It was announced recently that, for the first time in twenty years, the Sex Education syllabus in England is set to be rewritten. About damn time.
I say that, but I didn’t even realise it was an official thing. My high school certainly never followed it. Yes, they taught the basics of reproduction. Yes, they briefly covered the benefits and drawbacks of the various forms of contraception. Yes, they acknowledged that sex can be for more than just making babies.
But as I attended a Catholic school, it was made very clear to us all that contraception of any kind is evil. It was drilled into us that sex outside of marriage is obscenely wrong. And, of course, homosexuality, masturbation, and anything else the Bible condemns is an affront to God and an eternity in Hell awaits any who stray from the righteous path.
Okay, I might be exaggerating a little, but sex education, for me at least, did come with more than its fair share of Christian dogma. Whilst lacking any guidance relating to sexual health.
I suffered (or still suffer from, I don’t know really) a couple of issues relating to, y’know, that part of the male anatomy. Nothing disastrous, but potentially painful or otherwise limiting when it comes to sex. And due to me not being the most sexually active person (a couple of drunken escapades at university was as much as I’d experienced by the time I was 26), I was blissfully unaware of this for quite some time. My then-girlfriend actually alerted me to the issue and ultimately I had to get circumcised, both so I could actually enjoy sex and do so without risk of injury.
Had my school bothered to teach us about sexual health then I may well have been able to avoid such modifications. Or, at the very least, I’d have known to have the surgery much sooner. But their religious focus instead took priority.
I guess my point is that if there really is a syllabus for Sex Education, then there must beb a way of ensuring it is taught. Whether through exams (informal or otherwise) or independent teachers who specialise in the subject matter, I don’t know. But I do know, from first hand experience, that faith schools cannot be trusted to teach it properly.
Mathematics, science, history, geography, and all the other subjects; most are vocational and, with the exception of some basic principles, largely irrelevant in day to day life. Sex Education on the other hand is absolutely vital to (almost) every single adult human. To me, it is the single most important subject, yet it is often treated as an afterthought.