Sex is not a topic often discussed by adults and adolescents. Often, if a daring parent brings it up he or she is met with anxious glances toward the nearest exit.
Sex education also happens in school classrooms. The Anchorage School District follows an "abstinence plus" model, which addresses sex but stresses abstinence only.
Some within the community are not happy with the way sex education is handled and feel that our education system must do more to fully inform students.
Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest is heading a petition to integrate comprehensive sex education into Alaska schools curriculum. The petition would call for age-appropriate sex education for all grade levels, focusing on ways in which teens can protect themselves if they do choose to become sexually active.
"The petition is just a way to start the conversation," said Clover Simon, vice president of Planned Parenthood of Alaska.
Simon said sex education must be a communitywide discussion that includes teachers, parents and students.
She said teachers and parents are not going to be in the room when teens make decisions about having sex, and it is vital that teens do not make these choices with only a partial knowledge of consequences.
"The most important thing to know," said Simon, "is that the more information you have, the easier it is to make the decision that's right for you."
While some fear that teaching teens about sex as well as safe-sex practices would undermine abstinence education and encourage teens to engage in sexual activities, others feel the topic is best left out of the classroom altogether.
Mariah Anderson, the children's director at Abbott Loop Community Church, opposes sex education in schools, and feels that the issue, though real should be dealt with differently.
"Parents should have the first opportunity to talk to their kids about sex. It should not be something taken on by the School Board," Anderson said.
Anderson said many sex education concepts should be addressed only by parents and within the context of their family values. If they chose to, parents will be able to incorporate God, family and marriage into the conversation, she said.
Anderson recognizes that some parents may not know how to approach their teens and feels that it would be appropriate for schools to give parents information on how to do so. However, she emphasized that it must be parents, and not teachers who have this conversation with their teens.
Simon just worried that the lack of a comprehensive program could lead to increased rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease.
"Of all the developed nations in the world, the U.S. has the highest rates of teen pregnancy and STDs," Simon said.
Nithya Thiru is a junior at Polaris K-12.