Sex Ed

This was in the feed this morning and I watched it with coffee. I think he makes some really good points…

but he doesn’t go so far as to offer up idioms that can replace the demonstrably outdated baseball language.


Relevant XKCD

Alt Text: I once got to second base with a basketball player. She was so confused.


I think the way we do sex education in Australia needs a fundamental overhaul

For starters it is done too late. It is not uncommon for students to not have covered this area at school prior to high school biology. Which is long after most children will have begun forming completely erroneous connections about sex, particularly so in the age of internet porn. Ideally a number of fundamentals should have been covered well and truly prior to the embarrassment of puberty setting in. Girls should not be being shocked and frightened by their first periods. Boys need some lessons in hygiene and safety. Safety, both personal and public is the fundamental basis of this idea.

All children need to be explicitly taught what consent means, how it can be offered, when it can be taken away and what the responsibilities of each party is at every step of the way.

All children need to be made aware that ‘normal’ encompasses a huge and divergent variety of body types, relationships, attractions and desires.

All children need to be taught something of the nature of what is taboo in our culture and why. They should not be learning that bestiality is wrong from South Park first. See also ‘Consent’, again.

I am very grateful that I underwent puberty prior to ubiquitous smartphone ownership. The trauma and embarrassment was quite sufficient without preserving it forever in digital archives. Sex ed for me was high school biology and a little health. It was dull, embarrassing and pretty forgettable. I have seen only a few examples of any human biology and reproduction taught in my time as a teacher and I have explicitly delivered no such content. It has not been in my curriculum, I have argued for its inclusion a number of times, particularly when working with older grades but I have not won those arguments. I have read parts of the forthcoming ACARA health curriculum and I am pleased to see sex ed included from middle primary onwards. But I do seriously question how many schools will implement that particular curriculum, let alone allocate class time and teach it in the memorable and interesting way it deserves.

I think that many teachers are afraid that the public is more puritanical than they actually are, or that there are a few particularly vocal and zealous parents who will make trouble for them and the faculty if this content is introduced in primary schools.

Arming our children with the knowledge to experiment safety when they are old enough is to my mind far better than sending our children into puberty unarmored. If done well in time organisations like Safe Schools wouldn’t even be necessary and we might even put a dint in the frighteningly high rate of teen suicide in this country.

An example of Sex Ed done right. This is delivered for 8 year olds.





Swimming, painting, eating Ice Cream talking to friends on the phone. A good day with yet more painting to do.



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