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Elizabeth Boskey, Ph.D.

New Standards for Sex Education

By February 6, 2012

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Last week was a good week for sex education. A coalition of health education groups proposed a set of new national standards for sex education curricula, and I got a sneak peek at the Center for Family Life Education's new two volume set of sex education lessons - "Teaching Safer Sex." I'll post a full review of the books once they're out, but I bring them up now because it was interesting to read them in conjunction with the new recommendations*. They gave me some great ideas for how to teach about some of the more difficult topics included in the standards.

The standards, by the way, are brilliant. They cover everything from reproductive anatomy to gender identity to school-based bullying and relationship violence. There are also sections on body image and an enormous focus on identifying medically accurate information. I hope that school districts adopt them wholesale. I doubt they will, but a believer in comprehensive sex education can dream...

I recommend that anyone interested in sex education download the proposed standards from the link above, but in case you're curious, some highlights include (paraphrased):

  • By the end of second grade, students should be able to use the proper names for body parts, talk about different behavior expectations for boys and girls, describe some different family structures, explain what bullying and teasing are and why they're wrong, and know how to identify and report inappropriate touching.
  • By the end of fifth grade, they should be able to: identify and explain the functions of the organs of the male and female reproductive tract, understand the changes that happen during puberty, identify medically accurate resources about puberty and hygiene, talk about how culture influences body image, and define sexual orientation.
  • By the end of eighth grade, they should be able to talk respectfully about individuals with different gender identities and sexual orientations, explain the risks and benefits of various contraceptive options including abstinence and condoms, and analyze the impact of social media on friendships and other forms of relationship.
  • By the end of twelfth grade, they should be able to analyze individual responsibility for getting STD tested and talking about STDs with partners, demonstrate respect for boundaries around intimacy and sexuality, and demonstrate ways to respond when someone is being bullied or harassed.

Now that's what I mean when I talk about comprehensive sex education. It isn't just about naming body parts and identifying contraceptive options. It's about helping young people build the skills they need to form healthy relationships in all areas of their life.

*Disclaimer - I was sent a free electronic review copy of Teaching Safer Sex. No other compensation was received

Comments
February 8, 2012 at 3:11 am
(1) Jeff says:

We need more tips on Sex education on youth and adult. Or more and more people have to go to STD dating sites like H-Date.net

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