School-based sex education improves awareness of risk and knowledge of risk reduction strategies, increases self-effectiveness and intention to practice safer sex, and delays rather than hastens the onset of sexual activity.
Sex education is a broad term used to describe education about human sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction, sexual intercourse, and other aspects of human sexual behavior.
One approach to sex education is to view it as necessary to reduce risk behaviours such as unprotected sex, and equip individuals to make informed decisions about their personal sexual activity. Additionally, some proponents of comprehensive sex education contend that education about homosexuality encourages tolerance and understanding that homosexuality isn’t something that is wrong.
Another viewpoint on sex education, historically inspired by sexologists like Wilhelm Reich and psychologists like Sigmund Freud and James W. Prescott, holds that what is at stake in sex education is control over the body and liberation from social control. Proponents of this view tend to see the political question as whether society or the individual should teach sexual mores. Sexual education may thus be seen as providing individuals with the knowledge necessary to liberate themselves from socially organized sexual oppression and to make up their own minds. In addition, sexual oppression may be viewed as socially harmful.
To another group in the sex education debate, the political question is whether the state or the family should teach sexual mores. They believe that sexual mores should be left to the family, and sex-education represents state interference. They claim that some sex education curricula break down pre-existing notions of modesty and encourage acceptance of practices that those advocating this viewpoint deem immoral, such as homosexuality and premarital sex. They cite web sites such as that of the Coalition for Positive Sexuality as examples. Naturally, those that believe that homosexuality and premarital sex are a normal part of the range of human sexuality disagree with them.
Many religious conservatives believe that sexuality is a subject that should not be taught at all. They believe that the longer a teenager is kept unaware of sexuality, the less likely they will become involved in sexual behavior. Conservative religions believe that any sexual behavior outside of marriage is immoral.
Other religious conservatives believe that sexual knowledge is unavoidable, and so desire to teach curricula based on abstinence.
Some believe that when a person explains sexual matters to a teenager without a formal education program and without consent from the parents that it is inappropriate, and may in some cases be interpreted as child grooming.
— The Lancet