RCC’s Different Viewpoints is a series of short articles from different age groups and their perspective on health education as they see it.
Sex Ed from a College Student’s Perspective by Gianna Bendinelli
I am not entirely sure how I first learned about sex, television or conversations around friends may have been my first encounter; however, what I remember most about learning about sex was from health class in high school. I am from a very religious town outside of Chicago, known for having the most churches per square mile. Our public-school system is “abstinence-only” and we were prompted to wait until marriage to have our first sexual encounter. We were taught all the negative things that can happen to you, and graphic pictures of STI’s and horror stories about teenage pregnancy were used to prove the consequences. We were not informed about condoms or contraceptives, possibly impacting the handful of my classmates that became pregnant at some time during our four years of high school. We had no information on how to be safe, or how to talk about sex. They left it up to our parents to teach us, but if you are from a family similar to mine, talking about sex is not something we do. The lack of communication I encountered regarding sex, affected the way I think about sexual encounters and created a sense of guilt within my friends and myself. I do not believe this was an effective education, and as a result I am an avid supporter of comprehensive sexual education. Comprehensive sex education would have given us the information to make decisions regarding sex and contraceptives with medically accurate information instead of fear. Comprehensive sexual education allows young adults to become informed about sex, so they can make smart choices and stay healthy.
About the Author: Gianna is currently studying Communication and Spanish at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. During her time at Illinois she has studied Journalism and Media effects, fueling her passion for writing. Gianna also enjoys running and playing with her dogs.