An interesting article in The Telegraph today calls for better PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic) education to cover sex and relationships.
Research presented at the Institute of Education Sexualisation of Culture conference – which I co-organised – by Maree Crabbe and David Corlett found that young people turn to pornography for sex education because schools don’t cover the positive aspects of sex and intimacy.
Like Alan McKee, whose work I have discussed here before, Crabbe and Corlett conclude that what is needed is better PSHE on aspects of sex and relationships which recognise that young people will be viewing pornography, rather than the abstinence models that have recently been suggested. They are also in favour of teaching critical thinking so that young people can better evaluate the representations that they see of sex in porn, given that they are likely to be accessing it.
Personally, I’d like to see sex and relationship education that covers the following:
- The diversity of sexual identities and practices, rather than putting one forward as the norm (including teaching critical readings of the kinds of sex which are most available in mainstream media and porn).
- How to tune in to your own desires and lack of desires.
- How to communicate these and the importance of consent.