Thursday, 5 May 2011

Sex lessons in school

I have read the proposals by Dorries with some dismay. Now might be the time to admit that I was once an experienced mistress.
In Rochdale we had a very large Asian population with almost no English. A school was set up to teach them English as a second language. The head was a teacher who was also a C of E priest. He had spent much of his time in Africa teaching English and was rather naive.
After a couple of teen age pregnancies we decided that someone had to teach them the facts of life and it had to be a stable woman in a good marriage. I got the vote and the head sent out letters to all the parents telling them that "Hygiene" would be taught by an experienced mistress! I did get him to change the wording before they went out!
Teaching sex to girls with very little English was hard. I had to recourse to pictures and bought some excellent books to look at whilst I tried to get the basic facts over to them. The books were kept locked away in a cupboard where they were referred to as Mrs Sharples dirty books!
Naturally when I moved school I was again given the task of being the designated sex teacher so I have experience in this field.
To paint a picture of all males as only after one thing and to go back to the Victorian idea of shameful sex will simply not work today. That box of Pandora has been open for far too long.
Getting them to practice safe sex is an easier option though I did always tell them that it was Ok to refuse sex if it was not what they wanted. Sex as painted by Dorries as something wicked is a return to the days when hypocrisy was the norm. Using birth control in the form of safe sex is important for them to learn but the nature of sex between two people who love each other should also be stressed. A glorious, life enhancing experience to bring them ever closer together is what should happen...The fact that it often doesn't work out like that and what to do about it is what we should be teaching our children as they grow up in this confusing age with mixed messages all around them. Thank goodness I don't teach sex any more. I do still teach love though.

3 comments:

  1. I think that teaching young people that sex is part of a loving, committed relationship is perhaps the only way to go. Preaching and demonising sexual behaviour, seems to make it all the more attractive (forbidden fruits etc).

    It's strange that in the Army, we had to teach young soldiers about safe sex. This was in the context of promiscuity and availability of sex, particularly when away from home, overseas in particular. I was often amazed at the ignorance from fairly sophisticated young people. I had the expectation that they would be advising me (which shows what a low opinion of them I held at the time, I wasn't a Christian then).

    Times have changed and we need to ensure that children as young as 10 years old are aware of safer sex. It seems that puberty is starting earlier and putting ever younger people at risk of unwanted pregnancy or worse, STD's.

    Managing this in a Christian context, needs to be carefully thought through. Love and relationships seem to me to be key to this, as is a loving supporting relationship of their parents, which sadly, in many cases is not the case.

    Parents also have a responsibility to share this education, all to often, they abdicate that responsibility to teachers.

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  2. Excellent comments. Thanks.

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