Holistic sexual education encourages positive choices

Empowering youth fosters safe relationships

Adah Koivula

Teaching youth about healthy relationships will enable them to avoid ending up in an unhealthy relationship or being trafficked. The only way to truly educate students about the broad expanse of sexual health is through a comprehensive sexual health education program.  

A comprehensive sexual health program covers topics beyond just sex. These programs educate students to not only practice safe sex, but to also build and recognize healthy relationships.

According to the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, teaching teens what healthy relationships look like helps navigate any sexual interactions for their future, and holistic education actually decreases the amount of risky behaviors teens engage in.

Young females ages 16 to 24 experience a rate of relationship violence triple the national average, according to Love is Respect. The problems that go along with experiencing relationship violence are massive. Being physically or sexually abused makes teen girls six times more likely to become pregnant and twice as likely to get a sexually transmitted infection, according to Love is Respect. If young women are taught what healthy relationships look like, and how to be assertive in an unhealthy relationship, this wouldn’t be as likely.

The only way to guarantee teens are taught about relationships is through a comprehensive sexual education program. Abstinence only and abstinence plus programs do not focus on relationships, a crucial piece.  

If youth are taught how to feel empowered in a relationship, meaning they comfortably can say “no,” the chances of being taken advantage of are decreased. The only way the United States can work to end sex trafficking and sexual abuse is to educate adolescents on the advantages of safe sex and positive relationships.

All actions should be taken to ensure adolescents are educated about healthy relationships, safe sex and resources for a worst case scenario. A comprehensive sexual education program in schools is the only way to ensure youth know their options.