By : Kuntjojo
A. Background of the Problem
Adolescence is a phase of human development whereby someone experiences dramatic changes from a sexual to sexual. These changes mainly are marked by development of primary and secondary sexual characteristics. The development of sexual characteristics then causes development of sexual behavior such as attracted to another gender and having sexual drive. Sexual behavior of adolescents can lead to severe problems if it expressed uncotrolly or against the morality values. In fact, uncontrolled sexual behavior harms adolescents for three main reasons.
First of all, adolescents who have uncontrolled sexual behavior have high risk for fail in school. Sexual behavior such as dating causes adolescents ignore their time for leaning. Beside lack time for learning, they also face a concentration problem in learning. Therefore, most of them face fail in learning some subjects even fail in school.
Second, adolescents who have uncontrolled sexual behavior have risk of unwanted pregnancy. One of form sexual behavior is desire for making love. If adolescents don’t have good self-control, they have risk for getting pregnant. According to Alan Guttmacher Institute (2003) about 60% young people of the world experienced unwanted pregnancies. If young women experience unwanted pregnancies furthermore they face failure in finishing their studies. Billingham (1992) writes, “Pregnancy is the single most common cause of school dropout among girls; nearly 70 percents fail to complete high school”.
Finally, adolescents who have uncontrolled sexual behavior also have high risk for infection with sexually transmitted deseases. Gonorrhea, one of sexual deseases, spreads through sexual intercourse. Adolescents will infect this desease if they have sexual intercourse with a person who already infection with this desease. HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), which have been known as the most horrified desease because there is no medicine for it, also spread through sexual intercourse. So, sexual intercourse outside of marriage has high risk for infection with AIDS/HIV. Research showed that up to 60 percents of HIV in young women occur by the age of 20 (Alan Guttmacher Institute, 2003). According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2009), in the United States, in 2006, an estimated 5,259 young people aged 13-24 in the 33 states reporting to CDC were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, representing about 14% of the persons diagnosed that year.
In summary, uncontrolled sexual behavior is harms the future and health of adolescents. Therefore, it must be prevented. According to some experts, such as Singgih Gunarso, Sarwono, Guno Asmoro, and Forest, sex education is the right choice for preventing this phenomena. Moreover, it must be given to young people prior adolescence.
In order to reach the aims of sex education correctly, some important aspects of sex education must be understood. First, what is sex education? Second, what are the aims of sex education to adolescents? Third, how should sex education to adolescents be given? Fourth, what material should be given in sex education to adolescents? Finally, who should give sex education to adolescents?
Key words: adolescents, sexual behavior, and sex education.
Based on some question above, there are five important aspects will be discussed in this paper.
1. What is Sex Education?
There are some experts who give the definitions about sex education. Sarwono (2002: 188-189), says, “Pendidikan seks bukanlah penerangan tentang seks semata-mata. Pendidikan seks adalah suatu informasi mengenai seksualitas manusia secara jelas dan benar, yang meliputi terjadinya pembuahan, kehamilan, sampai kelahiran, tingkah laku seksual, hubungan seksual, dan aspek-aspek kesehatan, kejiwaan dan masyarakat”. According to Sarwono, sex education is not only information about sex but also human sexuality including conception, child birth, sexual behavior relating to health, psychological, and sociological aspects.
Simon Forest, a director of UK Sex Education Forum, states, “Sex education, which is sometimes called sexuality education or sex and relationship education, is the process of acquiring information and forming attitudes and belief about sex, sexual identity, relationships and intimacy”.
Based on two definitions above, sex education can be understood as follows:
a. It is the process of acquiring information about human sexuality such as conception, pregnancy, child birth, sexual behavior, reproductive health, sexually transmitted diseases, etc.
b. It is the process of developing attitudes and values relating to human sexuality.
c. It is the process of developing interpersonal skills.
d. It is the process of developing responsibility.
2. What are the Aims of Sex Education to Adolescents?
Young people, especially adolescents must be given sex education in order to:
a. help them obtain the clear and correct knowledge about sexuality;
b. make them proud of their own sex;
c. help them develop responsible sexual behavior;
d. help them develop relationship skills;
e. help them develop an ability to make decisions over their lifetime.
3. How should Sex Education to Adolescents be Given?
There some principles that should be considered giving sex education. First, sex education is the goal oriented activity. Second, the information should be given naturally, objectively, and undoubtly. Third, sex education can be given individually and in groups. Fourth, it can be given as a preventive or corrective action. Finally, it should be given repeatedly.
4. What material should be Given in Sex Education to Adolescents?
The aims of sex education decide what material should be given in this education. Based on its aims, the main material of sex education can be developed as follows:
a. Information about human sexuality including growth and development, human reproduction, anatomy and physiology of genital organs, pregnancy, childbirth, parenthood, contraception, abortion, HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases.
b. Values and attitude about reproductive health, family life, marriage, parenthood, and condusive relationship for growing of children.
c. Relationship and interpersonal skills including self-respect, empathy for others, communication, and assertiveness.
5. Who should Give Sex Education to Adolescents?
Sex education should not be given by any person for two reasons. First, it is a kind of education. So, it can only be done by educators. Second, its materials has the wide scope. So, it can only mastered by certain persons.
Based on discussion above, it can be stated that sex education to adolescents must be held by the right persons. Prabhu (2006) proposes, “Sexuality education should be taught by specially trained teachers or professionals or by trained peer groups”.
Sex educators, according to Prabhu, are teachers who have been trained for giving sex education and professionals such as physicians, psychologists, and counselors. Peer groups also can be sex educators if they have been trained for this education.
How about parents and teachers? Eventhough parents and teachers are not sex educators for adolescents, they should be involved in developing a program because of their responsibility as educators.
In conclusion, sex education is viewed as the best way of preventing adolescents’ uncontrolled behavior. But there is a notice for it. It will succeed if its exercution based on the right understanding about it. So, person who will be the sex educator to adolescents must understand about the meaning, the aims, and the materials of sex education needed adolescents. They must understand the requirements for sex educators.
Alan Guttmacher Institute. (2003) “Sexual and Reproductive Health Education and Services for Adolescents”. http://www.gutmacher.edu (accessed: November 24, 2008).
Billingham, Khaterine. (1992) Developmental Psychology for the Health Care Professions: Parts I – Prenatal Through Adolescents Development. Colorado: Westview Press.
CDC. (2009) “Sexual Risk Behavior.” http://www.cdc.gov/ (accessed: April 20, 2009).
Forrest, Simon. (2006) “Sex Education that Works” http://www.evert.or/educate.html. (Accessed: December 3, 2008).
Prabhu, Vithal. (2006) “Sex Education.” http://www.healthlibrary.com/reading/index.html. Accessed: December 3, 2007).
Sarlito Wirawan Sarwono. (2004) Psikologi Remaja. Jakarta: PT Raja Grafindo Persada.