Delving into the World of Sex Education

Before I get into it, I have no idea how this post and my research into it even came about. As much as I am going to include information, I don’t want it to be a big ol’ dump but I also don’t want to make too much light of a serious topic. A few nights ago during a conversation with my mother, I remembered that during all of my school years (age 5, not including nursery up to age 15.) (I do know the average age of leaving school in the U.K. is 16 but I left a year and a half early due to medical issues) I only had one Sexual Education class which consisted of a dildo being presented ready to have a condom put on it but then one of my classmates proceeding to lob it at the teacher. The end.
This got me thinking about my follower’s experience with Sex Ed. Did they have regular classes? Did they cover everything you thought should be covered? I’m not a teacher but I can respect the fact that teaching a class of children about sex isn’t going to be a walk in the park, but I do think more should be done, especially after seeing the results I received on my pictured Twitter & Instagram poll.

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Although I only got answers from a small percentage of the U.K. I still think the answers speak for themselves. I then went back to Twitter and asked how many lessons you think we should receive in schools and in comparison to how many people actually received, it’s quite a huge difference so I knew I wasn’t a minority by thinking this way.

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I received a lot of messages from people sharing their experiences with sex ed classes. I also took to asking my neighbour who is a teacher and also friends and family and people I went to school with (just in case I missed some classes.) (I didn’t.) What I noticed was that no two people had the same experience – there was no structure with lessons (if there were any) and this is a stark contrast to some schools that have lesson plans for most classes. Minus same-sex schools, another common theme seems to be the separation of boys and girls in sex-ed lessons. I don’t think it’s right for issues and topics to be sorted between genders. Why can’t boys learn about periods? Why are boys taught about masturbation but females aren’t? This also creates problems when it comes to LGBTQ+ students, especially during the years when people can struggle with their identity.
Here are some of the replies I got from my followers in regards to how many lessons they received.

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I can’t say I’m an expert in this topic and I certainly don’t know how other countries deal with Sex Ed lessons but I decided to do some research into my own country’s policies. I found out that Wales is going to be overhauling the way they present sex education by focusing more on healthy relationships and sexuality as of 2022. Lessons will also be mandatory in both primary and secondary schools. Younger students will learn more about family relationships but older students will get the chance to learn about domestic violence and gender identity as well as discussions of consent and the prevention of violence against women. I think this is an amazing step but hopefully it actually happens. Despite schools saying sex ed has been on the curriculum from as early as 1960, it’s clear from my poll that many students did not receive the information they should have.
Wales will also be receiving an overhaul in the way they teach students about the LGBTQ+ community which shows how far we have come from 30 years ago when a decree banned the ‘promotion of homosexuality’ in schools. The charity director of Stonewall Cymru said, “… research shows that a majority of LGBT young people here in Wales have heard nothing about LGBT issues in the classroom.” Hopefully thats about to change. And I also hope that among all these new topics, asexuality is explored and students learn that it’s perfectly normal to not desire sex.

“Sex should never be taught in isolation for the simple reason that it is about so much more than just sex; it’s also about relationships, rights and respect and that must go hand in hand with a much broader understanding of sexuality.” – Education Secretary, Kirsty Williams

Overall, I was both shocked and unsurprised when I started receiving messages from people saying how their experiences with sex education was also lacking. However, there were some instances where some people did receive excellent lessons and discussed topics that should be discussed. It’s just clear that there is no set plan when it comes to sex ed and I think that’s what needs to change. Before I finish, I sent out one last question on Instagram asking what you guys would like to see featured in future sex education classes. I think it’s clear that consent was the most popular answer and for obvious reasons. Children should know from a young age that no means no and that silence does not mean yes. Here are the answers I received.

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I can say that I’ve learned a lot from delving into this important topic and I am insanely grateful for all the people who messaged and entered the poll and made this possible. I wanted this to be about our experiences and hopefully the generations after us will receive the education that they should receive and if not, we can continue raising our voices until they do.
Feel free to comment below with your experience with sex education!
Lots of Love,
Angharad @
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7 thoughts on “Delving into the World of Sex Education

  1. This is such an interesting and important topic! I’m glad you’ve made a post about it. I’m from Canada, and our sex education seems to follow a similar vein to what other people have laid out here. I was in school from 2000-2013, and I can say that I definitely had about 5 lessons in my whole school career. Perhaps a few more but certainly no more than 10. The earliest I can recall is about grade 4 (age 9-10) where I can recall learning about periods, mostly, but I cannot remember if the boys and girls were separated. It didn’t help that we had a male teacher who really had no idea how to talk to a bunch of elementary school kids. The next was grade 7 (age 12-13) where we had a much more in depth class about the anatomy of it all. We were lucky enough to have a teacher who was patient with all our questions, and did her best with what she was allowed to teach. For these classes girls and boys were together but there was a few that were separate. Then in grade 10 (14-15) we have a class called Career and Life Management, where there was a health portion and we learned more about it. Some of these classes may have been “units” where more than one class was spent on them. I can’t ever recall being taught about consent and rape, LGBT+ relationships/sex, at all. We weren’t really taught abstinence either but definitely weren’t given more options other than condoms for safe sex. I had to Google most things because I had no idea they existed until much later than I should have.

    Sorry for the long post and probably the amount of detail it goes into! I just think it’s interesting to compare different countries and their stance on it. Definitely sex ed is something that needs to be continually evolving as the world changes.

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    1. Thank you so much and even more so for sharing your experiences! It’s just insane how many topics aren’t focused on but I’m glad you had more lessons than I did! Things definitely need to change, I agree!

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  2. at my school we had weekly HSE (Health Social Education) lessons…Im sure that was another letter in there though…

    so i had a lot of sex ed lessions on varying topics and degrees. in first year it was pretty basic stuff but they still covered consent and contraception frm what i recall and they got more informal and chatty but still educational the older we got. it was great because it encouraged us all to talk and ask questions etc

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  3. I’m happy to see that Wales plans on changing their sex education curriculum, but, like you, am wary about whether it will actually be implemented in schools.

    In my high school (in England), I had two sex ed lessons (we were only supposed to have one, but then they decided to change the year group they taught it to, so we got the same lesson again the next year). The lessons were full day events, where we went round several science classrooms in groups. Yet, despite spending all day doing it, the only thing we were taught about were STDs (aka. literally just showed us a PowerPoint with pictures of STDs), what contraceptions were available (with minimal information on their effect on hormones/the body), and how to put on a condom (and not how to put on a femidon, or how to go about getting semi-permanent female contraceptives).

    Overall, it was a very disappointing curriculum (especially the next year when we were taught the exact same things again (thought there were some updated STD pictures)), especially for me as an LGBT and female student. Thinking back on my sex education in high school, I am severely disappointed with the absolute non-presence of information on consent and rape – as someone who knew high school friends who were raped, who was struggling with her childhood rape that she had never disclosed to anyone, and as someone who went to a high school where a male student got expelled and charged for the rape of a female student, both of whom were year 7s (as was I); it’s a goddamn tragedy that this was not addressed, as I’m sure it would have been advantageous to a lot of students, and could have been the starting point of students stepping forward and filing charges against their own aggressors.

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