“Why are we still talking about sex ed?”
I was interviewed by Erica Rucker, LEO writer in an Aug. 9 column with that same title. Here’s the Sexual Risk Avoidance, or SRA, perspective.
Let’s begin by clarifying that SRA programs are not dogma. A common ploy of Comprehensive Sex Ed, or CSE, proponents is to use words like “religion,” “puritanical” and “shame.” Along this same line of misdirection, CSE advocates conduct surveys that include the words “abstinence,” “comprehensive” and “contraception.” These surveys intentionally omit many issues and demonstrations included in CSE programs, and then claim that most people want “comprehensive” sex ed.
SRA surveys show that SRA programs are the overwhelming choice when all the information is presented.
So, what is SRA?
It is an information-and-skills approach that equips teens to avoid the potential negative consequences of teen sexual activity. SRA is the most comprehensive and holistic approach to sex ed. SRA focuses on real-life struggles to help students navigate the difficult adolescent years in sexually-saturated culture. SRA helps teens realize that engaging in sexual activity outside of a lifelong, committed relationship has potentially negative effects in nearly every area of their lives: physically (sexually-transmitted diseases and pregnancy), emotionally, psychologically, socially, economically and educationally, all with immediate and long-term consequences.
SRA programs seek to help teens avoid the personal, relational and public health risks inherent in early initiation of, and continued, sexual activity. This is the healthiest approach for our teens in direct contrast to the “how-to” info and demonstration approach of CSE programs.
The connection of developing young minds and critical decision-making is crucial in sex education. When CSE programs emerged it was assumed the brain developed in line with the body, reaching maturity in the late teens. New brain research shows maturation in the mid-20s. One of the strongest findings was that young adults need continued discipline and guidance. With this in mind, SRA programs seek to help guide, whereas CSE programs assume that with the right information students will make good decisions. Young adults need continued guidance to develop self-control and self-discipline for the best decision-making.
The Family Foundation and Kentucky Marriage Movement fully support the SRA programs that not only discuss sex and sexuality but ongoing decision-making and the maturity to make the best and healthiest decisions. Avoiding risks is always better than simply trying to reduce them, especially when it comes to the health and futures of our students.
Students can mature in self-discipline/self-control with clear guidance and modeling… and that is up to us.
So, why keep talking about sex ed?
To be sure we are providing what is best for all children. •
Gregory Williams is director of the Kentucky Marriage Movement for The Family Foundation.