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.
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.
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.
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.
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,