Last night whilst flicking through the channels on TV hubby and I decided to see what amusement could be had from watching the Sex Education programme that is being screen everyday this week. I hadn’t realised that the show was actually in its third series – where have I been? Most likely having sex and getting pregnant!?!
In all honesty I think we just thought it would be funny to hear some of the kids’ thoughts on sex and their sexual encounters but I really found myself applauding the documentary. In fact, I think it is something which should be screened in all schools across the UK. Hubby and I both agreed that the sex education that we received at school was basically, pants! It consisted of a rather embarrassed biology teacher “trying” to explain the pictures we were being shown and a “birth video” in an effort to put all the girlies off getting pregnant. What it didn’t tell us was that everyone is different, that our bodies are ours and nothing to be ashamed of. As times progress we are seeing more and more articles on body image and how we “should” look. Is there any wonder that there are so many children worrying that they are too fat, too thin, too short, too tall?
At school I was on the receiving end of jibes for being too thin, boys would taunt me saying that I would break if they hit me. One tried it at Primary School with a tennis racket – it bloody hurt but I didn’t break! At least not on the outside. What it did do though was give me real issues with my appearance. I would wear baggy clothes to hide under or long skirts to cover my legs. I didn’t wear my first mini-skirt until I was about 19 years old, and well then they just continued to get shorter and shorter. (Apologies to the cabbies that probably got more than they bargained for when I was exiting their taxis!)
I worry as a mother that my own children will grow up worrying about how they look and I really hope that I can be an honest and open mother and instil them with confidence as they grow. I want to be the sort of mother that my children will openly talk to about their hopes and fears without me “judging them” but I guess only time will tell.
Nothing on the Sex Education documentary was considered taboo and the questions flowed freely from the children. Perhaps some parents would find it too “in your face” for their children – afterall they did have naked men and women of all ages, shapes and sizes but it just went on to prove that there is no “norm”, that we are all as different as our fingerprints. Some women have big boobs, some have none, some have one bigger than the other. It doesn’t mean that there is something “wrong” with us, it just means that we are individual and underneath it all, we still have feelings.
I don’t think there was anything in particular about the show which “shocked” me. I was amused by the question “how often should I be masturbating at the age of 14” and shocked by the question “why do some people choose to be gay”. I thought that we had come far enough forward in this day and age to realise that it isn’t a life choice, it just happens. I am not gay, I’m happily married with children but I don’t have a problem with other people’s sexual preferences. Many of the boys on the show said that they would find it difficult if they found out their best mate was gay. Why? How is it any different to know that someone of the same sex fancies you, as it is to find out that someone of the opposite sex fancies you? It doesn’t mean they are going to make a move on you, just be flattered – I would be. I’m probably stepping on dodgy ground here but I have never altered my opinions to make others happy, I call it as I see it.
I guess its about finding that medium ground, when do you start talking to your children about sex? You don’t want to tell them too early that they want to run out and give it all a go but you also don’t want them “fumbling about in the dark” (pardon the pun) and coming home to tell you they are going to be parents at the age of 14. I guess the answer to that is, always be as honest and open as possible but in an age appropriate manner. Its no use telling the kids that the new baby was delivered by a stork, it will only confuse them later when they realise that you lied to them. After all, if you lied to them about that, what else did you lie about? What’s wrong with telling them that Daddy put a seed in Mummy’s tummy? You don’t have to go into the specifics. Being a parent is a huge learning curve and I think the topic of sex is one of the biggest, toughest areas we will have to tackle with our children but with shows like this around I think our job could be made much easier.