There are many subjects that one might consider dangerous to teach to children. Their young impressionable minds, creative personalities and need to fit in all add to such a complex issue. However, it isn’t “what” we teach at schools that’s the important question it is “how” we each that is essential to get right. Just imparting raw fact is hardly ever enough, far more effective is providing them with thinking skills that help them make decisions based on those facts or better still on the facts they come to learn throughout their lives. Also important is the ability to test facts and how they hold up to scrutiny, or how to confidently sources facts they need for further decisions.
A subject under much debate is: Sex Education. Many people believe that teaching sex education in schools only exposes them to risks, like underage sex and STDs. Though it is true that both underage sex and sexually transmitted disease have rapidly increased there is little evidence that this is due to the decision to teach sex education. In fact, it may be more likely that peer educated sex is the culprit making sex at an early age trendy, and pipping the educational establishments at the post with regards to instilling responsible and safe sexual practises.
Again, here it is not necessarily that Sex Education is or is not being taught, but how it is being taught that is significant. In most educational establishments it is the facts that are communicated (usually in a dull, diluted and uninspiring way); this covers the functions of sex and usually broaches on STDs. Not focusing on style (which as with all education needs to be fun, exciting and intriguing or you rarely learn) I shall outline for the purpose of Sex Education, in what way thinking should be directed.
The major missing link in the chain of education is not fact but decision-making. In which case, you need to observe two things with this particular subject:
One: sexual impulse
Two: sexual practice
Overview of sexual impulse’
There are three questions you should ask yourself when considering your sexual impulses or desire towards someone.
One. After considering the social, moral and relationship impacts of having sex with your desired partner, do you still want to continue?
Two. Do you feel your partner has considered the social, moral and relationship impacts of having sex, and do you trust that if they had they would still want to continue?
Three. How do the drives and impulses leading you towards wanting to have sex effect the context of sexual intercourse, and would your partner be comfortable with that?
I shall outline scenarios for each:
=Question one is based on three aspects social, moral and relationship impact. So:
-Social: If you are considering having sex with your cousin (which in many countries is legal), you might want to consider how your family and friends would feel, and how they would react to you and your partner?
-Moral: If you were married, and considering having sex with someone outside of your relationship boundary (i.e. if you’re partner doesn’t agree with it), how would this affect the feelings of your spouse? This section would also handle your beliefs regarding wedlock, and whether or not you should have sex within certain types of relationship (same sex, casual partners, or experimenting friends).
-Relationship: how would having sex with your desired partner affect your relationship with them? If you were a loving couple consummating your marriage, it would no doubt increase your level of intimacy and aid the development of your feelings toward one another. However, if you are platonic friends both experiencing short-term desire toward each other (possibly alcohol fuelled), having sex may introduce an uncomfortable element into your relationship. On the other hand, you may continue on to form a couple and invest time in your physical and emotional relationship.
=Question two is based on the consent of your partner. Escaping your desire and understanding the desires and wishes of your partner is very important. This goes much further than just waiting for your partner to say “yes” or “no”. Trying to understand your partner not only aids good sex, but it also reduces the likelihood of your partner merely submitting due to feeling pressured. There is much more to sexual consent than a verbal contract.
=Question three is bases on understand and agreeing with the expectations of mutual benefit. Where you may want to have sex merely to reduce your frustrations, your partner may be attempting to communicate much deeper feelings. Where you might want a one-night-stand, or regular casual sex; your partner may want to form a bond or committed relationship. These examples could also be the other way around; you may not want to have just sex, but be prepared to do so under your own desire form a bond.
Overview of sexual practice’
Much of education around sex is based on fear. The big bad STD will get you if you don’t use a condom. You’ll be looked down on by society and waste your life away if you get pregnant out of wedlock or at an early age. This however rarely works. Curiosity and the related drives are usually risk based. Thus a young person may take their chances, or merely not find STDs an important consideration. With all the time spent sniggering be hide their hand in Sex Ed class, and joking and laughing at each other; young people rarely take in all the facts about pregnancy.
Using contraception and barriers to STDs should not be just a scare mongering tactic; it should be about respect for your partner. When teaching about sexual practice, it is really important to impart the spiritual and emotional side of sex. Without this, they will be guided only by their urges and curiosity, and will take risks in the name of fun and experimentation.