Today WICWA talks sex *queue Sugar and Spice*. Well more like sex education in Ghana. Sex education basically entails issues relating to human sexuality, the human sexual anatomy, reproduction, intercourse, reproductive health, emotional relations, reproductive rights and responsibilities, abstinence, and birth control. Yeah a lot of stuff so whose job is it to actually talk to us about sex? Teachers, parents, church, Hollywood, Big bird? And when does sex ed actually start?
I have been taking a populations studies elective in sociology this semester and there’s been a fair amount of sex talk. Not that I have a problem with this but I just found it surprising. We are brought up to think discussion of sex is some sort of Pandora’s Box, but our professor, who seems old school by the way, talks quite freely about it. She even plans to bring a model penis to demonstrate condom use. My question then is why sex education, from parents and in schools, doesn’t actively happen. The obvious answer is the culture of silence backed by our traditions and religious beliefs.
So when should sex education start? I’m thinking the junior high school level thereabout where the kids are about 12-15 years and preferably by the parents. My parents never had the “Talk” with me and most of my questions were answered by movies, surprise, surprise. I’m sure some parents actively try to conceal the knowledge of sex like it was some national secret but then there’s that magic device called Google and pretty much all the kids know about it.
Movies contained some things about sex but the internet is a gold mine. The web is the ultimate repository of information and you could practically teach yourself law on it…and sex. Documents, videos, pictures, diagrams it has it all and then some. There are 10 year olds with access to the internet and what happens if/when they Google sex, if they haven’t already. There is a lot of stuff on the internet concerning sex and most of it, depending on age, can be very corrupting.
It’s imperative that parents beat the internet when it comes to divulging info about sex. Not that they should divulge everything at a go but at least lay the ground work. The “Talk” isn’t a onetime thing. It should continue as child develops I reckon. As for when parents should actually start discussing the forbidden subject, I leave it to their discretion but it should certainly be before the ever popular reproduction class in junior high. You find that around this time, they and their inexperienced peers end up having their own mini sex ed forums and not a lot of good comes out from that. Bad advice is given and further bad decisions are likely to occur.
In Ghana there is some controversy over the appropriateness of sex education in schools. There isn’t a period or class for giving students such information save biology. I’m sure life skills class had a part to play in this but I remember it being more like a cooking class. In Finland, sex education is incorporated into some courses, mainly biology, in lower grades and, later, in courses related to general health issues. The Population and Family Welfare Federation provides all 15 year olds with an introductory sexual package that includes information brochures and a condom. Ghanaian schools can take up modules similar to that of Finland’s and incorporate it into our schools curriculum. It is key they supplement what parents have to offer about sex since they may have access to accurate know how and relevant resource persons.
Taking a some cues from their module would be a step in the right direction however talk of condoms is what gets our religious folk jumping. Some believe actually talking about sex may actually push kids to engage in it early on however we don’t do much sex ed but kids in class six are still sexually active and there are still high teenage pregnancy rates in schools so the counter argument is; the youth are still having sex anyway so why not protect them with condoms and information_ touché.
My take on this is simple, young people shouldn’t be kept away from sex education, it should no longer be a taboo topic. It’s about much more than just sex, there’s the health and family planning aspect too. Discussions should be held be between parents and kids, it should be taught in schools and the churches should also chip in as they have a part to play in a moral sense since we don’t want a bunch of promiscuous kids running around. We should also appreciate that our society is rapidly evolving and the presence of internet means our kids are going to be bombarded by information about sex and it’s up to us as a society to make sure they are not corrupted and receive the right information at the right time.
So again in the words of Sugar and Spice “Let’s talk about sex”