By Amelia Butterly
Sex and relationship education (SRE) in schools isn’t good enough – at least, that’s what a lot of you often say.
From not being taught early enough, to lacking information about LGBT relationships and issues of consent – SRE gets a lot of criticism.
But, looking back at the archives, experts say there have been improvements when it comes to telling young people about relationships.
We’ve looked at posters and films once used to explain the birds and the bees.
And we asked sex and relationships teacher Caroline Stringer, a specialist from the charity Brook, to talk us through them.
This video – which was shown in schools – was also aired as part of a televised discussion about whether this kind of material was suitable for children to see.
Caroline says the way the penis is described as going “hard and straight” so that it can go into the woman’s vagina could be a problem.
“How confusing to young men having involuntary erections through puberty – they may have thought they need to go and find a vagina,” she explains.
Nowadays, says Caroline, good sex and relationship education will include topics such as consent and same-sex relationships.
Elsewhere in the videos, a man and woman are shown modelling nude in an art class.
“I thought it actually started off quite well, saying: ‘These people aren’t embarrassed’,” says Caroline.
“But for me, it was all about reproduction and a man and a woman. That’s the bit that is easy to talk about. It’s fact.”
In modern educational materials however, real people would not be shown posing nude, says Caroline.
“We would show diagrams, rather than the real thing.”
This film, which depicts a naked man on a beach, is the other one to feature full nudity.
It depends on the context, Caroline says, but seeing real-life naked bodies can serve a really useful educational function.
“If we’re showing people what STIs, for example, look like. How do they know what private parts look like without those STIs, if we only ever show them ones with?”
Like other films, it focuses on committed relationships.
“It’s all about making love. That’s what we would want to promote but that’s not always the case for people,” says Caroline.
Caroline says in her classes she talks about all the different words which people use to describe sex and the body, including slang for the genitals.
“You can use those words,” she tells the students.
“But you need to know the proper words as well because if you’re going to talk to a doctor, you need to know what they’re saying back to you.”
Again, this video would not fit with “inclusive” modern sex education, Caroline explains.
“I did like that they talked about pleasure. It’s the first time in these videos they talked about it, for both a man and a woman.”
She adds: “It’s really important that it’s taught with a positive attitude. We don’t want scare messages.”
The sexual health charity Caroline works for, Brook, goes to in one in 10 UK schools to teach SRE.
“Brook believes SRE should start early in childhood so that children and young people learn to talk about feelings and relationships from a young age and are prepared for puberty before it happens,” they said in a statement.
“As children get older, we advocate SRE focusing on the positive qualities of relationships, such as trust, consent, body-positivity, commitment and pleasure.
“We also discuss the different forms relationships and sexuality can take.
“In addition to this, we also believe in ensuring that SRE is relevant and appropriate to the lives of young people so that it relates to other issues such as mental health, sexting, porn and staying safe online.”
Complete Article HERE!