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The new sex education: colonising our children’s emotions?


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If sex education in schools traditionally meant teaching the biological ‘facts of life’, today it is far more comprehensive, having been rebranded ‘sex and relationship education’ (SRE). As well as supposedly reducing the likelihood of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, SRE is increasingly seen as a means of helping young people deal with the emotional turmoil, hurt and confusion that sometimes comes with sexual relationships. But can relationships really be ‘taught’ at all? Is it the job of schools and teachers to tell young people how to run their private lives? This excellent debate, filmed at the Battle of Ideas gets heated.

Recommended links:


  • Battle of Ideas Debate Details


Related topics: Debates

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Sanjeeda Jalil said:

Sex education is a rather controversial topic that will always remain ambigious towards some people. I agree with the speakers Rania and Michael to an extent; sex should only be taught only if it’s good sex education that is being taught and I also believe that childrens’ minds should not be exploited with a derogatory interpretation. Having said that, children shouldn’t be exposed to very explicit forms of sex such as putting a condom on a toy. People mature at different ages and I have no problem with sex education being taught to children aged 10-14, I’m just saying that it shouldn’t be taught at an explicit level because they may become spontaneous of what’s around them. Things like explicit sex and pornography doesn’t need to be explained to them as these ideologies will develop in young people’s mind during their time of growing up. Moreover, we’re very exposed to sexualised things in the media which sometimes can be influential towards our views and beliefs towards sex and relationships. Therefore, sex education and relationships shouldn’t be daunting but an appropriate and comfortable manner that doesn’t degrade the minds of children. I agree with Michael about the education of menstruation to children in year 5 as many females experience that during or after that time, teaching this will give them an understanding of what menstruation is. Furthermore, sex isn’t perposterous as long as schools schoold teach it in the most appropriate way possible as it’s often very hyperbolic in some terms and can often be seen as something dangerous which makes young people baffled of what’s being conveyed. Thus, teaching the biological theory of sex is seemingly more understandable to be taught to schools and avoid the exaggeration of views about bad sex and relationships. I agree with Rania as to the fact that this shouldn’t be a thing that you’re obsessed about teaching but teaching them education things like music, art and ethics are more important so sex shouldn’t be hyped about and shouldn’t be a sensitive topic. Overall, I don’t think it should be completely banned because people will be open to sex education in a harmful way or not understand it is this was the case. Also, some parents may feel reluctant to teach sex to children which is why it’s important to teach it at schools as long as it’s not demeaning.

Pooja said:

I think that parents should have the option to allow teachers to teach the younger generation about sex education in primary and secondary schools as the young children and teenagers are vulnerable to being exposed to a sensitive and private time in their lives which is intercourse. By invading into teenagers lives through teaching them about intercourse and not leaving them to find out about it themselves it takes their freedom away as teaching them about it makes teenagers constantly think about intercourse and therefore leads them to be curious. By having the knowledge of intercourse it makes teenagers feel tempted into experiencing this feeling even more compared to when they have a vague understanding of intercourse before being taught. As a teenager myself I feel that by having the older generation teaching us about sexual intercourse it makes me cringe due to not having the freedom to not research about it by myself but instead I am forced into learning about it in PSHCE lessons within college and previously in lower years of education. The main point I am trying to put across here is that sex education shouldn’t be taught in great detail to children in young years of education and should be left for teenagers to then research in private due to the topic being a sensitive one.

Tamanna said:

There are some valid points in this debate and for those reasons i think that sex education should be taught in schools to puoils because there has to be a startting point for children to hear about things like sex. After learning about it if they have any further questions they could speak to teachers, parents, friends etc. But i disagree that sex should be taught to children under the age of 12 because when they reach a age like 12 they have a better ability to take in things faster and in a more mature way. However i think that things like sexually transmitted diseases will just put children off so that should be left to them to find out by themselves or could be taught at a later age. Before there was a option for parents to take their children out of subjects like SRE but now children are taught it without their parents knowing. I think its good that they learn because when the moment comes it will be easier for them to understand what exactly is going on but it should be taught to them within a limit. Children will grow with different points of views and they will learn to make their decisions and know themselves what is right and what is wrong. Parents may not want to discuss sex but i think that they should give their children that open atmosphere where they will feel free to discuss things. Children should be able to learn things without having to worry about diseases but it will be useful to know about as they grow older. Teachers do a good job in teaching sex but do they actually give children that sense to discuss anything about it or ask questions. I mean children may have personal questions and may not want to share it in front of everyone so they should be given that opporunity maybe in like a question box or something. Also there shouldnt be any need for a subject teaching sex seeing as children tend to discuss things like that with their friends very openly. it has just become one of those casual openly talks. So i dont have anything against sex being taught but i think it should be taught within a limit and at a age and time where it appropriate.

Carol said:

Whats wrong with teaching sex in plain old Biology and letting kids get on with what they want in private?

John said:

Keep out of our sex lives!

Chantal Brown said:

When I think of relationships I know how individual they are and so the idea that they can be taught is ridiculous to me. Unless we reinstate privacy as something sacred, then these teacher-preachers and policy makers will get away with insisting we suffer their SRE diktat. This SRE rubbish will only make young people less able to navigate their way in life, you know, with real, individual people.