Comprehensive sex education

A 2002 study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 58% of secondary school principals describe their sex education curriculum as comprehensive.

The American Psychological Association,] the American Medical Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association, the Society for Adolescent Medicine and the American College Health Association, have all stated official support for comprehensive sex education. Comprehensive sex education curricula are intended to reduce sexually transmitted disease and out-of-wedlock or teenage pregnancies.

Proponents of this approach argue that sexual behavior after puberty is a given, and it is therefore crucial to provide information about the risks and how they can be minimized. They hold that abstinence-only sex ed and conservative moralizing will only alienate students and thus weaken the message.

A report issued by the Department of Health and Human Services has found the "most consistent and clear finding is that sex education does not cause adolescents to initiate sex when they would not otherwise have done so." The same report also found that:

    Family life or sex education in the public schools, which traditionally has consisted largely of providing factual information at the secondary school level, is the most general or pervasive approach to preventing pregnancy among adolescents....Adolescents who begin having sexual intercourse need to understand the importance of using an effective contraceptive every time they have sex. This requires convincing sexually active teens who have never used contraception to do so. In addition, sexually active teens who sometimes use contraceptives need to use them more consistently (every time they have sex) and use them correctly.

Comprehensive sex education curriculums offer medical data that is presented in an age appropriate manner. A wide spectrum of topics is covered in these programs, which include abstinence, contraception, relationships, sexuality, and the prevention of disease (Siecus). The main focus is to educate youth so that they can make an informed decision about their own sexual activity and health. Studies have shown that the comprehensive programs work for youth population across the spectrum. Inexperienced, experienced, male, female, the majority of ethnic groups, and different communities all benefitted from this type of curriculum. Yet unlike its counterpart, comprehensive sex education programs are ineligible for federal funding due to mandates against educating youth about contraception (Advocates For Youth). The proposed Responsible Education About Life Act  would provide federal funding for comprehensive sex education programs which include information on both abstinence and contraception and condoms.