Sex education

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Lau, Sep 10, 2008.

  1. Lau Guest

    #1
    This thread got me interested – I'm not meaning this to be a political or US-centric thread at all, it was just the catalyst.

    The impression I got from that thread was that the idea of five-year-olds learning about sex was fairly shocking, and for them to know what a condom was also taboo.

    It got me thinking – I'm pretty sure I knew what a condom was (and other contraception) when I wasn't much older than five, certainly long before I was ten. My mum told me about them in a sensible way – I already knew the mechanics of sex (and a certain simplistic amount of the emotional side of it – i.e. you did it both because it made babies and because you loved each other and it made you feel close to each other) and so the idea that there was this thing that prevented the "baby creation" part of it, whilst still leaving the "closeness" made sense to me.

    It didn't make me want to go and have sex with someone else, or anything like that – that was something that adults did, like drinking alcohol or enjoying classical music, and frankly, that all sounded a bit pointless and boring when there was Lego, Nintendo and throwing rocks at things to be getting on with. ;)

    So what were your experiences? When and how did you learn about sex, and when did you learn about contraception?

    Did it affect the way you see sex now? Do you think you learnt it too early, or too late? If you now have your own children, are you telling them something different to the way you learnt it?

    Argue away. ;)
     
  2. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

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    #2
    No such thing as "official" sex education when I was young. (very long time ago)

    It was a case of trial and quite often error :eek: ..... but it sure was fun learning as I went along :):)

    FJ
     
  3. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

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    #3
    I learned about such things around that age not through a specific talk, my family was just fairly open about things and not much was considered taboo.

    I turned out just fine. Honest.

    ;)
     
  4. és: macrumors 6502a

    és:

    #4
    I've got a 5 year old boy. I don't think I'd want anything too strong at his age. I think 10 or 12 is a sensible age.

    I'm fairly conservative about things like this, though. What is very important is to answer any questions they have honestly and accurately without any hint of embarrassment.
     
  5. redwarrior macrumors 603

    redwarrior

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    #5
    My parents taught me nothing. I think we had sex ed in school, but I didn't pay attention.:eek: Maybe that's why I started having it at 14? I wish that my parents had talked to me about it, but back then, very few people did.

    My daughter is 17 now and my son is 6. So when my daughter was 9 - 10, while I was pregnant with my son, I talked to her and read age appropriate information with her about what was going on: how the baby was conceived, and then all the stages of development. She went through all the childbirth classes with me and watched the whole birth. We talk openly about sex.

    My son, well, we haven't discussed anything at all. He knows the differences in a man and a woman.

    We are Christian and have/will teach our children that sex before marriage is wrong. When my son asked where babies came from, I told him that when a man and a woman marry, God decides when to give them a child. He hasn't asked the tough questions yet.:eek: But when he does, or even if he doesn't, we will decide when he's ready and discuss everything with him.

    I don't have to worry about sex education in school. I home schooled up until last year, and now they are in a private Christian school.
     
  6. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #6
    Too many parents are afraid to discuss sex with their kids. They subscribe to the out of sight, out of mind theory. Wake up people, it doesn't work. The more you hide or ban things from kids, the more they want them.

    When I was 6 or 7 my parents gave me a book called How Babies Are Made and discussed it with me. Should be required parenting IMO.

    EDIT: Damn, it's still available.

    http://www.amazon.com/How-Babies-Made-Steven-Schepp/dp/0316042277
     
  7. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    #7
    So what do private Christian schools do? :confused:
     
  8. arkitect macrumors 601

    arkitect

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    #8
    Teach that it is all down to "Immaculate Conception"?
    :confused:

    :D:D
     
  9. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #9
    Is that a Madonna album? :D

    Hmm, when I was ~5-7, I knew (this seems unbelievable in hindsight) the basic physiology at the level of what sperm and egg cells were, where they both came from, how they combined, where the zygote / embryo went, gestation, etc. I did not know how the sperm got into the vagina. :eek: I thought that it swam across the bed, which seemed somewhat ... arduous. :eek:

    I was five in ... 1980. :eek: Condoms were used back then, but AIDS was not yet well understood, and so the impetus for safer sex was not what it would be a few years later. But no one talked to me about condoms when I was in the K-5 ages....

