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Whether sex education should be or shouldn’t be imparted in schools has been a matter of debate for years all over the world.
Some advocate that it should be a part of the school curriculum, while others think schools should keep away from this taboo topic. Then there’s religion and religious sentiments to be considered too.
Among all these discussions, we forget that we are all sexual beings, and children as young as 2-6 years old are curious about differences in male and female body parts and want to know how babies are born. Kids in the age group of 7-13 explore their bodies and are very much aware of feelings of ‘attraction’ and ‘love’. Even though they may not be aware of ‘sex’ as a term, they are aware of sexuality and of the feelings that lead to the ultimate act. We all know what young adults in the age group of 14-19 are capable of.
The need to satisfy this curiosity with correct information should be a reason enough for us to ensure that our children are educated about sexuality, differences in the male and female body parts, and about sex at the right age. But there are people who feel that if we educate our children about sex, we might be pushing them towards the act. What they don’t realize is that correct information from a trusted source (parent/teacher) will not, but incorrect information from the wrong source (internet, low grade literature, equally inexperienced friends and untrustworthy adults/relatives) can cause a lot of long term damage – physical, mental, and emotional.
So for the skeptics, here are five reasons why we must encourage sex education in school:
It removes the taboo attached to the topic
Half of the problems related to sexual issues and sex crimes arise due to the fact that we treat it as a taboo topic and avoid talking about it. Early introduction to the subject ensures that the children become comfortable talking about this topic with responsible adults. This would ensure that when your growing teenage child has a question or is curious about the subject, he or she will not feel uncomfortable or shy while talking about “sex” with you or an adult they trust.
It’s thus very important that even if your child is being imparted sex education in school, you also initiate a conversation about the same with him/her at home. If he/she isn’t being given this knowledge in school, then it’s your responsibility to educate them – the right information at the right age. It will also help them build a healthy relationship with you.
They learn to differentiate between safe touch and unsafe touch
Sex education teaches children to differentiate between safe touch and unsafe touch. They know from an early age where and how other people should not be allowed to touch them.
Thus, reducing the chances of them getting abused/raped. In the unfortunate event that they are subjected to unwanted attention, they will not feel guilty or ashamed (which is usually the emotion most noted in children who are sexually abused) and would be able to talk to their parents or an adult they can trust. Thus, putting an end to the unwanted behavior before it causes long term damage.
Dealing with hormonal changes and puberty becomes easy
Ha! The journey from adolescence through the teenage years is not easy for any parent to handle . Changes in the body, interest in the opposite sex and the desire to explore certain feelings is intense in this age, and the mood swings that result when they cannot understand the changes makes these years very difficult for all. If your child has been receiving the right information about the various changes his/her body will undergo, the new emotions they will experience will not be overwhelming for them or for you. Everyone will be better equipped to deal with them.
Reduces risk of teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases
I am quite sure that none of us would like to see our young teenage children suffer from the trauma of an early parenthood/abortion, be made responsible for another life in their growing years, contract sexually transmitted diseases and be subjected to social criticism. Young teenagers are curious about sex and are eager to explore these feelings.
But, if they know the danger involved (emotional and physical) of early and unprotected sex they will be better equipped to deal with these feelings without acting on them and more likely avoid indulging in early and unsafe sexual behavior.
They have healthy sexual relationships when they grow up
A lot of adults are uncomfortable with the topic – this is something I noticed while doing the research for my online adult sexual products store. This wouldn’t have been the case if they had had healthy and frank conversations about sexuality and sex during their growing years. It would have also ensured that when at the right age and after having found the right partner they would have been able to enjoy the experience without feeling as if they’re doing something wrong or inappropriate.
It may sound unbelievable but even in this day and age, there are grown married men and women who can’t talk about or indulge in the act freely because of childhood conditioning – which taught them to think about this basic human emotion as inappropriate behaviour.
We educate our children to empower them and make them capable of making the right decisions, then how can we keep them away from getting the right information about this one very basic emotion which they are (un) fortunately very much aware of from an early age?
Your 3-year-old child may not have asked you what’s 2+2, but I am sure most of them have asked how babies are born without our initiating the conversation. Despite their apparent non-interest in 2+2 we insist they learn it, then why not this?