Saturday, January 9, 2010

Sex Education Is Never Too Late

I'm 20 years old. I remember a few years ago, when I was 17 or so, my mom said something to me like "I'm glad you're past the point where it'd be a problem if you got pregnant." I was shocked - I didn't feel that way at all. I reminded her that I was still in high school, I was planning on college, still wasn't at a point where I'd want to have a baby - but she had just meant that I "wasn't 14" anymore, and that it wouldn't be as scandalous, as unsafe, as unexpected. I couldn't believe she had said that to me, to be honest.

I know my mom didn't mean "Relax! Now's the time to have a baby!" She still wants me on birth control, and I'm sure that if I got pregnant today, it would be a somewhat unwelcome alteration in my life and hers (among many other lives!). But new research shows that I'm still not out of the woods yet:
For parents like me, who hoped that a child's 21st birthday meant we finally could put our feet up on the coffee table, this is alarming news: New research shows that our 20somethings don't want to have a child at this time in their lives but aren't doing much to prevent it. And the result is that among unmarried women in their 20s, 7 of 10 pregnancies are unplanned. Seventy percent.
My mom's response to this article is "That's because parents don't teach their kids about birth control!" She went on to say that the message isn't clear to girls that you can get pregnant just by having sex once - and that girls aren't informed, and sex education is lacking. But she stressed that a lot of it lies with parents. The article agrees:
It turns out that the heads of our 20somethings are filling with so much myth, misinformation and magical thinking that we, their parents, should be ashamed of the job we've done on this important topic.
The article is interesting because it points out that these women aren't stupid, aren't necessarily ill-informed about contraception, and seem to know what they want, but are still having unplanned pregnancies. That confuses me - I don't want a kid today. So I use condoms and I'm on the pill - it just makes sense. But my mom and I talk openly (sometimes too openly!) about sex and protection, and I'm a huge planned parenthood advocate. Aside from being a women's studies major. Maybe I take this all this information and foresight for granted.

The disconnect between what women WANT and what women DO seems to be huge; that women might want a pregnancy at some point, but aren't taking the necessary precautions to ensure that that time isn't NOW. The writer of this article is confused, as am I. Is the answer better sex ed? More sex ed? Different sex ed? Probably. But something has gotta change.

Definitely check it out here!

1 comment:

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