Sex Ed

Perhaps the most infuriating argument I have ever heard against marriage equality over the last couple of months is how it will “change” the sex education curriculum in schools.

I can understand how the thought of teaching kids about sex between two people of the same gender maybe terrifying to highly conservative thinkers, especially if these highly conservative thinkers, like most people, have little to no sexual education themselves.

I often find that in the last few months, those who bring up this argument often make assumptions as to what sexual education is and don’t complete any due diligence themselves. Perhaps, they are intimidated by the topic, or maybe they cannot think of sex as anything but lewd and lascivious.

Whatever the reason, people who shy away from talking and learning about sex miss out on a treasure trove of information about it’s relationship to biology, psychology, society and history.

Already, I believe that the way this topic is taught in Australian schools is deplorable (one only needs to spend a day in their local emergency room to discover all manner of dangerous, stupid things people put on, near or in their genitalia) but it is at the very least, something.

My experience of “sexual education” in school tended to be skewed to it’s biological functions. I found their descriptions of sex has highly perfunctory: “After you get married you may insert tab A into slot B; such action will result in a child, so don’t do it until you are ready to have kids.” (I went to Catholic school). There was only one solution offered to prevent unwanted pregnancy and sexual diseases and that was abstinence as according to the Catholic faith any other form of preventing pregnancy is a sin and sharing such information to children is forbidden.

The irony, I find, is that the same information that is taught to allow people who know nothing about sex to prevent pregnancy can also be used to teach them how to succeed in getting pregnant. Information such as:

  • “If you want to have children do NOT put a barrier between the sperm and the ovum”
  • “The female cycle has four phases, follicular, ovulation, luteal and menstruation – having sex in the ovulation phase increases the likelihood of conception. The ovulation phase often occurs 6-7 days after menstruation.”

Similarly, information about same sex encounters can help highlight the biological function of hetrosexual sex. (i.e. Having sex with someone of the same sex will never result in a child.)

The incomplete way sexual education is taught means that many of us are unaware of the fact that ever since humans figured out the connection between sex and pregnancy we’ve been trying to figure out how to have sex without the consequence of children. Some of our historical solutions have been as unsanitary as using pig intestines as condoms and as cruel as exposing an unwanted newborn to the elements. Many of us never know this information so we can never appreciate how modern sexual education on safe sex practices has vastly improved our quality of life.

But of course people who are using “changes to sexual education” as an argument against marriage equality will ignore this, continuing to believe that teaching safe sex practices are the devils work, created solely to corrupt the youth into engaging in “unholy” behaviour. After all, it takes thoughtful reflection to challenge ones firmly held beliefs, and if one has chosen this topic as one of their “pillars” to support their argument against marriage equality, clearly their ability to complete thoughtful reflection was not a strong point to begin with. If it was, they’d have realised at some point that this argument was nothing more than a ploy to incite fear into a population so poorly educated about sex.



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