Sexual education is being implemented in schools across Canada, the US, UK, New Zeeland and Australia. At one point it will become a global reality: children as young as 5 years old will all be introduced to “the pleasures of sex.” If that sounds strange, it’s because that is strange.
What those new sex curricula do is encourage children and teens to have sex without telling the whole story. They raise kids’ curiosity and awareness to sexual possibilities but leave out important facts concerning physical and psychological health.
That’s really disturbing. Even more disturbing are certain people behind the curricula. I’ll get to that in a moment.
Many communities of outraged parents are protesting the sex ed curricula. Brushed off, they’re accused of ignorance. To sort out once and for all this matter, a group of concerned parents in Canada asked Dr. Miriam Grossman to revise the Toronto sex ed curriculum. Grossman is a renowned child and adolescence psychiatrist with many years of work at the UCLA campus, and what she finds in the curriculum doesn’t sound good: health here is not the priority.
“The priority,” Grossman tells the parents, “is to mold your child’s thinking and attitudes so that they respect, affirm and are comfortable with all sexual choices and lifestyles.” The Toronto curriculum, like so many produced by the sex ed industry, is based on a specific agenda. By centering on political correctness, it completely ignores truths of current science, as well as biological, cultural and individual differences between people. “There is a significant flaw with this approach: it’s not based on reality,” says Grossman.
Basically, children are left to decide what’s best for them in terms of how, when, dos and don’ts of sex. Really? Are children that well-informed and mature to know what’s best for them? Grade 6 students, for example, are instructed to consider their comfort level, personal and family values, and the limits and comfort of others when making any decision regarding a relationship. Grossman questions how a 6-grader could possibly know any of that when even adults struggle with those things.
For Grade 7 students, this is what the curriculum delivers: “Be clear in your own mind about what you are comfortable or uncomfortable with. Being able to talk about this with a partner is an important part of sexual health. Having sex can be an enjoyable experience and can be an important part of a close relationship when you are older.” Grossman questions how a Grade-7 student can possibly know what when you are older means.
They may think that at Grade 8 they will be older. The curriculum is vague and leaves the immature child to decide when they are ready, after discussing it with their equally immature partner. That doesn’t make any sense. Then, at Grade 8, students are taught that there are many options available for sex. Again, it’s up to the child to decide about their choices instead of giving the teacher authority to clarify important things.
The teen brain is different
Teens act on impulse and emotions because their brains are not fully developed: the portion that plays a critical role in decision-making, problem-solving and understanding the consequences of actions won’t be fully mature until the person is into their 20s. This neuroscience needs to be brought into sex education so teachers and parents, and also teenagers and children, understand it and know not to even get close to a situation that they will later regret.
This information doesn’t get into sex education, though, because it doesn’t jive with the ideology that people are all the same, sexual beings from cradle to grave that should act on their sexual urges at any time. The curriculum then ignores current knowledge about child and adolescent development, sexually transmitted diseases, neuropsychology and many other areas, since current science undermines that ideology.
Students are offered a menu with various forms of sexual expression, presented in the curriculum as if all forms are the same and pose the same risks. The curriculum omits that young girls, having an immature cervix, are much more prone to vaginal infections than adult women; that condoms do not offer total protection against infections and sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS; and that anal sex presents much higher risks of contracting STDs—in the case of HIV, from a very conservative estimate, the risk is at least 31% higher in anal sex than in vaginal intercourse, according to the Health Department of New York City.
Grossman does not advice anal sex to young kids: “It’s too dangerous. Don’t do it.” She mentions a student who got HIV the first time she had anal sex—it can happen. Until 2014, the FDA website used to have a warning for anal sex: “Condoms provide some protection but anal intercourse is simply too dangerous to practice.—C. Everett Koop, General Surgeon.“ Now the warning has been removed. Did biology change? asks Grossman. No. What changed is the culture and the pressure to push for the sex ed agenda. As a result, this information becomes unavailable to the people who need it the most, such as young gay men.
In addition, the curriculum fails to mention that women are much more vulnerable to STDs than men. The Centers for Disease Control in the US informs that “Sexually transmitted diseases pose severe threats to women’s health and fertility … biological factors place women at greater risk than men.” Grossman adds: “The ignorance and lack of biological correct information due to the sex ed industry has lead the US to a situation in which a young person between the ages of 13 and 24 gets an STD every 3.5 seconds.” In Canada, STD rates are also going up.
