The perversion of the prudes who argue against sex and relationship education

I am heartily sick today of reading and hearing prudes lambasting and frothing at the mouth over plans to make sex and relationship education compulsory from age five.

The rubbish argument that "it steals children's childhood" and "I don't want children being told about sexual intercourse" or in one case "Why does my five year old need to know how to put on a condom" shows a massive failure on behalf of prudes to either do research of their own or read. The most important word they have missed is "relationship" as all day these self serving prudes (notably all very well to do and middle class and not those so often affected by teenage pregnancies in their families) have chose to focus rather perversely on sex and ignore relationships.

As I understand it, what the government is arguing is that sex and relationship education should not be optional. For starters, this has got to be right. Teenagers should not be forced to miss out on knowing about STIs just because they parents are too afraid to let their children be taught real facts. Likewise, what is wrong with children learning a basic knowledge of how a baby develops and how relationships are important, which would be the main focus of teaching for those aged five and six ?

No, sadly the agenda (fed by the media) has been obsessed with the word SEX, and ignored the actual point of what the government has announced. Sadly though, all those who have been selective in their arguments seem to believe in the Sarah Palin view of sex education, and look where that got her daughter !

The fact is we have the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Europe and if we want to do something about it the first step is education, and it should never be optional.


Tony Sharp said...

Having just watched a clip of a similar kind of lesson on BBC News it was clearly physiology was being discussed, not relationships. A girl of no more than 8 was explaining the differences between males and females, namely that women have "boobs".

Yet again this is the state dictating how and when children will be taught the facts of life, irrespective of the views of the parents or the varying maturity of the children themselves.

I find it in very poor taste that you have made the comment you have about Sarah Palin. What do you or anyone outside the Palin family know about what her daughter was taught and when? It does you no credit and highlights an intolerance in someone who is supposed to educate children to be open minded.

Would you be happy with a sweeping generalisation such as teachers only wanting to change the law on sexual relations with former pupils so they can groom teenagers for exploitative relationships?

If you want to see a rapid reduction in the teenage pregnancy rate, put a stop to housing provision and benefits being given to feckless teenage mothers. Too many see it as a lifestyle choice alternative to further education or work. Too many girls make a conscious choice to get pregnant, it is not simply lack of education or ignorance of sex.

Crushed said...

Hear hear!

Alwyn ap Huw said...

The fact is we have the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Europe and if we want to do something about it the first step is education, and it should never be optional.

I received no sex education in school. The only thing I learned about reproduction before I decided that I didn't want to do biology for O levels was to do with the reproduction of plants.

My friends who did O level biol tell me that mammals were mentioned, but only A level pupils were told about men and women, and that was taught in a way that was mechanical and had no emotional, moral, or relationship context.

Despite my educational deficit, I have had a fulfilling family life, I worked out how to make babies (and how not to have too many). I don't think that I have suffered from not having had "compulsory sex and relationship" lessons from the age of five!

I fear that teaching kids about sexuality from a younger age might encourage them to have sex earlier, and increase the incidences of teenage pregnancies and STD's.

I might be wrong, but explaining why I'm wrong might serve your cause better than slagging me off because of my worries.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Why are you wrong ?

1) Countries that trreach sex ed from a younger age have lower teen prgancy rates.

2) Parts of the country that DO teach sex ed properly from a younger age have lower teen pregnancy rates.

And Tony, what is wrong with learning about physical differences betwenn men and women ? Are you honestly telling me you didn't know by the age of eight that women had breast and men didn't ? If so, I can see why you might be shocked at an 8 year old knowing thais, but as someone who teachers year 3's (7 and 8 year olds) and can assure you they all know this basic piece of infom that seems to so worry you.

As for the comment that I "slagged people off", actually I didn't. What I did was criticise those prudes so hung up on sex that all they could do was talk about sex and they deliberately, to suit their argument, chose not to mention the relationship part of the curriculum. If you are saying you twisted your argument s to do this, then I would be surprised.

the fact remains that the evidnce from other countries where they are less prudish shows lower teen pregnancy rates when schools teach the subject properly.

We seem to believe we can return to to some utopian world of pre sexual liberation Britain, a world of girls in long skirts and boys who have quiffs who are inncocent about all things sexual (or repressed). Perhaps some people hav elearnt to put the genie back in the bottle, but I've never met anyone who can.

