How Sex Education Has Left Us Clueless About Sex

December 2, 2018

Book with title Sex education on a table.

Do you remember your first lesson of sex education? Did you and your classmates laugh when you saw it on your timetable? Did you chuckle as you walked into the classroom and blush when the condoms were brought out? Sexual education is a part of many school curriculums, and it has changed a lot over the years.

However, it seems that it might not have changed soon enough. Many people are apparently clueless when it comes to the world of sex, and some feel that our education at school is to blame.

What was sex education like?

I can’t speak for everyone, but my sexual education lessons at school were pretty disappointing. They were also boring and too short for the amount of information we should have received. I don’t think I learned much from the lessons, except for how to creep out a bunch of teenagers and how to put a condom onto a banana or carrot properly.

Before our very first lesson, which was a part of personal, social, and health education, we were given homework. We had to bring in either a banana or a carrot. When we got to the lesson, we discovered that each desk had condoms on it and we were told to put them onto the fruit or vegetable we’d brought in. That was it. No further information was given. The instructions were unclear, as you can imagine. In fact, a lot of my classmates chose to turn the condoms into balloons instead.

The creepy part came later that same lesson. Our teacher put on an ‘informative video’ about condoms, known as Johnny Condom. Words don’t do justice to how bad the video was. Thankfully, someone managed to find and upload the video to YouTube. Be warned, this video has haunted me since I first watched it.

Sexual education now

After speaking with others my age, I discovered that I wasn’t the only one to have weird experiences regarding education and sex at school. But things change. Slowly but surely, teachers have been focusing on the factors other than the STIs and STDs you could catch.

The problem is that a lot of the sex education given out now still doesn’t look at all of the areas of sex. For me, it was just a handful of lessons which were memorable for all of the wrong reason. Now people get more detailed lessons, but there still aren’t enough of them.

A recent poll revealed that more than half (52%) of 16 to 17 year olds feel that we should spend more time on relationship and sex education in schools (RSE for short). 34% believe that we need to take the subject more seriously in schools. The survey spoke to 1,000 pupils in England, aiming to look at gaps in our sexual education in schools. And there were some big ones.

When it comes to sex education in some schools, Mean Girls wasn't far off

Original source: Giphy

What the survey discovered

It seems that there are some huge gaps in our education, especially when it comes to sex. More than a quarter said that there was nothing about porn in the curriculum, with around 30% saying that sexual pleasure was never mentioned in any of the lessons. Essentially, sex is purely seen in terms of reproduction in those situations.

The subject of abuse came up too. 23% said that they were not told how they might recognise signs that someone was being groomed for sexual exploitation. 20% weren’t given signs about abusive relationships, and 23% felt that they weren’t able to identify an unhealthy relationship. Worryingly, 18% stated that they hadn’t been told how to find help in case they were sexually assaulted.

Sexual health education was a little lax. A third of pupils said that female genital mutilation wasn’t covered in lessons, and 12% had no idea about HIV. As for LGBT+ issues, 22% said that the subject just wasn’t covered as part of their sex education. Yikes!

Sex ed is an important subject which needs the proper time to cover

Original source: Imgur

Trial by fire

Despite the big changes to the curriculum, sexual education in schools still leaves a lot to be desired. There are some topics they just don’t cover when they really should. Unfortunately, this means that we end up learning by doing. Sex becomes a trial by fire.

Anything I know about sex I have either had to learn for myself or read about in my own time. The lesson spent putting condoms onto various fruit and vegetables was lost on me. I learned nothing from sex education and I can’t be the only one out there.

Do you feel that your education at school has left you clueless about sex? Are there some lessons you wished you’d learned? Share what you think in the comments below.

Lara Mills
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