“This is a crusade to change society, to desensitize children and indoctrinate them,” concludes Grossman in her lecture. What Grossman says is crucial, as it relates to many preventable health problems that are not properly addressed in the curricula and may be a matter of life or death. Not to mention psychological immaturity for sex, which can cause confusion and depression.
One last thing you should know: one of the creators of the curriculum in question, former deputy education minister Benjamin Levin, is in jail for sexual crimes against children, including the possession and distribution of child pornography of the worst kind. You can read the details in The Toronto Life.
8-year olds learn lesson 1: “Let’s have sex”
If you want to check out the controversy about the sex ed curriculum in American schools, here’s a video. At 36:00, its final segment brings a creepy presentation by the US National Sexuality Administration. Using a puppet, it teaches 8-year olds about gender identity, abortion, birth control and sexual intercourse (“It’s when a penis is inserted into a vagina, a mouth or an anus”). This is Lesson 1, entitled “Let’s have sex.” Please note that this is not a title: it’s a command.
What I also perceive in this scenario is that encouraging girls to have sex prematurely means throwing them unguarded into a culture that treats sexually active boys like studs and sexually active girls like sluts. I can’t stress enough how the double standards are still prevalent in our society, especially among teenagers too young to know better. The occurrence of bullying against fragile girls and their resulting stigmatization is a serious issue. Some of them get so depressed they commit suicide.
The defenders of the sex ed curricula argue it’s necessary for children’s safety. Is it really? Dr. Grossman destroys this argument with a very simple instruction: explain to kids that they have private parts, those covered by their bathing suit, and if an adult tries to see or touch them, kids should run, scream and tell their parents. That’s it. No need to be dwelling in anatomically correct names and anal sex.
The same approach is adopted by Lynnette Smith, a sex educator interviewed in the 2014 BBC documentary Porn: What’s the Harm? In her case, she teaches children about pornography. It has nothing to do with what’s proposed by the sex ed curricula, yet she also teaches 5-year olds. Another difference is that she talks to parents first, whereas the sex ed curricula is applied without parents being informed when. You can see Smith’s educational approach at 50:00 into Porn: What’s the Harm? The way she talks to the children is really inspiring.
I would add some questions to the mix. How about regulating the media so it will stop bombarding children with sexual content and encouraging precocious sexuality? How about regulating the multibillion-dollar porn industry so it stops distributing material that glorifies violence, misogyny and pedophilia? How about finding effective ways of stopping revenge porn and the rape culture in universities? Amid all the hypersexualization that occurs, children are being robbed of their childhood and pre-teens have to carry an extra emotional burden for being exposed to sex when they are not ready.
The sex ed curricula not only fails to educate children about porn, but it also fails to prepare young girls for the potential hazards of an active sexual life in a world of double moral standards. Boys have their masculinity defined by how many girls they can score as opposed to cultivating sexual integrity. Girls are conditioned to dress and act like sluts in order to fit in, but they aren’t supposed to be sluts. Slut is a stereotype, though. If something dresses and acts like a slut, then it must be a slut. It’s a conundrum. Sociologist Gail Dines explains that, when a girl is labeled a slut, she experiences the same trauma symptoms as a rape victim because that’s the equivalent of raping her own identity.
Say a girl likes a guy and he asks for an intimate picture of her. She obliges because nudity is everywhere as a norm, and she thinks that’s expected from her in order to please the boy. The photo leaks on the internet, as the boy wants/needs to brag his conquest, or maybe he’s a resentful ex-boyfriend. The girl then will be called a slut and will be bullied relentlessly. She’s a victim. In countries like England and the United States, however, to add insult to injury, the law will label her as a sex offender for sending out “child pornography.” Now how hideous and hypocritical is that?
That’s how institutions go. A poor girl victimized by a leaked photo is victimized again by the legal system while it is OK for the porn industry to distribute videos suggesting incest with pre-teens that any child can access. It’s the typical situation where petty infractions are punished (not in this case, though, since the girl is innocent) and huge crimes committed by big fish are not addressed because big fish have money.
Sexual education should not be left in the hands of institutions, as every institution has an agenda. Parents know what’s best for their children. Each child is different, and what those curricula do is treat children as if they were all the same, ignoring the specific background, personal stage of development and needs of each child.
On my next post I want to take a look at the hookup culture. Yeah, party, alcohol and sex, right? There’s interesting stuff ahead, stay tuned!