Sex education = more sex?

13 10 2009

Well, that’s what people in this country seem to think. Not everyone of course, but a significant number. Like the government. And many religious leaders.

Why has it been soooo hard to get sex education into our school curriculum?

When it comes to teaching children about reproduction – forget it. My biology teacher said “You know what cats and dogs do, no? This is like that, but for people.”

End of class.

Needless to say we were most disappointed. After all, it was the one class which no one had bunked!

There have been so many attempts to try to educate children about sex and so much money has been pumped into the country for this purpose… it has been called by different names: body literacy, health education and God knows what else; but no one has been committed to take it on. On top of that, no one wants to teach it!

I read a study* recently in which parents were asked if they thought their children needed sexual health education. All of them said yes. But they didn’t want to be the ones to give it!

It really makes me wonder – as a parent, wouldn’t you rather be the one to talk to your children about sex – taking their age and exposure into consideration, instead of trusting a stranger to teach them about one of the most important things of life? And this stranger, most likely a fellow or senior classmate, very likely might not always pass on accurate information!

I was in Class 5 when I first heard about sex. My friend Gita’s parents were both doctors. She told me: “My father pissed inside my mother and I was born.” I refused to believe her and said “My parents would never do that!’

I most certainly don’t want any child of mine to grow up believing stuff like this! Would you? Imagine me, aged 10 with buck teeth and a ponytail on top of my head, thinking…so  that’s how I was born! So ugly.

What a childhood!

(More soon.)

* References:

“A collection of Research Papers on Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya.
Edited by Prof. A.R. Wickremasinghe and Prof. A. Pathmeswaran.
The study referenced is titled “Sri Lankan parents’ attitudes towards adolescent reproductive and sexual health education needs: a qualitative study.”



5 responses

14 10 2009

Haha, nice post. I can’t imagine what it was like for your friend – growing up thinking she was born out of pee! Gross.

That being said, I remember having Sex Ed at school when I was about 12 (Year 7) – it was extremely awkward and the kids were playing around so the lady who’d been brought in to speak on the topic walked out in a huff and had to be cajoled back. I think whoever is giving the talk needs to be able to address it in a way that is appropriate for kids today.

But therein lies the rub I guess – sex is so taboo and talking about it is not at all encouraged and the whole thing is a mess of whispered gossip and scandal. Which means, that no matter how it is addressed to a class of young children, some body or the other – whether it is a child or a parent – will have a problem with it.

Sorry for the long comment. Just think that it’s a delicate issue which needs to be considered very carefully. I am very pro-sex-ed. But I think it’s very important to ensure that it is done properly. And that before that is possible, we need to re-think how we perceive and talk about sex in general as part of Sri Lankan society.

14 10 2009

I agree. I think though that the more we are silent on sex, the more taboo it becomes.

15 10 2009
L girl

One of my foreign friends told me –

Srilankans “just do it”
Don’t wanna talk about it!
I don’t see the reason WHY!

Good article..waiting for the next one !

15 10 2009
pissu perera

my AL biology teacher explaining what a condom is: “It’s a rubber sheath that goes on the penis”. that’s it.

the girls tried to start a discussion about safe sex, sex and menstrual cycles, but the teacher just got increasingly embarassed and then mumbled something about having to finish a syllabus and that was the end of that.

i was lucky though, i had biology text books that explained the birds and the bees to me. very clinical, but at least accurate 🙂

ps – why not add the “notify me of follow up comments” facility? it’s quite handy.

15 10 2009

I was actually surprised to hear my little daughter (8) having a conversation with her brother (11) on how cubs are born. Thanks to discovery channel, they know what they need to know ALREADY!
Whew, saved me from the difficult part, the rest of the journey is going to be quite easy. Besides, we have a very open relationship, which I hope, would last even when they are teenagers.

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