Several decades ago, Asian society was an extremely shy society. The word sex was a taboo at home and in school. Nobody needed to be reminded about it. The subject was hardly brought up, tacitly if ever, and almost always spontaneously shot down, often with a sneered look by somebody. Almost invariably, the abrupt response would sounded something like this, “Shut up, don’t be dirty-minded, can’t we discuss something else?”
Time changes. The advancement of information technology is a great disruptor of the way people perceive things. And that determines how they behave. Over the past few decades, the openness to discussion about sex has changed tremendously. Sex is there in the web, whatever you want to see. Anytime, with a single click, explicit sex, once X-rated or obscene appears on the screen almost instantaneously. Anybody, regardless of their age, can put their finger on the mouse and just click.
In this era of advanced information technology, the web takes major control of our teens’ mind more than ever. We should not leave our teens entirely to the internet to educate them on sex. We need to exert our positive influence through proper sex education in school.
Sex education in school at this time is even more crucial than ever, not because there is a paucity of information about sex, but rather there is a serious imbalance in the information that teenagers selectively assimilate for the development of their sexual consciousness. There is a need to guide and educate them about sex to ensure that they practice safe sex and act responsibly if they happen to indulge in it.
Growing teens tend to pick and choose especially the erotic information and images about sex while skipping or completely ignoring much of the other important information, including the safety aspect and issues related to responsibility. As a result of that, we can expect a great imbalance in the way many of these growing teens perceive sex. Something needs to be done to balance up these teens’ lopsided exposure to sex information, otherwise lots of unhealthy consequences can be expected to surface.
My choice of words for the title, ‘De-sexing sex in schools’ in preference to ‘Sex education in schools’ attempts to emphasise the fact that sex as it is perceived nowadays among our teens is an expectedly imbalanced perception. School children, as naive as they are, indiscriminately absorb information from the internet, especially erotic information and images about sex. Unfortunately, being naive and emotional, together with the surge of the sexual hormones at their age, their interest in sex is skewed towards eroticism at the expense of safety and a sense of responsibility related to sex. Thus, if left unguided, these growing teens would establish a largely imbalanced view about sex that can be detrimental to their future physical, mental and social wellbeing.
Thus, there is a need to ‘de-sexualise’ sex with sex education. De-sexualise in the sense of balancing up the supercharged eroticism with other important aspects related to sex. After all the E (Eroticity) of SEX is sandwiches between S (Safety) and X (Crossing out whatever that should not be done or in other words, promoting a sense of responsibility) through sex education in schools. If we leave our teens’ development of their sexual consciousness entirely to the internet, it is likely that we will be seeing an escalating number of sexual perverts roaming among us in the near future.
Proper approach to sex education in schools has been observed to effectively reduce unwanted teenage pregnancies and exposure to sexually transmitted diseases. These two problems invariably cause immense psychosocial stress to the affected young teens, and some of them may not be strong enough to handle the situation.
It is interesting to note the recent data from the World Bank shows a lower rate of teenaged pregnancies in European countries such as Germany, Italy and Switzerland (fewer than 4 teen births per thousand babies born) where teachers tend to teach sex as a normal, healthy positive act while putting less emphasis on the danger of sex.
In comparison, the US reported about 30 teen births per thousand babies born in the same year. Sex education in the US tends to veer towards repressive and cautionary teachings. Many states rely on abstinence-only curriculum that prevent students from learning about pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Research around the world consistently indicates that good comprehensive sex education can lead to a decrease in unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. Sex education effectively changes the behaviour of teens. It leads to a later start of sexual activity, reduced number of partners, and increased contraceptive and condom use. More importantly, it clearly shows that it does not lead to an increase in sexual activity among young people.
It is interesting to note that Germany introduces sex education in schools to students as early as 5 years old and its teen pregnancy rate is among the lowest in the world. Sex education has been part of Germany school curricula since 1970. It covers all subjects concerning growing up, bodily changes during puberty, emotions involved, the biological process of reproduction, sexual activity, partnership, homosexuality, unwanted pregnancies, the complications of abortions, the danger of sexual violence, child abuse, sexually transmitted diseases and the correct usage of contraceptives.
It appears to me that the more we discuss the scientific facts about sex with teens, the lesser erotic sex becomes. Contrary to popular belief, discussing sex scientifically actually ‘de-sexes’ it.
Dr. Victor Ti, MD, MFAM (Malaysia), FRACGP (Australia), Dip P Dermatology (UK), Dip STDs/AIDS (Thailand), Dip. AARAM (USA), LCP of Aesthetic Med.(Malaysia) is an experienced expat specialist generalist (Family Physician) of BH Clinic, Phnom Penh. As a specialist generalist, he is skillful at diagnosing all general diseases and excluding the sinister ones. Apart from the general diseases, Dr. Victor is also known for his skill in skin diseases, sexually transmitted diseases, minor surgery and aesthetic medicine. He can be contacted via email [email protected] Tel: 023900446 or Whatsapp: +60164122977. Facebook name: Victor Ti.