Irish doctor with too many thoughts, too little time and a blog that's supposed to check in on reality.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Sex Education a Disaster???

Melanie Phillips discusses sex education and finds that it hasn't really worked. It's certainly something we should be thinking about in Ireland too as our teen pregnancy rate is not decreasing and STDs are reaching epidemic proportions.

During the past decade, school sex education programmes promoting a "safe sex" message have hugely expanded. Government-funded services advise on how to have sex, where to get the morning-after pill and how to spot sexually transmitted diseases. Girls as young as 13 are even being offered sex advice by text message; they tap in questions on their mobile phones and receive answers from sexual health workers.
Yet all this has not brought down the rate of sexual activity; far from it. The more such value-free sex education and contraceptive advice is given to children, the more their sexual activity increases. And the earlier in their lives this encouragement is provided, the earlier their sexual activity takes place.
This is because adult values are being loaded onto children who are too emotionally immature to cope with them. Teaching children that premature sex is permitted, appropriate and fun encourages them to try it out. This is hardly rocket science.
To believe that teaching them to link sex to "relationships" will make them behave responsibly is simply risible. A "relationship" is a concept that is so slippery as to be meaningless. It belongs to the world of TV soaps, which is about the level of reality that defines so many teenage - and a dismaying number of adult - sexual encounters to which the notion of permanent commitment is entirely foreign.
The increase in sexual promiscuity among children and teenagers is not due to ignorance but to the deliberate destruction of the notion of respectability. Not only are official blind eyes turned to enforcing the legal age of consent, but sex education actually targets under-age children.
Moral guidance is nowhere. Instead, sex education seeks to "clarify" the child's own values. But children need clear boundaries of behaviour. Treating them as if they have adult values is to abandon and even abuse them.


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