Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Morality of sex education

One approach to sex education is to view it as necessary to reduce risk behaviours such as unprotected sex, and equip individuals to make informed decisions about their personal sexual activity.

Another viewpoint on sex education, historically inspired by sexologists like Wilhelm Reich and psychologists like Sigmund Freud and James W. Prescott, holds that what is at stake in sex education is control over the body and liberation from social control. Proponents of this view tend to see the political question as whether society or the individual should teach sexual mores. Sexual education may thus be seen as providing individuals with the knowledge necessary to liberate themselves from socially organized sexual oppression and to make up their own minds. In addition, sexual oppression may be viewed as socially harmful.

To another group in the sex education debate, the question is whether the state or the family should teach sexual mores. They believe that sexual mores should be left to the family, and sex-education represents state interference. They claim that some sex education curricula break down pre-existing notions of modesty and encourage acceptance of practices that those advocating this viewpoint deem immoral, such as homosexuality and premarital sex. They cite web sites such as that of the Coalition for Positive Sexuality as examples. Naturally, those that believe that homosexuality and premarital sex are a normal part of the range of human sexuality disagree with them.

Many religions teach that sexual behavior outside of marriage is immoral, so their adherents feel that this morality should be taught as part of sex education. Other religious conservatives believe that sexual knowledge is unavoidable, hence their preference for curricula based on abstinence.
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