Birds and Bees at CHS: What’s the Buzz?

By Thomas Atkinson, Online Features Editor

Let’s talk about sex. The everyday lives of students are inundated with sex at every turn, which undoubtedly influences their ideas about it.
These three tiny letters can wield so much power in a teen’s life, especially if he or she has the perception that everyone is doing it. The Observer has discovered that, at least at CHS, this is not the case.
In an Observer study of 150 students, 80 percent of those who chose to answer the question stated that they had never had sex before.

1. Student Views on Sex

Despite the fact that most CHS students are not sexually active, the average student holds quite liberal views on when it is permissible to engage in sexual behaviors.
In the Observer survey, only 10 percent of students surveyed believe that sex is only permissible during marriage, while the other 90 percent believe that only a “committed relationship” is necessary. In contrast, 27 percent of students believe their parents think sex is only permissible in marriage, and the other 73 percent of students believe their parents think sex is permissible in a committed relationship.
Some find losing one’s virginity to be sacred and therefore something that should be saved for the right person.
“Sex is very personal and a representation of your love between you and that other person, and it should be kept between you and the person you love the most,”sophomore Jessica* said.

2. The Talk

In the Observer survey, 53 percent of students said their parents had spoken to them about sex, and 47 percent said their parents had not communicated their values about sexual intercourse at all.
According to, kids whose parents talk to them about sex are more likely to be abstinent.
However, according to a 2012 national survey done by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health, only 43 percent of parents feel comfortable talking about sex with their children.
“A lot of parents get judgmental and yell at their kids instead of educating them, so the kids get uncomfortable and scared,” senior Julia* said.
However some parents have found a way to take an awkward subject and make it informative and helpful.
“[My parents] said it very bluntly and didn’t sugar coat anything,” Jessica* said. “That way I got everything straightforward and could easily understand. At that age I thought it was very weird, but my parents still talk about it because it is more relevant and that still makes it very straightforward since it is such a serious topic.”
“The Talk” allows kids to discuss an important topic with someone they trust and can rely on. If trusted adults don’t properly inform their children about sex, students may resort to information from less reliable sources such as movies, pornography and the Internet, leaving them with false information and misperceptions about sex.

3. Consequences of Being Sexually Active

As students who choose to be sexually active embark on their sexplorations, they may not understand the true ramifications of their actions.
According to a Jan. 28 Livestrong article, teens are under enormous pressure to have sex from their peers, significant others and even from themselves. All these different forces can lead someone to lose their virginity when they were not emotionally or physically prepared.
“Especially when in a relationship with someone, you are almost expected to have sex with the person a couple months in,” junior Diana* said.
While losing one’s virginity is often celebrated by the media in films such as American Pie and Easy A, adolescent sex is not a matter to be taken lightly for there are many serious repercussions such as guilt, depression and even harsh judgment from peers.
For example, young girls who have sex early will be socially shunned while boys will be more accepted by their peers, according to an 2013 NIH article.
Unfortunately for these hormonal teens, their actions can lead to more than just social acceptance or isolation.
According to the 2013 survey by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, young people between the ages 15-24 accounted for the 20 million new STD cases in the U.S.
4. How Do Students Learn about Sex?

According to the Observer survey, only 20 percent of students said they received their primary sexual education through health class. The other 80 percent primarily learned about sex through the media, friends or firsthand experience.
“I honestly have to say I learned about sex the most from experiencing it for myself,” senior Sarah* said.


5. LGBT Sex Education

Even with condom companies advertising safe sex in social media and sex-ed curriculums being taught at school, the LGBT community is not often talked about in regards to sex, and they are left uninformed about the different ways to have safe sex.
“As a gay student, I don’t feel that MCPS did enough to prepare LGBT students to know enough about being safe,” David* said. “Though I did lose my virginity a little early, I still think I could have been more prepared.”
The LGBT community is only mentioned in the health curriculum when referring to the many different sexual identities.
MCPS Content Specialist Jeffery Mehr directed the Observer to the MCPS website in response to questions about LGBT sexual education; however, the website does not contain any specific information about this topic, and Mehr did not respond to additional inquiries for information.
“[MCPS should provide sex ed] for people who are questioning their sexuality; educating people on this might help [them] discover their sexuality,” junior Nathan* said. “Also teaching about this might help people better sympathize with being gay.”
The choice of whether to become sexually active is a personal choice, but not one to be taken lightly. As with most decisions, the more informed a person is, the more equipped a person is to make the best decision.
*Students asked that their real names not be used due to the sensitive nature of the subject.

The Observer survey was distibuted to Churchill students via Twitter and Facebook.