Sex Education and Christian Schools
I’m short, yes, they can.
But that isn’t really what I experienced. I’ll admit, this article was a little uncomfortable for me to write, but I think the topic needs some coverage.
I grew up in a Christian school and graduated from that same school less than two years ago. Naturally, I was taught quite a lot about Christianity, and the school I attended shaped many of my views and gave me a solid push for figuring out my spirituality.
Now, it did this in two ways. The first is in a direct way. Every year, I had some kind of class teaching the Bible or aspects of Christianity. With that, alongside chapel services and rules, I got a pretty solid foundation of what was considered right and what was considered wrong.
The second way they shaped my faith in an indirect way. A lot of this consisted of me seeing how the school handled certain things and deciding that it was or wasn’t right based on what I had learned from classes and reading the Bible myself.
Some things just came down to plain old ethics — like the time the school threatened to regulate the girls’ toilet paper use because someone kept overstuffing the toilets and calling all the girls in the school to a meeting and trying to scold us about being ladylike. I have my own gripes with that word “ladylike” but I won’t jump into that here.
Sexual education at my school was a toss-up for us girls. We were separated into female and male classes for gym class and “health” class. I put quotations around “health” because I remember for at least one semester of “health” in middle school, it felt like I had signed up for a class on abstinence.
The teacher spent a significant amount of time telling us just not to have sex. We watched documentary/self-help videos about a woman who decided to stop having sex and wait until marriage. It told us about how it wasn’t worth doing it before and how it takes away from us. One of the words from it I remember most vividly is “purity.” We watched them for probably weeks on end. We’d rewatch them. I’m sure we read some of the woman’s book.
Now, don’t get me wrong, we talked about other things like diet and exercise. But sexual education was not really introduced to us until we got a new teacher and were in high school. Eventually, we stopped having health classes once we reached a certain grade in high school. I don’t even remember if I even heard the word “vagina” in any of those classes before.
The Bible considers sex before marriage to be sexual immorality. So a part of me sees why my health class ended up that way, but I have my gripes with it.
While we were taught not to have sex, the boys’ class was learning all about, sex, themselves, and their privates. See the problem?
I cannot blame this entirely on the school’s administration, who could have been ignorant of what was happening. Each class had different teachers who ran the class in different ways.
The primary issue I take with this is the fact that we were not taught much about sex, our sexual organs, or what methods we can use to protect ourselves if we did have sex. Besides the consistent cautions against having sex and the guilt-tripping for not waiting until marriage, the topic of sex was left uncovered.
My mind tells me they didn’t talk about it because it’s just something we weren’t supposed to do. It was a rule. In their recent school manual, sexual immorality is emphasized as being against the rules. But in not educating young people about the dangers or consequences that can come with sex in general, especially unprotected, they are doing a disservice to the students.
We get it. It’s a sin. But how can I keep this from becoming something else?
I get that doing it is wrong, but if it becomes habitual, how can I make sure I’m not getting something from it I don’t want?
Telling me just don’t do it is just not enough.
Sex Education and Christian Schools can co-exist.
We have to be real. There are kids having sex very young, whether they’ve been brought up with religious teaching or not.
Why do we leave our young people in the dark when it comes to sex?
What happens when…things happen?
Sexual health is a good thing. And knowing how to be sexually healthy is a good thing. And it is possible to teach that and abstinence because…things happen. It’s better if our young people are prepared than not.
Sex in Christianity seems like such a taboo topic. But the reality is that God created sex. In schools, the topic shouldn’t altogether be avoided. Abstinence and sexual health talks can coexist.