Given evidence that many girls and boys are physically maturing faster than previous decades, do you think schools should start sex-ed at a younger age? When is the right time to start talking to kids about their changing bodies, and what are the best ways to have that conversation? Who should educate kids about puberty — parents or schools or both?
When I was a freshman, I had to take and pass a health / sex-ed class. But that requirement was cut two years ago because of funding constraints. Now, the lack of sexual health knowledge is clear on my campus.
High schools across the county offer teens sex education classes to help teens bridge the gap between what teens think they know about sex, and what teens actually know about sex. But for Long Beach teens, whose school district cut sex education classes two years ago, young people are beginning to look for facts about sex in a variety of different places.
I’m a sexually active, gay, black man. I don’t always use a condom, and I used to spend a lot of time anxiously waiting for a phone call to hear my HIV test results. But now I use an additional form of protection.
Today in America, puberty is beginning earlier than a generation ago. Researchers are debating the possible links to environmental chemicals, stress, and obesity. But regardless of cause, more and more kids are already well into puberty by the time sex education happens in school–which is usually fifth or sixth grade.