Patricia Dunn, PhD, is an associate professor of health education at East Carolina University.
Reduction of Teenage Pregnancy As A Rationale For Sex Education: A Position Paper
Article first published online: 9 OCT 2009
1982 American School Health Association
Journal of School Health
Volume 52, Issue 10, pages 611–613, December 1982
How to Cite
Dunn, P. (1982), Reduction of Teenage Pregnancy As A Rationale For Sex Education: A Position Paper. Journal of School Health, 52: 611–613. doi: 10.1111/j.1746-1561.1982.tb03944.x
- Issue published online: 9 OCT 2009
- Article first published online: 9 OCT 2009
There is little doubt that the present level of interest in initiating sex education programs in the schools stems from the effort to reduce the teenage pregnancy rate.
While one can hardly challenge the respectability of the goal to reduce teenage pregnancy, the writers take the view that the focus on reducing teenage pregnancy may be counter-productive to the establishment of effective sex education programs in school for the following reasons.
1. It promotes a narrow and incorrect understanding of human sexuality and sex education.
2. It creates misunderstanding of what constitutes a comprehensive sex education program.
3. Because the focus is on the junior/senior high youngster the assumption is left that sexuality occurs only between grades six and twelve.
4. It focuses primarily on the female and provides little education for the male.
5. It implies that the majority of teenagers want sex and not babies.
6. It implies that advocating sexual restraint is moralizing (and moralizing is bad) but teaching students that they should use contraceptives to avoid pregnancy is not moralizing.
7. The contraception approach presents human sexuality as a negative behavior because it conveys the impression that sex will get you into trouble if you do not know what to do.