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Teenage Sex: What Should Schools Teach Children?

Compiled by GayToday
Courtesy of Hodder & Stoughton, Publishers

Teenage Sex: What should schools teach children? is the first book in the new Debating Matters series from Hodder & Stoughton, published on 1 June 2002, £5.99.

Commissioned in association with the Institute of Ideas, the book's contributors include Peter Hitchens, Peter Tatchell and sex educationers and researchers.

Teenage Sex asks:

What can we learn from the USA and the popular 'true love waits' initiative? Is New Labour's 'sex and relationships' approach sensible or ill-founded, unproven dogma? Are young people taught to fear sex rather than enjoy it safely?

In his essay, "The ABC of Sexual Health and Happiness", Peter Tatchell argues:

A New Moral Framework: Mutual Consent, Respect & Fulfilment

"We need a new moral framework for teaching sex education that can encompass diversity while also giving young people guidance on how they are most likely to find erotic and emotional happiness.This new moral framework involves three very simple principles: mutual respect, consent and fulfilment".

All Sexualities Are Equally Valid

"All sexualities based on mutual consent, respect and fulfilment are equally moral and valid.While schools should not promote any sexual orientation, they certainly should encourage understanding and acceptance of other people - heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual".

Sexual Rights Are Human Rights

"The right to love a person of either sex, to engage in any mutually consensual sexual act, and to enjoy a happy, healthy sex life, is a fundamental human right. This right to sexual self-determination should be promoted in every school, to create a culture of sexual rights where every young person understands and asserts their right to determine what they, and others, do with their body".

"It is time the school system prioritised sexual literacy, alongside literacy in words and numbers, to ensure that future generations live erotically and emotionally fulfilled lives in a mature, enlightened sexual democracy".

Respect For Sexual Diversity

"Our desires and temperaments are not all the same. There is no 'one-size-fits-all' when it comes to sex and love.That is why teachers have duty to validate the diversity of human sex and relationships that fall within the moral framework of respect, consent, fulfilment and mutuality".

Promoting Safer Alternatives - Oral Sex & Mutual Masturbation

"If schools are serious about cutting the incidence of teenage pregnancies, abortions and HIV infections, they should actively encourage safer, healthier alternatives to intercourse. Oral sex and mutual masturbation carry no risk of conception and a low risk of HIV. Promoting these alternatives therefore makes good sense".

"The best way to persuade teenagers to adopt oral sex and mutual masturbation is by making them look and sound sexy, and by emphasizing their advantages over intercourse: no worries about unwanted conceptions, no need to use the pill or condoms, and no dependence on a man's ability to get and stay erect".

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Sex Is Good For You

"Sex lessons should tell the truth: sex is good for us. It is natural, wholesome, fun and healthy. Good sex can have a very positive, beneficial effect on our mental and physical well-being.Young people have a right to know that while sex is not essential for health and happiness (some mystics get by without it), most people find that regular, quality sex enhances their lives".

Give Kids All The Facts

"Sex education has an obligation to give all the facts and tell the whole truth about every kind of sex and relationship. This includes sexual practices that some people may find distasteful, such as anal intercourse and sadomasochism.The purpose of talking frankly about these discomforting issues is not in order to encourage them, but to help pupils cope if they encounter them in later life".

How To Have Good Sex

"Senior level sex education should include advice on how to achieve mutually-fulfilling, high quality sex - the emotional and erotic value of foreplay, the multitude of erogenous zones and how to excite them, and the importance of deep breathing and strong, rhythmic muscle contractions to the achievement of good orgasms".

Live & Let Live

"Human sexuality embraces a glorious diversity of feelings, emotions, desires and attractions. We are all unique, with our own unique erotic tastes. People get sexually aroused and fulfilled in a huge variety of different ways. Providing behaviour is consensual, no one is harmed and the enjoyment is reciprocal, schools should adopt a 'live and let live' non-judgemental attitude".

Sex Education From The First Year Of Primary School

"Sex education, to be effective, needs to start at a very early age, beginning gently in the first year of primary school and gradually becoming more detailed and explicit at secondary level. The reason for starting so young is obvious. Children now reach puberty between the ages of eight and 12. Long beforehand, they need to know about the physical changes they will undergo".

Overcoming Guilt & Shame

"Sexual shame causes immense human misery: not just frustrated, unhappy sex lives, but actual psychological and physical ill-health. Ignoring or tolerating the internalised puritanism that causes sexual and emotional dysfunction is incompatible with the ethos of a responsible education system, which is to care for the present and future welfare of children".

"Sexual shame helps sustain child abuse. Adults who sexually exploit youngsters often get way with it because the victims feel embarrassed or guilty about sex and are therefore reluctant to education lessons need to encourage young people to have more open and positive attitudes towards sexual matters. Teenagers who feel at ease talking about sex are more likely to disclose abuse".

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