Hello my dear Minx lovers, and welcome to yet another blog. Today we’ll be talking about sex ed in the UK.
Part of the reason for the gap is that I’ve been trying to do some deep proper research, to find out the basics of what is taught in mainstream schools at the moment. This proved incredibly tricky, which was annoying as hell. In the end, I asked a close friend who is a teacher, and she broke it down like this.
In my day, sex ed was taught as part of PSE (personal social education). It has now been updated to include some info and details about relationships. However, that is where the updates seem to have ended. According to my friend, sex ed is not part of the curriculum, and because it is not assessed, a lot of schools try and fit it in, as and when, sometimes weekly, sometimes fortnightly, sometimes whenever they can. Some schools have full time staff dedicated to it, and some have to rely on form teachers / staff to deliver the programmes. Which are varied as well, but in a nutshell, they have to teach the basics without advocating anything. Confused? I am!
What’s worse, some schools are still getting it completely wrong. Another friend told me that he went to a school which taught abstinence – this was post 2000. I mean…FFS!
OK, so going back to my own sex ed, mid 90s. It was shit.
In Year 3, I was told about sex from a friend in the playground.
In Year 6 we had basic sex ed in class, which consisted of watching a video of two people getting naked, and then having sex. They were both very hairy. Eeeep.
In Year 7 we had a slightly longer chat/sex ed, which included details about periods and how to deal with that. This was delivered to girls only, by a hilarious Scottish nurse who had us crying laughing at how fucking tricky tampons can be at first. 🙂
Years 8-11, more crap and vague sex ed. Best was from a biology teacher who “answered questions” that were never actually asked, to help us pass our GCSE. (That class mostly got As). The worst involved being asked to write an A-Z of STDs / sex words. Helpful. Whilst most of the year group did the condom / banana lesson, for some reason, my class skipped even this. I think someone stole the banana. Probably the poor bastard who had been asked to teach the class. Seeing as some people I knew were already fucking by Year 9, this was also too little/too late.
As I said, from asking around, not much has changed or improved. Teachers and students alike find it awkward as fuck to deal with these kind of lessons, and while it would be far better to bring in a private company to deliver regular lessons to pupils, most schools are far too cash strapped these days to do something like this.
So how else do kids learn?
Other sources of info include older siblings, (screwed if you go to the same school), friends, and looking online, mostly from porn (fun for enjoying, fucking TERRIBLE for teaching).
Siblings won’t really want to help – or might provide false information for a laugh. And friends….their friends will be just as clueless, and will probably be talking a lot of shit and lying. Think Jay. Exactly.
For digital native kids (anyone born after 1997), most experience sex for the first time through the medium of porn. Unlike in our day, it is readily available, easy to access and free, and a large number of kids entering secondary school have ALREADY seen porn. However, they don’t always realise that porn is fiction, and a form of entertainment, rather than real actual sex. This is one of the reasons why today’s youngsters are increasingly sexualised, and treat each other like basic shit.
The internet is not all bad. There are some amazing websites, bloggers and vloggers out there offering fantastic sex ed videos and clips, teaching kids everything from where to buy condoms, to where to get advice about getting tested. They also offer info on the stuff that wasn’t covered in my day, including LGBT relationships, the emotional side of sex, and info about abusive and negative relationships.
Part of the reason I write this blog in the first place is to try and create a platform for people to talk about sex, and for it to become less of a taboo topic. I’d love to see people being more open about sex and relationships, and actually stepping up and having those talks.
A few years ago I had a frank and rather brutal discussion with a friend’s much younger cousin about his own experiences of girls, and knowledge of sex. He seemed both clueless and far too eager to experiment with things, and in terms of the emotional and maturity side, he was well out of his fucking depth. He was treating girls like shit and had fucked up several phones by the age of 14 because they were clogged with porn. Luckily he has an amazing brother and sister-in-law, and these days he is now far more respectful towards women, and far less of a porn-obsessed muppet. You know who you are, and I’m proud of you. 😉
In my opinion, the best people to teach kids anything about sex, are parents. If you are going to make the decision to blend your DNA and create life, part of that responsibility includes teaching them about the facts of life. I appreciate that it is an awkward topic to broach, but at the end of the day, you are raising them to be adults, not perpetual children, and you need to man the fuck up and have that talk, before they get their hands on a smart phone, or learn it first hand with that dodgy looking Year 12 with a six-pack and a free house.
Do your kids a favour, and make this a priority. Get a dialogue going, and keep it open, because it’s far better to have the chat about all aspects of sex and sexual health, emotions and relationships BEFORE they need, rather than after. Take a deep breath and repeat after me: “Let’s talk about sex baby.”