Sex education has had some bad press recently. Apparently, even using the word sex is controversial. SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX!!!
If you don’t like the word ‘sex’ then I wouldn’t bother reading on, I’m going to say it a lot. Not out of some feminist whim but because that is what it is.
Sex shouldn’t be a taboo word. Sexuality is an intrinsic part of being human and sexual development is part of growing up. So why has an Ofsted report revealed 40% of schools‘ PSHE lessons need improvement or were inadequate?
They focus too much on the mechanics of sex, says Ofsted. Instead there needs to be a balance; teach children about sex but also about healthy and equal sexual relationships.
Yet, there seems to be an ingrained fear that if we focus on the practical and emotional elements of sex we will create randy sex monsters who can’t wait to roll around in the hay.
I believe if we focus on the real issues of sex, such as, teenage pregnancy, domestic violence, pornography, abuse and let’s not forget, love, with high quality, age – appropriate, non judgemental forums on sex and relationships then we will have a generation who are empowered to make informed choices about their bodies and future.
My sex education was pretty basic. As awkward girls we sniggered at the back of the classroom while we watched a cartoon video on reproductive organs during a biology lesson. This may have been sufficient when I was 11 years old but as a teenager I needed and wanted more. My school didn’t (or couldn’t) provide it. I don’t think we talked about sex once when we hit GCSE and later our A – level years. But that is probably when we needed it most as we were acutely aware of our developing bodies and their sexual allure.
Luckily, I had open and forward thinking parents who discussed sex and relationships openly and maturely so I wasn’t totally naive or unprepared. But the key word there is lucky. I was lucky enough to have a Mum I could talk to about the practicalities of contraception or the latest heartbreak. But what about those who can’t?
That’s why when our workshop Stop Baby Ahead was failing I pushed hard to get it recognised in schools. It’s important to focus on the practical, financial and emotional consequences of becoming a teenage parent in a safe, non – judgemental forum. I think it helps too that it comes from an outside speaker rather than a teacher who kids have a different relationship with. We now visit over 100 schools with our Stop Baby Ahead forum; a figure I’m very proud of but I’m not stopping any time soon. I won’t be happy until we reach every school in the UK. Bring. It. On.
For more information about Stop Baby Ahead click on the link to download our flyer
- Many schools failing to give pupils adequate sex lessons, says Ofsted (guardian.co.uk)
- Age-appropriate sex education call (bbc.co.uk)
- Ofsted: teach about pornography in sex education lessons (telegraph.co.uk)