    I didn't really know too much about safer sex practices, STDs, etc, until I was taught in school, starting I think in 7th grade or maybe 6th. The education regarding safer sex practices was fairly basic, but I learned the important things -- what condoms and other prophylactics / contraceptives can and cannot protect against, how effective they are, what the risks are, how different diseases are transmitted and to what extent they can be treated, etc. So at least by high school I don't think I was under any of the major popular misconceptions that people talk about. And this was US public schooling (in a small, conservative town in Michigan).

    My parents also said very, very little about sex, and actively discouraged dating. OTOH, I was a late bloomer generally, and I was very ignorant / uninterested in romance until at least late JHS, like 8th grade.
     
  10. Lau thread starter Guest

    #10
    I think that's interesting (and I'm glad you've decided to talk to your kids about it differently to the way you experienced it yourself, even if I don't agree with the marriage and the God bits ;)). Following on from rdowns' point, I know that having known about it from a young age, there wasn't any huge mystery to it, and that I, if anything, had sex at an older age than a lot of my peers.

    I don't really remember any particular 'talks' – I think it was just an ongoing thing, which, again, made it completely untraumatic, I think. I reckon I'd remember if there had been some kind of excruciatingly awkward 'talk', as I remember plenty of other ones about other stuff.
     
  11. atszyman macrumors 68020

    atszyman

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    #11
    I went to a catholic grade school where they taught us about sex in 7th grade and our instructors, I am not making this up, were a priest and a nun.

    That puts most of the class at 13 when it was taught. Of course being that age and the 18+ years since the instruction, I don't remember exactly what was taught, and given the catholics stance on birth control I think condoms were mentioned and explained but we were also told the church's position.

    Of course by the time we had this the mechanics and ideas behind sex had been gleaned from discussions on the bus and around other male classmates who's obsession with the subject led them to whatever references they could find on the subject and then using their "superior" knowledge to try and look cool.

    We also had health classes in HS where it was talked about and condoms were discussed, although I don't think there were any demonstrations on how to use them properly. If my memory serves, the instructions on the box were quite clear and sufficient when the need arose.

    Now with an almost 4 year old, a 1.5 year old and one due in late February/early March, my wife and I will almost certainly have the talk with them, although at what ages to get into what detail will be a definite concern and we're hopefully not going to be idiotic about it either considering we both started having sex well before we were married and knowing that kids are exposed to it in the media pretty heavily we definitely want to make sure that they know how to prevent pregnancy and protect themselves from disease, as much as I'd like them to be straight laced and avoid having sex until they find the right person for them, I'm not stupid enough to believe that they'll wait until marriage or even finishing college before it happens.
     
  12. és: macrumors 6502a

    és:

    #12
    Now we're in the sh*t. I was going to pick up on the post, but my inability to be succinct would have derailed the thread.
     
  13. ezzie macrumors 68020

    ezzie

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    #13
    i totally agree with you on both points. when i was a kid, sex and body parts were completely taboo and not discussed at home. our sex ed at school was no better and we were basically taught that sex was reserved for older married folks. (keep in mind i went to a very small backwoods public school, so i guess they could teach whatever they wanted.) hardly any mention of condoms, and no mention of birth control pills or other contraceptives. we did have to watch a video of childbirth, presumably to scare us. it didn't work, of course. :rolleyes:

    the best was when my mom sat me down at the age of 15 (after i'd already been engaged in multiple...erm...activities) and gave me an awkward 5-minute "don't do it" lecture. yeah, so helpful.

    i plan on teaching my kids the proper names for male and female naughty bits at a young age, and also letting them know the very basic mechanics of the whole "where do babies come from" thing. to me, that's just responsible parenting.
     
  14. redwarrior macrumors 603

    redwarrior

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    #14
    That's just sick!:eek::D
    They teach what they call "Health," which does cover all the basics, with the bible teaching of abstinence before marriage - the whole God created man and woman thing. They don't instruct on how to use birth control. Christian schools leave parenting to the parents more than public education does (maybe good, maybe bad, depending on the parents).

    My personal opinion and not necessarily that of other Christian parents... I do think that it's important to point out here that I don't think someone is going to hell cause they are sexually active as a single adult, or if they are homosexual, although I do believe that both are wrong and teach my children accordingly. The most important thing to me is that they are confident and secure enough with themselves that they will decide for themselves what is right or wrong and will not allow other people, whether in the heat of passion or not, to influence them to the point of compromising their values.

