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How (and why) should we talk to teenagers about sex?

High school is an overwhelming and challenging time for everyone, including you as an educator. As adolescents, your students’ bodies are changing. They are starting to make their own decisions. Many students are engaging in their first sexual experiences and relationships. It doesn’t make it any easier that almost every entertainment medium is telling them how they should think and behave. 

This is where you come in. As administrators and teachers, you have the unique opportunity to prepare students for the real world beyond textbooks and exams. You have a platform to teach young adults about emotional and sexual intelligence. Comprehensive sex education is proven to delay sexual debut, and it sets students up with the proper tools to navigate healthy relationships, understand and respect boundaries, and gain autonomy over their bodies. This is critical for adolescent development in its application toward learning effective communication skills, improving self esteem and confidence, and fostering inclusive educational environments.

The average age young people in the US have sex for the first time is 17. By age 20, over 70% of adolescents have had sex. You hear students discussing parties in the hallways, you see relationships blooming in cafeterias and on the dance floor during winter formal, so why not empower them to make thoughtful decisions that best reflect their values?