So what precisely ought to we are saying to our youngsters about having intercourse earlier than the age of 16?
It was the end of the school sports day. Tired of endless relay runs, we huddled together, a group of mud-splattered 11-year-old girls talking about anything and everything. All of a sudden, one of us started sharing her freshly formed knowledge about sex. How men and women bond like meccano to have babies. And what went where. I can’t remember her primary source, though the memory suggests a gracious older sister.
Enthusiastic and embarrassed, like all of us, it was left to the wrong-footed parents – mothers – to fill the void when (or when) we blurted out what we knew.
That was 40 years ago. But it shows a persistent problem teaching our children about sex. Unlike in quantum physics, for example, there is always the possibility that an inquiring mind will have a pub conversation before those with the knowledge (and love) have the opportunity to have a say.
Formalizing sex education in the school system, however, has always been a pretty choked affair – the very idea that teachers have a pulse is the source of a lot of giggles. And in today’s dangerously progressive circles, there is a possibility of massive mis-marketing.
Look no further than Winchester College. The school made spectacular armor on this point after it became known last week that the head of a virtual sex education class told ninth and tenth grade students that the age of consent “is not for law enforcement [or] punish young people for consensual sex “.
Instead, Dr. Eleanor Draeger (a self-described doctor specializing in sexual health and HIV) tells the 13- and 14-year-olds in her care that in a “happy, healthy relationship” “you both want sex and you both have” sex, it is unlikely that you will be prosecuted because it is not in the public interest. “
No wonder their comments caused anger among parents. And not just because you don’t spend about £ 41,700 a year on school fees just to get your kids off that kind of deadly, legally incorrect gossip trap. (Don’t they do Latin anymore?)
However, the case reflects how the sensible, precautionary approach to valuable sex education is lost in a libertarian, irresponsible agenda where love is all you need. And so I think this is a job for the parents. Both a personal and a social milestone of talking about sex with our children cannot be determined by the needs of the timetable.
But what do we tell our children? And when?
Basically, the child should set the pace. After all, children develop physically and emotionally at different ages. Some – including the court worshipers pouting internet influencers – may already have curated more knowledge than we would have liked.
Just this week, a new study by digital security company AVG found that 67 percent of parents thought the internet had made conversations with kids about sex faster. And that 72 percent of kids admitted having a bad experience online while being banned due to exposure to offensive, rude, and adult content.
For this reason, according to Sue Atkins, British educational advisor and expert, when talking to children it is important to first understand what they already know.
“Give your kids the facts,” says Atkins, “and correct any misinformation they came across there and then.” When a child is faced with adult content online and it raises questions, it really helps for parents to be prepared and relaxed as they have these important conversations with their children, and to feel confident in answering their questions honestly and openly answer. “
And so we begin with biology, but framed by the understanding that this is how adults use loving physical acts to communicate how they are feeling.
Idealistic in the age of casual sex? Maybe. But cynicism is for the adult mind. We need to establish best practices with our children. And along the way – and only when they are ready – explain the use of contraception, the unintended consequences of childbirth. It is also important to explain the law. That it is illegal to have sex under 16. However ridiculous it may be, consensual teenagers fiddling with a house robbery. Do you really want a criminal record?
Perhaps most of all we need to talk about sex as part of the rhythm of regular and relevant conversations. That’s not to say that every time David Attenborough appears on TV, we use the Amazonian fighting ant copulation techniques as a catalyst for a bit of armchair training.
But it has to be in a relaxed, comfortable environment. When it is clear that your child likes to chat. Hence, it means they come to you when they want to learn more. And when they do, you might be employing what we have called the bucket question in journalism – thrown away to get potentially missing information. Namely: “Is there anything else you would like to know?”
As parents, we don’t want to raise children to see sex as a low hanging fruit to grab when no one is looking. We need our children to feel safe and empowered through knowledge. We do that as parents. Dr. Draeger, are you ready for your lesson?