    The sex act is a very small part of what is going on between two (or more:eek:) people, and I think it's important for them to learn all aspects and effects of it. Kinda like learning what the brakes do before you drive the car, you can figure it out as you go, but it's just better if you understand it before you hit the road!

    Edit:
    Was that too wordy?:eek:
     
  15. Queso macrumors G4

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    #15
    My older brother told me all about it having lost his virginity down the woods to some girl named Debbie at the age of 13. He was suddenly quite the expert.
     
  16. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #16
    I didn't find anything out from my folks on this, the school taught us how to put a condom on and all that kind of stuff.
    God knows where I found the rest of it out.
     
  17. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    #17
    Must have been a very "friendly" class :eek:
    Betting god probably wouldn't approve of your mysterious methods ;) :p :D


    PS. What is teh "sex"?
     
  18. GorillaPaws macrumors 6502a

    GorillaPaws

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    #18
    A major problem with this philosophy is that it ignores the issue that the majority of parents probably don't know all of the facts about contraception, STD's and other related topics. Sure all parents know the basics (obviously if they have children), but do they really keep up with all the changes in sex-ed information as it constantly evolves?

    EDIT: edesignuk: how do they handle sex-ed in the uk? Is it even a controversial subject there?
     
  19. redwarrior macrumors 603

    redwarrior

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    #19
    I'd rather leave the contraception education to me and my doctor to address. I simply don't trust the "system" to do it properly. I'm intelligent enough to keep up with the facts, and only I know at what age my child is ready for certain conversations. :)
     
  20. atszyman macrumors 68020

    atszyman

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    #20
    Yeah, unfortunately the "Only I know when their ready" doesn't always take into account when their friends and acquaintances are ready to share the information they know is right.

    I'd say 14 is a legitimate age for schools to step in and say, "look, you've probably heard it from your parents but if not here's the deal" and clear up the big misconceptions about STDs pregnancy and all those things that even some parents get wrong.

    At 14 they're on the verge of HS where many Juniors and Seniors may be preying on the attractive freshmen, and most likely at least a few of their classmates have already done the deed.

    Relying on parents, who will often exist in a state of denial (my own mother made the comment to me about the Palin daughter that, 17 year olds should not have enough unsupervised time to do that stuff, I didn't have the heart to break the truth to her) will result in a lot of their "good kids" doing something that ends up with consequences that were easily preventable if the kids had been informed.

    In an ideal world parents would take care of it, but in an ideal world parents would also not buy their kids "M" rated video games and let them watch 6+ hours of TV every day.
     
  21. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #21
    I went to private Catholic school my whole life and we got more comprehensive sex education than public school kids.
    We were taught the facts without any moral preaching or subtle threats of damnation attached.
     
  22. GorillaPaws macrumors 6502a

    GorillaPaws

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    #22
    I can appreciate that parents may have a better sense of their child's level of maturity when it comes to these types of issues. I also tend to suspect that parents naturally underestimate their child's sexual development, understanding and knowledge. Ideally, parents should be ahead of the curve in terms of educating their children about sex... the last thing they would want to do is to play catch-up after something has happened.

    I was just looking at this wikipedia article comparing the various contraception methods, and didn't know anything about 25% of them. Then there's topics like whether or not swallowing during oral sex will increase or decrease the risk of transmission for various diseases. Do you really think parents (if they even know the correct answer) are going to get into the details like this--and yet that knowledge could prevent their child from acquiring a terminal illness.
     
  23. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #23
    I have nothing to add at the moment except this...
     

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  24. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #24
    I think that's a very wise approach. It seems really bizarre to me that there is a "right" age to start teaching children about sex. Situations occur, questions come up and they should be answered honestly.

    The more mystery that surrounds the process, the more problems it will cause in the future.
     
  25. szark macrumors 68030

    szark

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    #25
    My Catholic high school didn't give the guys any sex education at all. Our "health" class consisted of lessons on how to tie neckties and how to color coordinate our clothes.

    Had I not gone to a public junior high school (which had basic sex-education), I probably wouldn't have known anything about sex except what I picked up from movies and TV.
     

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