Comprehensive Sexuality Education

Teenwise Minnesota supports developmentally appropriate sexuality education for all ages throughout the educational experience. Teenwise Minnesota supports sexuality education for youth that includes medically accurate and developmentally appropriate information on abstinence and contraception.

A survey conducted in 2000 indicated that nine out of ten Minnesotans support comprehensive sexuality education in high schools. 1 Research has also shown that comprehensive sexuality education is effective in providing adolescents with the tools, the knowledge, the skills, the attitude and values to make responsible choices about their sexual health. 2 According to the Sex Education in America Survey conducted in January 2004, 46% of Americans believe the most appropriate approach to sex education is “abstinence-plus”- a program that teaches that abstinence is best, but also teaches about contraception; 36% believe that abstinence is not the most important thing, and that sex education should focus on teaching teens how to make responsible decisions about sex; and 15% believe that schools should teach only about abstinence. 3 In contrast, research indicates that abstinence-only-until-marriage education does not effectively delay the onset of sexual intercourse. 4 Comprehensive sexuality education programs that discuss both abstinence and contraception, including condoms, do not increase sexual activity among teens; rather, such programs often delay first intercourse, reduce the frequency of sex, and reduce the number of sexual partners.2 Also in recent years, the decline of teen pregnancy rates has been attributed not only to an increase in abstinence among adolescents, but also to an increase in contraceptive use. 5

Teenwise Minnesota’s Vision

Minnesota school districts will provide comprehensive sexuality education from kindergarten through 12th grade. The sexuality education provided will be age-appropriate, comprehensive, evidence-based and medically accurate. In particular, adolescents will receive information on abstinence and contraception to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV/AIDS, and unintended pregnancy.

Legislative and Policy Agenda

Through co-coordination of the Sexuality Education for Life Coalition, Teenwise Minnesota will work to ensure that Minnesota policies direct school districts to provide comprehensive, medically accurate and developmentally appropriate sexuality education.