Back when I grew up, in the conservative South Africa, we never had any sex education in school. I know, right, shocking! In Biology we learned that the sperm fertilizes the egg to form an embryo. Yes, we knew that sperm came from men and eggs from women, but how to get the two together… that was never said.
That doesn’t mean that kids didn’t know, because somehow kids always do. Whether they see a magazine with naughty pictures or someone at school tells the big ‘secret’ kids always have a way to find out. And, by the time we hit the age of teenagers, hormones pretty much steered us in the right direction. Some children were lucky enough to have parents who talked to them about ‘the birds and the bees’.
Sex education in schools just didn’t happen!
I want to share my thoughts on the questions asked for this week’s Food for Thought Friday.
What elements do you believe a comprehensive sex education program should cover and why?
I believe it’s important for kids to know exactly what sex is, and where babies come from. They should be taught that a penis have to enter a vagina and that sperm should be ejaculated to have a chance to fertilize an egg. Besides this, they should also know that pre-ejaculate can contain sperm, and that pulling out just before a climax is reached is not the best way to practice safe sex. Not only should kids be taught about condoms, but they should also be shown condoms and practice on how to put a condom on. Yes, boys and girls. These are basic things kids should know before they engage in anything sexual.
Another thing that I would love to see in a sex education program is that it’s not all about the sex, but also about being kind to one another, giving to one another, foreplay, aftercare. I think these things are just as important as it is for kids to know where they came from.
How should the responsibility for teaching kids about sex be split between parents and schools?
In my opinion both has an equal responsibility to tell kids the facts, but that after that the parents have a bigger responsibility to keep an open line of communication with their kids. When kids had sex education, it’s not a guarantee that nothing will go wrong. Children should know that they can go to their parents for advice.
What age do you believe we should start teaching children about sex?
Nowadays kids are much more savvy than it was back in my day. I would say kids should first be introduced to sex education at the age of ten. But, then, for some years after that, say until the age of fifteen, kids should have sex education at school at least once a year.
If there was one thing that could have improved your own experience of sex education, what would it have been?
I never had sex education in school, and when I had my first serious boyfriend when I was 15, my father’s way of sex education was: “if you come home and tell me you’re pregnant, I will shoot you.”
My daughter was born fifteen months later, three months before my seventeenth birthday.
© Rebel’s Notes