how we would never see her again once we completed the course. I have no memories of being taught how to properly use condoms, watching any Miracle of Life videos, or being taught any ridiculous analogies about sex that would be many students first experience with slut shaming.
When I was in high school it never occurred to me how unsettling an abstinence only based sexual education was because it seemed unimportant at the time. Instead of being supplied with medically accurate information from an elder who specialized in the subject matter and most likely had personal experience to draw from, I did what many people are forced to do and that was use the internet to educate myself. While there are many organizatiosn that have an online presence that provide accurate information on the topic, there are just as many that feed into the bizarre myths that do nothing but worsen our state’s struggle with high rates of teen pregnancy and STIs. In 2015, our state’s youth deserve better than to believe lies such as eating yellow Skittles or drinking Mountain Dew can prevent pregnancy or that engaging in anal sex is not really sex. Moving forward, our legislators and representatives should steer away from promoting bills that restrict our citizen’s rights to reproductive health care and instead focus on improving our sex education efforts. We should focus on teaching more medically accurate information about sex, avoid abstinence only based programs, and teach students how to properly use various contraceptive methods so that their first experience with using a condom is not the first time they have sex and address the emotional aspect of sex. Our youth deserve to know about their bodies, sex, the risks involved in engaging in sexual relationships and how to successfully and effectively protect themselves from pregnancy and STIs.