Author: M. G.
"From Shakespeare's sonnets to episodes of Eastenders and from Rihanna's latest single to a Tchaikovsky symphony, we are more rounded, fully realised people when we are able to engage with sexuality in a mature and sophisticated manner." These are the amazing word of Mark McCormack, a lecturer in applied social sciences at Durham University (UK) who recently called for lessons in personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) to become compulsory in all schools of UK.
Families shouldn't be the only place where young people can find education about sexuality, since sexuality is something wider than the mere act of sex. Sexuality is about society, relations and affectivity, therefore you can't expect youngsters to ask their parents why on earth Beyoncé keeps repeating ‘Graining on that wood graining graining on that wood'. Honestly, that is just out of reality.
Still, the director of the Family Education Trust Norman Wells is one of the many who is worried about the effects of this "sexual indulgence" and in a way believes that PSHE risks to transform young people into a crowd of superficial boys and girls without values: "The advocates of lessons in sexual pleasure have not really thought about the implications of pursuing a hedonistic lifestyle for the future happiness of young people [...] If we are interested in promoting secure marriages, stable families and strong communities, sexual pleasure should never be promoted as a 'right' or as an end in itself."
We have this to say about the issue. First of all, hedonism is a complex of ideas that doesn't simply concern the pursuit of physical and ephemeral pleasure, so don't blame Greek-Roman philosophy. Moreover, sex is already promoted as a ‘right' or as an end in itself in many ways. Sex is a business worth billions and I'm not talking only about porn: the media in general are saturated with sex messages, for the simple reason that when you use sex then your sales are probably going to rocket. Sex is already used to control people's actions and a deeper, more honest education about the reality of sex will surely make the future generations freer than those of the present.
To educate young people about sexuality is an issue that fills the hearts of many with fear and I think that what's important to keep in mind is well synthesized by the words that professor Chris Bonnell used in the British Medical Journal, to support compulsory PSHE lessons in UK schools: "Schools need to teach students not only academic knowledge and cognitive skills, but also the knowledge and skills they will need to promote their own mental and physical health and how to successfully navigate the world of work".