Yes, Sex Education Is Important, But Shouldn’t We Be Giving Love Lessons As Well?

Nick Clegg wants to force sex education on all schools for kids as young as seven, but is anyone teaching children how to have loving, equal relationships?


by Sophie Cullinane |
Published on

Nick Clegg will announce some pretty amazing news today, because under new Liberal Democrats plans all state schools including primaries and free faith schools will teach compulsory sex education. Nick Clegg’s Schools Minister David Laws will commit to the party to introducing sex education to all children in state education from age of seven (it is currently compulsory from the age of 11) in a bid to help them become ‘good citizens.’ The change, which is being backed by Labour but opposed by the Conservatives, would also force thousands of schools who are currently not required to teach the national curriculum to increase how much sex education they offer students. At the moment, thousands of academies, free and faith schools are free to opt out from teaching sexual education

Today, David Laws is expected to say (in an exercise in stating the bleeding obvious) that compulsory sex education should be a central part of any young person’s educated in the same way they should be learning about how to manage their money. He will say: ‘We believe that by educating children about sex and relationships in an appropriate way, we can help them to make informed choices in their personal lives.’

READ MORE: Why Sex Education Needs To Cover The Pleasure Of Sex, Not Just The Dangers

It’s never been easier for young children to get access porn and sexual imagery – often potentially damaging sexual imagery – so it makes absolutely perfect sense to us that children should be equipped at the youngest age possible with the education and language to help them process all that stuff. If children don’t get their first sexual education from school, the sad truth is that a lot of them are going to get it from porn and that, surely, is a recipe for disaster isn’t it?

But, since the government are thinking about radically reforming sex education in this country, now might be the time to consider if the reforms are actually going far enough? We don’t know about you, but we finished our sex education with little more than a basic knowledge of fallopian tubes, the ability to put a condom on a banana and confirmation that, yes, you can in fact get pregnant if you have sex on a biscuit tin – no one actually gave us ANY information about how to actually go about having sex and a relationship in a safe, rational and not-emotionally damaging way. If we’re teaching kids about sex, shouldn’t we also be teaching them about love at the same time?

Of course, everyone had that awkward conversation with their parent’s about how ‘sex is something that happens when a man loves a woman’ – mine happened when Shaggy had number one hit and I asked my parents what ‘shagging’ meant, which dates me a bit – but is that really enough? In an age when every single myriad of sexual kinks can be accessed, it’s actually weirdly difficult to find rational, informative, unbiased on how to fall in love and maintain a relationship. Things like consent, mutual respect and equality were never even brought up when we were being taught about sex because the assumption was that sex was the only ‘dangerous’ part of a relationship – the part that could end on pregnancy or disease. Never mind how emotionally or psychologically damaging the whole ‘love’ thing can be. The result? As a generation, we’re all pretty good at casual sex and ‘hooking-up,’ but not so great at all the fuzzy love stuff. Now that’s the cross we have to bear – but do we really want our sisters to bear it as well? Since we’re teaching them about doing the dirty, surely it’s not too much of a stretch to teach them about how relationships can get dirty as well.

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophiecullinane

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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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