Anonymous said...

Here, here Nich.

lizw said...

The "why should my five-year-old learn about condoms" misconception really wasn't helped by John Humphrys making a gag about condoms on bananas while R4's reporter was trying to explain the primary school proposals on Today yesterday. I have made a complaint to the Beeb about it; only an auto-response so far.

Tony Sharp said...

Statistics also show that British teens drink more and get drunk more than their peers in most other countries. Is that because teachers in other countries deliver lessons educating them about alcohol use? I am genuinely interested.

Or could it be, as is more likely, the effect the so called 'progressive' agenda in this country over the last 20 or so years?

Discipline has become virtually extinct in many schools, which is why schools with a strong bias on discipline and performance are so oversubscribed.

Rights have been aggressively promoted and backed up by any number of agencies, to such an extent that families feel powerless to keep wayward children under control as they make the often difficult transition to adulthood.

This has all been to the detriment of responsibility and youngsters have learned there are ineffectual consequences for their inappropriate actions. It is outrageous that youngsters in that position, who are spinning out of control, can then complain to social services about their parents in order to avoid necessary discipline, safe in the knowledge their feckless behaviour will be defended.

My daughter is 11. Her class has gone through the mechanics of state sex education. Within days she was coming home saying that boys in her class had been saying they want to have sex with the girls. Despite them understanding that pregnancy could result and that it was wrong, the desire was there to push the boundaries. As we know, sometimes limited knowledge can be very dangerous. Who is to blame if these immature children start engaging in sex acts having been taught a limited amount by a teacher?

I am lucky my daughter knows she can be open and talk to her parents and get proper advice and guidance. Not all kids will get that. Nonetheless the school system remains determined to sexualise youngsters from an ever earlier age.

The most dangerous thing I have read so far in this thread Nich is your comment about pre sexual liberation Britain and mocking about innocence and sexual repression. I know my daughter better than anyone. She was not ready for what she was taught when the school said it was time to teach them.

jickemp said...

Say "sex education" and some people hear promotion and encouragement. I'm sure their minds then fill with lurid images. Quite why awareness and understanding leads to promiscuity is beyond me. And as far as I know (and I have two kids), promiscuity is not a pre-requisite for conception. How can one not explain to children that boys have penises and girls have vaginas? My 3 year old asks? Would the prudes have me change the subject? They're mad and should practice silence on most matters.

Norfolk Blogger said...

I couldn't agree more.

People fail to differentiate between education and promotion.

Cassilis said...

Interesting debate but Tony, I noticed you just shifted the topic slightly as soon as Nich pointed out that more (and earlier) sex education reduces teen pregnancies?

As a parent (and to a degree libertarian) I have some sympathy with your view and the experience with your daughter illustrates the difficulties but there are facts here and they can't be ignored:

The earlier we educate our children about sex and relationships the fewer teenage pregnancies society will have is more or less a proven fact and has never seriously been rebutted anywhere - whatever our personal qualms about it we have a duty to take it on board....

Tony Sharp said...

I thought that as Nich shifted the topic I could shift it too. First he said that youngsters were getting a focus on relationships. I pointed out that on the news they were clearly getting physiology lessons.

Nich's 'relationship' focus disappeared to be replaced by a justification for the physiology element at the young age I had an issue with. Where does this nonsense about 'prudes' and 'promotion' come into it? I am no prude and I did not allege promotion.

The issue I have is too many kids are going to have this issue put before them before they are ready. I also notice my point about alcohol use was ignored...

Norfolk Blogger said...

Actually Tony, to address your point abour alcohol, on the continent they talk about and use alcohol at a younger age. It is not "taboo", it is something that children drink in, learn about, are taught to enjoy responsibly and appropriately at the right time, which is why they have less problems with teenage binge drinkers.

Cassilis said...

And still I notice no acknowledgement of the central fact here Tony - the more sex education children receive the less teenage pregnancies....!

Alwyn ap Huw said...

Cassilis said...
And still I notice no acknowledgement of the central fact here Tony - the more sex education children receive the less teenage pregnancies....!

