Sex is an allusive topic for all High School Students. Since sixth grade health class, students have been fully aware of what “it” is, how “it” happens, and what the consequences of “it” are. Students take health classes all throughout elementary school, two in middle school, and one in high school. There are various topics covered, including self-esteem, nutrition, physical and emotional aspects of intercourse. However, health class does not completely cover the necessary information for teenagers to carry with them as they reach sexual maturity, and do not have all of the information to navigate themselves around the hormone-driven world. Human Sexuality, an elective offered at Hills West, does however offer such lessons and allows students to speak freely and openly about sex, have their questions answered, and learn more about themselves as adults. These are important things for high school students to learn, which begs the question, should Human Sexuality be a mandatory course for High School students in addition to regular Health?
Human Sexuality is offered as a half year elective to eleventh and twelfth grade students at Hills West. The only requirement is that health class be completed prior to taking the elective. The class is taught by Mrs. Stiglitz, a health teacher. Ms. Dittrich, a former health teacher at HSW, describes the elective as “an opportunity to go into greater depth regarding the emotions and the relationships involving sex”. When asked if she feels the regular health curriculum should be modified to include some of the teachings of the Human Sexuality course, she stated that in reality, students already receive the necessary information. In addition to this, small role of sex education within health education curriculum is often criticized by parents.
For some students, the topic of sex is uncomfortable for various reasons. Junior Rose Bender states, “I don’t think human sexuality should be mandatory for a number of reasons. If you don’t want to hear about sex past the required amount, the school should not inflict that on you. If you have religious beliefs that prohibits sex before marriage, and if your parents disapprove, you shouldn’t be forced to have the school indoctrinate you in that way.” Sexuality and the classroom are two separate spheres of existence and there are students who feel uncomfortable combining the two.
A survey of various freshmen gave mixed results in regard to their comfort level with sex. When an anonymous freshmen was approached with the question “Do you feel comfortable talking about sex?” he walked away, blushing. After further interrogation, it was confirmed that he was indeed, not comfortable discussing it. If a student is uncomfortable discussing sex with his peers, it’s hard to imagine that his comfort level would rise when discussing it with teachers.
Despite the reasons suggesting its misplacement as a mandatory course, there are merits to further discussing the implications of sex in a classroom environment. Integrating such a complex and compelling aspect of adult life into education on how to navigate with its existence is very beneficial for adolescents. There is more to sex than science; and that should be relayed to students and open for questions, discussions, and guidance. Human Sexuality should remain an elective for any student interested in further discussing sex; there should be no stigma attached. The class promotes conversation and discussion, and should be promoted more efficiently by the school.