Sex Ed for the Future
We were delighted to read Clinical Psychologist Dr Elly Hanson's piece It’s not just the mechanics of sex … children need lessons in life and love in the Guardian, this morning.
The piece describes the overhaul of the government's sex education initiatives that will teach children, from four, not just about the physicality of sex but about the importance of relationships.
In the past few months, this keeps coming up for us.
How do we educate our kids, not only on the importance of practicing 'good' sex (meaning what makes them feel safe and happy) but how bad sex can reduce their chances of happiness in relationships and leaves them more vulnerable to abuse or harassment?
Within the education process for children, the topic of sex seems to have been sealed off and separated from the relationship itself. Kids being shown how to put a condom on a banana isn't going to give them insight into love and empathy, let alone how a relationship could turn manipulative and abusive, or that both parties should experience a sense of connection and enjoyment of sex. They should be taught communication skills and the importance of talking about feelings with their partners, friends and family in order to ensure they they find their love and happiness.
Instead, kids get the porn version and incorporate this into their idea of what sex should be like. This is detrimental to both boys and girls. Pornography is a basically a performance piece but kids won't understand this. We can try to impart wisdom, and model good relationships upon them at home. But for those children who don't have access to examples of this, school is a great place for them to learn. Doing this alongside their peers will help the development of the emotional mechanics needed for positive relationships.
If we can cultivate healthy relationships in children moving forward, we will be taking a greater step towards ensuring future generations of people who are more well-rounded because their family situations feel more secure, they will have a greater sense of self-confidence and respond more empathetically to others.