The lack of acknowledgement might be because the central fact isn't true. The only evidence that I've seen to support this claim are tables showing that the UK has the 2nd highest rate of teenage pregnancies in the developed world to which comments, assuming that the reason for the differences in pregnancy rates has something to do with sex education, have been added.

An undisputed fact is that 40 years ago there was hardly any sex education available in British schools and the teenage pregnancy rate was a quarter of its current level. As sex education has become more and more prevalent in schools the teenage birth and STD rates have increased. This strongly suggests that sex education isn't working. If it isn't working then surely making it compulsory will add to the problem rather than help to resolve it.

Tony Sharp said...

So the schools do not teach kids about alcohol because culturally it is handled differently.

Why do you need an acknowledgment Liam? My central issue is about children being 'educated' by the state on this subject at such a young age. What is wrong with more effective education from age 11-13 rather than starting at age 5?

I have not seen the statistics so I am in no position to comment on them. But anecdotally, all the schools where I grew up taught the same sex ed syllabus. We all got that same programme. It was the school with the worst behaviour problems and poorest exam passes that had the problem with teenage pregnancy.

The education did not make any difference in that case.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Alwyn, that argument is poor.

40 years ago there were less knife crimes too but the rise in knife crime cannot be attibuted to teaching of knives in school. This suggests therefore that there are other cultural and social reasons for the rise in both knife crime and pregnancy rates.

Cassilis said...

Alwyn's argument isn't only poor - it's sinister.

40 years ago the teenage pregnancy rate was a quarter today's level because far fewer of them were reported. In my family there's history of children born out of wedlock being forcibly removed from young unwed mothers afterbeing born in secret. It was a world of veiled abuse and repressed sexuality where on the surface everything was "normal" and nobody talked about what life was really like.

That's why I find the arguments against sex education sinister and disturbing - it's dressed up as about state interference etc. but it's actually a lament for a social & cultural world that any decent moral person would never want the return of....

Alwyn ap Huw said...

What I said is neither week nor sinister, it is an indisputable statement of fact.

Do you deny that there is more sex education available in schools now than was the case 4 decades ago? Do you deny that teenage pregnancy and STD rates have risen substantially over the last 40 years?

Norfolk Blogger makes a fair point when he says that most of the increase is due to social and cultural changes. But before making sex education compulsory and introducing that compulsion at an earlier age shouldn't we ask what effect (if any) sex education has had in creating those social and cultural changes?

I have not made any case for wanting to go back to the "bad old days" when illegitimate children were ostracised because of their parents "sins", as you suggest Cassilis. I would look a total prat if I did. Two of my grandparents were the industrial accidents of their mothers profession of whoring. I was married on Jan 25th, my eldest child was born on July 21st of the same year - work it out - I have no moral axe to grind!

I assume that Norfolk Blogger by posting the subject, and everybody who is concerned enough about the issue to respond all agree that we would like to see the rates of teenage pregnancy and teenage STD decrease. That point of agreement should be the starting point of any discussion of this issue not entrenched "political" or "moral" disagreements.

I am not ideologically opposed to the teaching of sex in schools, or ideologically opposed to teaching the subject at an earlier age. I have serious concerns that the current government plans may add to the problem rather than help solve it. Suggesting that I am some sort of Neanderthal, sinister, disturbed, prude isn't the most effective way of addressing my concerns or the concerns of those who share my view.

Cassilis said...

"Suggesting that I am some sort of Neanderthal, sinister, disturbed, prude isn't the most effective way of addressing my concerns or the concerns of those who share my view"

It might surprise you to learn Alwyn but addressing your concerns or the concerns of others who share your view isn't my main priority. Nonetheless it's a very revealing phrase - for you this is about trading points on a blog, I'm more interested in the kids impacted by this stuff....

"Do you deny that teenage pregnancy and STD rates have risen substantially over the last 40 years?"

Yes, I do. STD rates in the early 50's were considerably higher than they are today, teenage pregnancies at a comparable level in the 20s & 30s (when researchers adjust for secret abortions and sons & daughters passed off as borthers & sisters)

Bottom line Alwyn is there isn't a country or region in the world today that advocates abstinence and limited sex eduction that doesn't have far higher rates of teenage pregnancy than us (if you disagree, name it). And there's are countless who offer far more sex education than us with far lower rates (Norway, Sweden, France, Australia).