In Minnesota in 2009, an average of 16 adolescents became pregnant each day. Although teen pregnancy is on the decline, the United States still has one of the highest rates of all developed countries. Furthermore, adolescent sexual activity is on the rise and condom use is on the decline, so while teens may not be getting pregnant as often, they still are not approaching sexual activity in a safe manner.
The effort of schools to encourage abstinence is clearly not working. Although parents are supportive of a comprehensive sex-education curriculum, the legislature continues to debate abstinence-only program mandates for schools. Teach Safe Touch proposes a different approach to educating our youth.
We are urging the Minnesota legislature to include masturbation as a safe-sex alternative in the current high school sex-education curriculum. Masturbation carries no risk of pregnancy, infections, or other sex-related complications and can even delay teens’ first sexual experiences. Treating masturbation as a shameful act has had a negative impact on our society for generations. Adults and youth alike struggle to love and accept their bodies. Masturbation allows us all to be healthy, natural, and safe in expressing our sexuality.
This proposal needs your support. Sex-related freedoms are under constant attack in this country. Tell Minnesota lawmakers that we have a right to our own bodies, and that students need to be presented with all their options so they can make an informed decision about their sexual activity.
The future of sexual health lies in your hands. With high pregnancy rates and infections increasingly common, teens need to be presented with all the facts. We are short-changing our youth with abstinence-only sex-education, a program that has clearly been ineffective in delaying sexual activity.
Research has shown that a great majority of parents in Minnesota are supportive of comprehensive sexual education for students as a way to delay sexual activity. And with rates of sexually-transmitted infections and sexual activity on the rise in adolescents, the time has come to approach this problem from a new perspective.
As part of a comprehensive sexual education curriculum, we advise you to include masturbation as a safe-sex alternative. Teens need to know all their options in order to make an informed decision regarding their own sexual activity. We insist that masturbation be included in the discussion of sexual options, and regarded with the same validity as protected sex and abstinence. Our youth needs and deserves this information, and it is our responsibility to ensure they receive it.
Young people are already making choices about sex and sexuality. We must make sure those decisions are educated ones.