X-RATED SEX ED?
LEARNING ABOUT BODIES FROM A YOUNG AGE EMPOWERS CHILDREN AND HELPS THEM MAKE GOOD DECISIONS
Boys have penises, girls have vaginas. This is the kind of shocking information some Australian schools are teaching children as young as seven. Can you imagine a world where a child can look down at themselves in the shower and know what they’re seeing? That’s the world that is terrifying the shadow education minister in Victoria. Like so many others who find scaring parents to be fertile ground for electioneering, Tim Smith is warning that line drawings that depict a penis or vagina are “graphic” and belong in an “X-rated movie”. They’re line drawings even less graphic than the crude penis a 10-year-old draws in a friend’s notepad. In Year 3 when children are between eight or nine years old, they learn more about genitals. It even includes the proper scientific names for things. That includes the clitoris, the urethra, prostate gland and bladder. Students try to name the parts. I’m sure Mr Smith fears that once children know the term prostate, sex with wild abandon is around the corner. The bluster from politicians and others is nonsense. Children begin to ask questions about genitals and about sex as soon as they’re able to talk. They point at Mummy and ask, “What’s that?” then ask, “Does Daddy have one? Why not?” They soon want to know where they came from, how their brother or sister was made, and why they have different bits. Speaking in hushed tones about their bodies serves no purpose except to confuse a child and give them a sense of shame. Teaching kids about anatomy and sex – whether it’s by parents or teachers – is about more than just knowledge, it’s about safety. At a time when gonorrhoea rates have doubled and syphilis cases have tripled, our young people need to know about their bodies long before they learn about STIs. They can’t suddenly learn everything at 15. Schools need to teach sex education. It can’t all be left to parents. Kids go on camps, they play catch-and-kiss and they’re exposed to a lot of sexually charged content that is far more accessible today. The confidence that comes with that knowledge means they will grow up knowing when and why they want to have sex, and hopefully how to do it safely. If achieving that begins with learning the words “penis” and “vagina” then so be it.