Sex education begins at home

2014-04-05

Himalayan News Service

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As a person who has worked in the health sector for a couple of years, I am concerned about teenage sexual behaviour. A couple of months back, a young lady, who got pregnant due to unprotected sex, buried her baby in her backyard after giving birth, one of the many consequences of the social taboo that surrounds pre-marital pregnancies. It was a heartbreaking story to hear about.

We need to teach our teenagers how to protect themselves from pregnancy. Sex education should actually start at home and parents should be talking to their teenage children about sex and its consequences if done without protection. Most Nepali parents don’t do this. They rely on their doctors and other health professionals to talk to their children about this important aspect of life.

When I was a teenager, I never talked to my parents about sex. Instead, I relied on my friends to educate me about sex and related topics such as pregnancy, protection and STDs. To leave my sexual education up to my peers, I believe, was the wrong thing to do, for unlike nowadays, when young adults can research these topics online, doing so was not possible in my time.

Young adults today rely on the Internet where they can have all the information available on family planning and safe sex. Some schools even have health classes that students attend before graduating, where they learn about various birth control methods and facts such as condoms being 99 percent reliable for preventing pregnancy, leaving still a one percent chance of conception.

Sex education in school does help prevent teenage pregnancy, but will not prevent teenagers from having sex, of course. But in my opinion, teenagers should not be allowed to have any sexual activity until they are mature enough to understand the risks that come along.

In my experience as a health professional, I have had some teenagers come to me with extremely naïve notions on preventing conception. Some have actually asked me if jumping after sex to dispel the sperm from the body would work for prevention. You know, if that was true, then it would be good enough just to jump around and not have to waste money buying birth control pills or condoms to avoid getting pregnant, I think of telling them.

Sex education is definitely valuable for teenagers as well as adults, but teaching from home would reinforce its lessons and ensure lesser incidents of teen pregnancy and the difficult choices that follow.

(Source: The Himalayan times)