Opinion: Let’s talk about sex-ed for all four years of high school


Students have received very little proper sexual education. Graphic by: Soraya Stegall

Sophia Nacu and Soraya Stegall

Why barely one-quarter of sexual education at VHS just isn’t enough

During their freshman year, VHS students are required to take a course in health. This class is paired with college and careers. Since each course is a semester-long, there is already a shorter time frame to cover a vast area of subjects. Toward the end of the health course, students cover sexual education. As for the rest of high school, a health course for each following year isn’t required, which means that sexual education is seldom taught. This is different depending on what science course you take, but for those not taking a medical class, there is little to no knowledge given regarding it. 

 So, not only is the overall subject of health crammed into one measly semester, but sex education is crammed into an even tighter time slot. It’s simply impossible to cover all the bases in such a short time. 

Jack Rose ’23 said, “I’ve never really had a sex-ed class at VHS. I think it’s something many can benefit from. I think there’s valuable information in any sex-ed course that if you apply in the right way, can be very helpful in everyday life.”

The time allotted for “sex education” – if one can even call it that – consists of a video of a woman giving birth within a documentary, an explanation of what a menstrual cycle is and a demonstration of how one uses a condom and a half-as*** presentation regarding the other ways to prevent pregnancy or STI.

Caylin Mobley ‘23 said, “I only remember getting [sexual education] during [my] freshman year in health. It’s not great if I’m going to be honest, there definitely could be more information.” Graphic by: Soraya Stegall and Sophia Nacu
London Fletcher ‘23 said, “I don’t think that the sex education in VHS has prepared us for the real world at all, and I think that it should because I think it’s pretty common sense for people to assume that kids in high school are engaging in sexual activity. I don’t feel as though VHS has educated us enough on it.”

Abigail Block ‘23 said, “I feel like there isn’t really any sexual education [taught at] Ventura High. I honestly only remember one segment from freshman year health class in the one semester that we get, but I feel like for the most part it’s catered towards students that are practicing abstinence and people who don’t partake in any sexual activities and it’s not preparing anyone to engage in those [sexual] activities.”

For the longest time, the practice of celibacy has been the primary response to preventing unwanted pregnancies or STIs. Yet this method is outdated and useless. 

Obviously it’s common sense that if one is not sexually active, then they will not be faced with the risks that come with it, but as long as testosterone and estrogen continue to exist, so will the natural human instincts and urges to be sexually active. We need to throw away this dismissive response and instead provide students with methods to practice safe sex as well as actual solutions to turn to when they find themselves in a rut. 

Block said, “It isn’t fair and it’s honestly unsafe that educators aren’t teaching anything because then kids go into these sexual situations basically blindsided and uneducated, we’re more likely to make mistakes and get pregnant.” 

Deniyah Alvarado ‘24 said, “[Sex education] is basically nonexistent, no one’s really learned anything about sex. I feel like we should learn about sex, we should be educated.”

In all honesty, it’s a complete joke that VHS has gone almost three years without sex ed instruction. The necessity for sexual education exists as long as students grow and curiosity blooms about their sexual orientation and preferences. The need to know about one’s self, inside and out, is important. Even the simple act of putting on a condom or putting in a tampon can be difficult, scary and shameful for some. When young adults find themselves in environments that deprive them of proper information about sexual health and practice, they can turn to other outlets which provide flimsy and incredibly uncredible ideas of what sex is. Therefore, if students are not provided adequate educational opportunities at school to learn about sex and anatomy, then they will have a limited arena of resources to turn to when they have questions about sex and their bodies.

Sloane Feingold ’23 said, “I feel very at this school sad and I feel like at this school we are all very uneducated regarding sex education.” Graphic by: Soraya Stegall and Sophia Nacu

An example of misinformation regarding intercourse and the way it should be – and one that is quite controversial – is porn. The sexual situations depicted by this industry are often unrealistic and heavily overdramatized. Although porn is an outlet for self-pleasure, it is also a manipulative industry that is motivated by whatever peaks interest and income. Porn becomes a danger when the younger generation relies upon it as a truthful depiction of what intercourse is. Despite many websites claiming that they are 18+, anyone can have access, so such said “limits” will not detract underage teens from viewing it. Whatever your opinions are on porn, we believe it is an issue when it replaces proper sexual instruction and is the only means young adults have of what sex is. It creates unrealistic expectations in the bedroom, let alone in romantic relationships, for both men and women. 

When Principal Rodriguez was asked for an interview, she responded, “We are working with our current health teachers to get more specific info.”

A four-year education course would provide students with sufficient instruction. The time allocated would allow for thorough teaching to cover each and every base of this complex subject. Young people are one of the most vulnerable groups when it comes to contracting STIs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea. Teaching students not only how to prevent contracting infections but also the symptoms and how to treat them will create a more open and supportive environment for students at school and students will feel more confident when venturing into romantic relationships with one another. As students progress throughout the course from semesters to grade levels, the subject matter covered can be set to appropriately fit the age group and maturity level of the students. Sexual education matters taught to freshmen will heavily differ from that taught to seniors, but no matter what, we strongly believe every student deserves to know their bodies and to have proper sexual education opportunities. This has been lacking for far too long, and the health and well-being of VHS students is jeopardized as a result of the administration’s failure to address the importance and prominence of sex in the lives of young adults.