SexEd in primary

Or, rather the lack of it.

My boy came home with a short, funny story and it made me think. One of his classmates – a boy, of course – made up a dance that consisted of thrusting movements of the pelvis. Everyone laughed, but he was told off by the teacher and told that it’s inappropriate.

I think this could have been a perfect opportunity for the teacher to actually sit down with the class a start a conversation about what happened. Something along the lines of the conversation I had with my boy:

  • Do you know what this movement is and when it is used? Naturally had no idea. So we discussed that sex is very similar to dancing: there are the basic steps/movements, like the one shown, and as you learn/master it, it becomes more intricate and complicated. But, yes, it all starts with that basic movement.
  • Why do you think it was called inappropriate?
    He had no idea. As he doesn’t have a grasp on what sex is. Which is totally fine at age 10. What is not fine is that we are branding the most basic instinct as inappropriate without explaining the why. We are creating a barrier in kid’s minds that could make them assume that this is a bad thing. So we talked about the fundamental rules of sex:

    • Do not do it in public. This is between the 2 people who have agreed to and want to do it. It doesn’t concert the whole world and surely others do not want to share the visuals of it.
    • Both parties have to AGREE.
    • If either one says NO, then it means NO!
    • It has to be enjoyable and good for BOTH of them. It is not about one person doing a favour. It’s about 2 people wanting to share joy and happiness, and hopefully do it because they love each other.
    • It is a perfectly natural thing to do, otherwise the classroom would be empty. Bottom line is: It is that basic thrusting movement that created each and every one of them. So it can’t be that bad, right?
  • Talk about how sex is generally a very personal issue and it’s not inappropriate because it is disgusting, but because it is intimate. There are other things that we don’t want to share with the world, this is just one of those things. It’s private.
  • Maybe even talk about how the idea of sex has changed over the decades and show the kids that in different ages and cultures people had different thresholds of what was considered inappropriate. Just think about the Greeks, Romans…

As he’ll grow we will elaborate on the fundamental rules, but I think it doesn’t hurt, even at 10, to hear about these. I think of it as laying down the ground rules that should be so deeply embedded, that it will never occur to my boy to continue after a girl says No. I know it is only one small part of a big puzzle.

But I do think that making certain subject taboo is wrong. All subjects (almost) can be explained/talked about age appropriately. Sometimes it does take some thought on how to…

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