Since the declaration that sex education will be cut from the UK school curriculum (it will no longer be mandatory to teach sex ed. Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-35549295) I’ve been concerned as to where the younger generation are getting their information. Although Nicky Morgan is planning to scrap compulsory sex education from the UK school curriculum, the government website states it is compulsory from age 11 (source: https://www.gov.uk/national-curriculum/other-compulsory-subjects). Therefore, primary schools are not required to teach sex education, but local authority maintained secondary schools must do so.
I am, and I’m sure you are too, completely disgusted by this. The reproductive system, puberty, periods, healthy sexual relationships; how are young people supposed to make decisions about these things if they’re not being taught? And lets be honest, is the content being taught from age 11 in-depth and helpful enough? The education I received certainly wasn’t. I took to Twitter to see that I wasn’t alone:
“All I received was a 30 year old male teacher making innuendos about his conquests, videos with boys licking 99p cones and girls sucking lollypops… That’s all I can remember!” – Vicki Newman
“My sex education teacher in year 9 said: ‘girls, don’t get excited about losing your virginity, it will hurt and he probably wont care’.” – Katie
“In my school, some of the teaches would teach sex education because they were open about it. Others, predominantly the male teaches, were shy and would not teach it. It wasn’t until year 11 that our class got to watch videos on the importance of sexual health. It was pretty bad that we had to wait until year 11 for any sex education.” – Rachel Evans
“I went to a catholic school and our sex education was mostly pictures and horror stories. No consent. Not much on contraception. And we were never shown how to use condoms. Our school had the highest rate of teenage pregnancies in the city.” – Kitty Wenham
“My school was surprisingly liberal. Our sex education was inclusive of LGBT+ people and we had several lessons on it throughout the years. We also learnt about birth control and how to put a condom on.” – Izzie Loughridge
“In primary school it was periods, puberty and biology, secondary school taught us about different birth controls, STD’s and how to put a condom on. There was no mention of anything other than heterosexual, cisgender sex and consent wasn’t even touched on.” – Sinead Connell
There’s no doubt that the education system is seriously lacking when it comes to sex. Most people are being taught the basics but only one person out of 6 said they had fairly extensive sex education. Not one person said anything about healthy sexual relationships, not to mention, the compulsory part of sex: consent.
Whether people are gaining basic knowledge of sex or not; foolish rumors, sex myths, sexual abuse, hyper sexualisation (especially of women) and pornographic images are all prominent within our society. The objectification of the female anatomy is the number one marketing structure for advertisers. Most of us have access to the internet where it is far too easy to stumble across inappropriate images and information. Our whole culture perpetuates skewed representations of sex yet we want to keep actual safe and healthy information hidden. It doesn’t make sense to me.
The question is: why are we so afraid of sex? And is sex feared because of the lack of education surrounding it? Or is it simply because it is bad? Talking of simple. Lets try and put this simply:
The most important thing to parents is their child’s safety right? And how do you keep your child safe when it comes to teaching them about sex?
a) Make out sex to be naughty, wrong or bad. Hope that they figure it out on their own or rely on external sources, which could potentially allow their curiosity to lead them to misleading information, or worse, land them in a dangerous situation.
b) Teach them about the hidden wonders of their body and talk to them openly about healthy sexual relationships. Assist them with medical services and/or buy them books/magazines/leaflets surrounding the subject so they have something to hold onto in times of curiosity or urgency.
Hmmmm? Did you really have to think about your answer to that?
If anyone knows of any petitions/support groups/charities/organisations on this topic that I can get behind then please comment below or send me a direct message on twitter @emalemonpie