Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Sex without pleasure

The UK government has announced that sex and relationship will be part of the national curriculum for all schools in England. It is not before time and I welcome the fact that the usual nutters have not succeeded in maintaining the state of dangerous ignorance that they call innocence. A recent survey has shown that 40% of school leavers have no sex education whatsoever throughout their 11 years of compulsory education. One of the usual nutters,
Stephen Green, national director of Christian Voice, said the proposals would only "encourage experimentation" and contribute to the rise in teenage pregnancy and infertility
- and this in a country which already has some of the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Europe and where STD infection rates are soaring.

I do not follow these people's logic. If England - without effective sex education - has a higher teenage pregnancy rate than, say, the Netherlands which has such education then surely there might be some connection between education and safe sex. But then logic has little to do with any of this - why let facts get in the way of an opportunity for moral outrage? And, of course, the government will probably allow such parents an opt-out so that they can continue to perpetuate the cycle of ignorance. I am, I confess, more concerned that, according to the Guardian report, headteachers are objecting that this will add too much to their workload by overloading the national curriculum. They may be right, but surely the answer is to make other subjects optional - not everybody will need or have any aptitude for, say Shakespeare or quadratic equations, but most will be sexually active at some point in their lives.

What I do not expect to see in these lessons, however, is any form of teaching on how to give and receive sexual pleasure. For example, will the lessons in safe sex teach young men and women how to pleasure themselves and their partners in non-penetrative ways? Will they be taught where and how to touch? How to state clearly what they like and what they do not like. Will they be taught the pleasures of non-sexual physical contact - how to massage each other and how to hug? Will they be taught how to use their PC muscles? The list of what I am sure they will not be taught goes on and on. The mechanics and hydraulics and the desirability of establishing relationships are, despite the nutters, fairly uncontroversial and unthreatening to the status quo. Pleasure, however, is quite another matter.

Oh well. I suppose it is a start. Belated and woefully incomplete as it is.

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