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Sex Ed Lets Parents Avoid The Job Of Educating Their Kids About Sexual Morals

By Elizabeth Condra··  7 min read
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Sex Ed Lets Parents Avoid The Job Of Educating Their Kids About Sexual Morals

Not to be needlessly hyperbolic, but the state of sex education in this country is atrocious. 

Recently, more and more parents seem to be waking up and taking notice that their kids aren’t being “educated” in the way they’d prefer. But is it too little too late? For decades, middle-aged and younger generations have been educated about sex by everyone but their parents. The fact is, sex ed lets parents avoid the job of educating their kids about sexual morals – to the detriment of both children and parents. 

It feels like parents are finally starting to pay attention to what educators are teaching their kids, especially when those educators have their own agendas in mind. Many are concerned that parents poking their noses into their kids’ classroom is a step too far, while others think it’s not far enough. Regardless, our kids will learn about sex in one of two ways, either by our own standards or by the rhetoric of others. 

Indoctrination vs Values

What’s right and wrong, and what’s the difference? Ask different people, and you’ll get different answers. The word “moral,” or morals, is thrown around a lot these days and more often than not denigrated for its connotation with that which is obsolete, traditional, or conservative (not even in the political sense). So, what even are morals? How do they differ from values?

Though we know nowadays that pretty much everyone has a different way of defining controversial terms based on their own motivations, the dictionary defines morals as “a specific and context-driven [set of] rules that govern a person’s desire to be good.” In short, morals are the distinctions we make between what’s right and wrong. 

Morals are the distinctions we make between what’s right and wrong.

Our values inform our principles, standards, and convictions about everything from career choices to sexuality. And while people find it comforting to believe that all people have “good values,” ones that hold truth and the good treatment of others in high regard, that is sadly not the case. People who value “tolerance” above boundaries or expectations of behavior often find themselves making excuses for some truly despicable behavior.

Many would see the topic of sex education as purely belonging to a parents’ set of values, if, for example, those parents don’t see inclusive language as necessarily important to their child’s education. Others would say that any “heteronormative” or religious context on sex education for children should be seen as indoctrination (another word that gets used frequently). 

But “indoctrination” is just as prevalent in secular, progressive environments as in religious ones. Regardless, parents who are genuinely invested in educating and raising their children will inevitably have their own set of values that they live by, their own conviction of what's right or wrong, and they have the serious responsibility, by virtue of even having children, of raising their kids alongside those guiding principles to the best of their ability.

Who’s Minding the Kids?

Unfortunately, it’s painfully evident that we’ve left sex ed and its powerful lobby to its own devices for too long. 

The Dalton School, an Upper East Side private school that charges over $55,000 in tuition for kids kindergarten through 12th grade, recently confronted its own oversight in letting the language of today dictate the futures of tomorrow. Justine Ang Fonte, a “sex positive” educator who served as Dalton’s director of health and wellness, came under fire for curriculum which included a workshop on so-called “pornography literacy” for high school juniors and seniors.

The New York Times, who attempted to bolster Ms. Fonte’s credibility, wrote the following: “Pornography literacy classes teach students how to critically assess what they see on the screen – for example, how to recognize what is realistic and what is not, how to deconstruct implicit gender roles, and how to identify what types of behavior could be a health or safety risk.” Sure. Because every 16-year-old watching porn watches it with dismantling gender norms in mind…never mind that pornography in and of itself should already be considered a health and safety risk

“Sex-positive” educators argue that if they don’t educate your children, porn, Instagram, TikTok, and OnlyFans will.

As part of a new initiative in Illinois, public schools, including middle schools with classes as young as fifth grade, will now offer menstrual products. Oh, and condoms, as if the two are somehow the same and form the same function for 10 and 11-year-olds.

In 2012, The Future of Sex Education Initiative issued new standards now considered the standard for administrators and educators. The standards assert that sex ed should and must be “trauma-informed, culturally inclusive, sex-positive, and grounded in social justice and equity.” They may feel their intentions are good, but those standards in no way reflect the individual values of each and every parent who sends their child to public (or private) school.

So-called “sex-positive” educators argue that if they don’t educate your children, porn, Instagram, TikTok, and OnlyFans will. They see themselves as the checks and balances for nationwide sex education, but who serves as the gatekeeper for those initiatives, when more often than not they're social justice organizations disguised as education lobbies?

Don’t Wait for Others to Educate Your Children

Disappointingly enough, these advocates are half right on one essential thing: If you don't take it upon yourself to educate your kids, then porn or social media or their friends definitely will. 

Just this year, a study found that surveyed 18-24 year olds found porn to be more “helpful” in supposedly informing them about sex, than parents, friends, medical professionals, or other sources.

The issue is – and you don’t have to be a parent to know this – porn is neither helpful nor realistic or even accurate when it comes to portraying healthy sexual ideals, desires, or encounters. Neither is social media nor the experiences of the friends our kids hang out with.

Porn is neither helpful nor realistic when it comes to portraying healthy sexuality.

Unfortunately, these lobbies and groups have filled a gaping need that parents have left vacant for far too long. Whether you send your child to public school or pay to enroll them privately, no matter the cost, they're likely going to be taught what’s “right and wrong” through approaches you might not necessarily agree with. Once upon a time, private institutions might have been the obvious choice for parents concerned with the possible pitfalls of public education. Still, as we’ve seen, not even $55 grand can prevent lectures on “pornographic literacy” or teaching first graders about masturbation.

We can’t leave a boiling pot on the stove and then act surprised or outraged when it overflows. The fact remains that if we’re neglecting having open, and yes, maybe difficult or awkward, conversations with our children, they’ll turn to others for their information, and we might not like the result.

Closing Thoughts

As many of us know, sex education can be a harrowing, overwhelming issue. Unfortunately, it’s also gravely and desperately necessary in the upbringing of our children. Sex ed can cover everything from hygiene to unplanned pregnancy. In the appropriate setting, our kids should be learning about it in an open and honest way – one that leaves no room for confusion, thereby motivating them to turn elsewhere.

There’s nothing wrong with teaching our children that it’s okay if they don’t want to be touched by others, or with teaching them about abstinence and different contraceptive methods. There’s nothing wrong with discussing sex solely within the boundaries of marriage if that’s your preference and illustrating to them the hazards of hookup culture or how these choices can harm self-esteem. There’s nothing wrong with discussing how they should talk to their doctors or their teenage boyfriends and girlfriends about sex, especially when it comes to being manipulated or enforcing boundaries. There’s also nothing wrong, no matter what anyone else might say, with wanting them to learn those things by your own terms and individual approach. You’re the parents, and that’s your right.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to educate your children according to the values which govern your household. There's something wrong – and deeply disturbing – with taking a back seat to approaches that take advantage of their immaturity and inexperience.

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