Sex education in schools

I was rather surprised to read yesterday that there’s no sex education in British schools. I think this should be a compulsory part of the curriculum. I went through school more than 20 years ago now and it was a part of my schooling way back then. And that was 20 years ago and before kids had access to internet pornography. Sadly, internet pornography is providing sex education for most of our young people but it is not indicative of sex in the real world. It is also fairly male-dominated and focused on male satisfaction and pleasure rather than pleasure for both. This is how young boys today learn about sex. I find this really concerning, because while I can make sure my own son learns that pornography is not realistic, my daughter will have this pool of young men as potential partners which really sucks.

As an example of just how shocking the situation is, I watched this Channel 4 documentary about Sex in Class. It films a two-week course on sex education delivered by UN ambassador for sexual health, Goedele Liekens, at a Lancashire school. Here’s what some of the young boys said in the class: consent for sex means consent to ejaculate all over her face; I would dump a girl if she had a hairy fanny; a girl should swallow semen out of respect. The boys all had a very dominating and pornographic view of sex. It was very depressing.

Let me make clear that I don’t object to pornography but there’s no denying that it’s skewing the views that young men have about sex. There needs to be a counterbalance for this. One thing that Goedele Liekens does in the class is to give the boys some homework in the form of shaving their pubic hair everyday for a week to know what it feels like. Hair-free genitals is something that I find quite disturbing and if I’m being entirely honest, gross. There’s something a bit paedophilic about it.

Something else incredibly surprising was how many of the girls did not know the location of their clitoris – 7/10 of them. She gave the girls homework in the form of looking in a mirror to discover their bits. One of the fathers expressed concern about this and didn’t see the point of it. Are you kidding me? All I can say is, I feel sorry for his wife, if he has one.

Apparently the situation in the US is even more dire where, according to a recent John Oliver video, some schools teach abstinence. Apparently it’s even prohibited to provide condom demonstrations in class in Mississippi. All I can can say is, good luck with that! John Oliver’s video is here:

That’s my rant. We’re off to a castle today. Yay!


12 Replies to “Sex education in schools”

    1. Ah, that’s better than I thought. Thanks for the link! The documentary on sex in class makes it seem almost non-existent or fairly rudimentary.

  1. I’m out of the educational loop these days with children in their twenties but lie you my sex education classes were compulsory. Rather mechanical as I recall and not much in the nature of relationships. When the children had them, 10 to 12 years ago I don’t recall being given the option or opting out but maybe we were. They were a lot better around relationships I believe. You are right to be horrified and I’m glad we’re not the only ones (with my wife) who thinks fetishising the removal of body hair is creepy as all hell and as you say verging towards the paedophile tendency. I’m no prude but something has become awfully skewed. Thanks for the link too. Fascinating in car crash sort of way.

    1. I suspect it depends on the school as to how good sex education currently is. Some schools may do a very good job but I did like the approach taken by Goedele Liekens and this is probably quite rare or virtually non-existent.

  2. In NZ the approach to Sex Education is ‘open and honest’- and learning about sexuality is something that happens when the opportunity arises, if you’ll pardon the pun. One of the more interesting discussions we had about sexuality type things was when I had a photo of a license plate on a wedding car that was ‘VIBR8R’- My kids then asked what a vibrator was- I sort of paused to think of an appropriate response when my 8 year old daughter piped up ‘Its something that fat people use to lose weight!’ – I replied, well, actually that’s called vibration training darling’ then proceeded to tell them what the item in question was- when my 11 year old heard the definition- it was ‘Euww, mum, you don’t need to say any more’- Lots of people said they would have changed the subject or not told their kids- I think if one is matter of fact about it, then the kids know.

  3. The sad thing in this country is that our education system doesn’t start systematically with the fundamental things: what would we like all our young people to leave school with? The ability to form a caring relationship with another human being, including good sex education, is so much part of that, along with things like a compassionate attitude to the disabled… but we don’t live in a culture that values those attributes and therefore we don’t plan our education systems around them.

    1. That’s exactly what I want my own kids to get out of school – long and lasting friendships. The social aspect to school is more important to me than the academic side of it.

  4. Good Lord!! No sex education in British schools? Mind you, all I remember is watching a very graphic film (Swedish) of a woman giving birth when I was about 12. How I went on to give birth three times is something I’ll never understand after watching that torture. But I agree with you Rachel, and reading what those young lads said about sex appalled me…and I am no prude, believe me. Makes me feel quite depressed, the things our young people are exposed to these days…

    1. Gosh, I can’t believe you got to see childbirth in all its gory detail at age 12! That’s actually pretty good. I wonder whether the school still does it?

      1. I know, can you believe it? It was during what was once called ‘Liberal Studies’ and we all filed into the school auditorium. Can you imagine, us giggling girls watching that?

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