New reports indicate a worry that sex education in Britain is being ‘watered down’, with organisations claiming new guidelines mean that it will omit references to genitalia, puberty or sexual health. Then some people said that this will not even remotely be the case. Hmm. DISCUSSION.
This is all against a backdrop of a survey that revealed a worryingly low percentage of UK teenagers (13%) had said they learnt most about sex from a Sex and Relationships Education teacher at school. 36% said they had gleaned the majority of their sexual factoids from friends, and 10% got the dirty deets from boyfriends and girlfriends. Bearing in mind that these are the same friends, boyfriends and girlfriends, of which only 13% got most of their information from a reliable, scientific source, and of which the majority got their information from friends and boyfriends and girlfriends, who mostly got their information from friends and boyfriends and girlfriends… do you see where I’m going here?
Sex education is a human right, and everybody, regardless of their religion, gender, race or terrible music taste deserves to have the most up-to-date, scientifically-backed information (yes, even Mumford & Sons fans). That’s scientifically-backed, not morally-backed. Sex is a funny old thing, and rather than seeing it as a fun, morally-sound activity that many people like to enjoy, like going to the zoo or playing frisbee, people get in a right hissy fit about it. Honesty is generally the best policy, and surely sex should be openly and frankly discussed in the same way that we might discuss any other kind of risky behaviour.
Take America – certain religious groups seem hell-bent on pursuing their own moral dogma, rather than one that looks out for the best interests of students concerning sex education in schools. About 35% of schools require abstinence to be taught as the only option for unmarried people, and either disallow the discussion of contraception completely, or only highlight its ineffectiveness. Eh? This is made worse when put alongside research that shows that abstinence-only strategies may make sexually active teenagers less likely to use contraception, which of course increases their risk of unintended pregnancy and STDs.
This approach seems to have eluded a really, really core, vital piece of intellectual reasoning, the likes of which it has taken centuries of painstaking research and endless think-tanks to produce: young people like to have sex, and they are definitely going to do it whether you like it or not. Telling hormone-crazed teenagers not to have sex, at all, ever, until they are married, is preposterous, and then denying them the scientific education about STIs, contraception, pregnancy, sexual orientation, and the importance of consent, is criminal. We are lucky to live in a world where this wealth of information exists, so we should take note, and stop robbing our youth blind.