Channel four aired a program last week called, Sex in Class. The program saw Sexologist, Goedele Liekens who was tasked with testing 15-16 year olds on their knowledge of sex. Goedele was extremely knowledgeable, professional and very personable and she was able to talk to the teenagers on a level they understood. Examples of the questions she asked were: ‘Do you watch hard core porn?’ and ‘Do you masturbate?’
A number of teenagers had a fantasy idea of sex and freely admitted to watching pornography which was creating an unfortunate preconception at odds with a loving, sexual relationship. The teachers at the school seemed to be very uncomfortable with the discussions and the parents also found the homework a little too much, in that Goedele had asked the girls to take a mirror home and examine their vagina.
The teenagers were tested at the end of the lesson and it appeared that the vast majority learned a lot, and that they would welcome this more detailed, factual approach regarding sex education. The school agreed that a lot of new ‘Sex Education’ discussions were needed and would hopefully be introduced
My own experience of sex education at school wasn’t in the slightest bit interesting, engaging or at all useful for real life. Being shown cross-section diagrams of a penis (and subsequently being told to, ‘STOP GIGGLING!!’ and ‘LISTEN’) in a biology lesson at school isn’t exactly real life, is it?
A discussion is needed, questions need to be asked and not immediately dismissed if considered a little ‘experimental’. If teenagers are given the freedom to talk, they will. Having worked in sexual health and, in particular, young sexual health clinics, I have witnessed how mature teenagers can be, given the right environment.
I for one am in favour of introducing a more continental approach to sexual education in schools but I would also recommend that subjects such as revenge porn and social media safety are added to a 21st Century curriculum for sex education.
Clearly teenagers are evolving in a modern world and underage pregnancies rise year-on-year, so why should we expect that our antiquated methods of educating the 2015 teenager is still applicable?
I’d love to know your thoughts.