I was cooking dinner at a friend’s house with the television on for background noise when the show Sexperience UK came on. So while the pasta cooked and the sauce simmered I found myself watching it, and I have to say that I am impressed! Sexperience UK is a sex education show aimed at a general audience and ties in with a comprehensive website where visitors can share their sexual experiences and thoughts and also watch educational videos on various themes. The show and website both highlight the high rates of STIs and teenage pregnancies and argue for the need for compulsory and comprehensive sex education in the UK.
So why am I so excited about this programme and how is this relevant to my humanism? Quite simply, I believe that it is important for people to understand their bodies and that everyone should have access to good quality, accurate and straight-forward information. I think that this programme and website do a fantastic job. Sex is often considered a taboo subject, especially in various religious traditions, but sexual organs are just part of the human body and sexual behaviour is natural human behaviour. Of course, I’m not suggesting that anyone should be pressured into sex, but I do believe that people should be aware of the facts and the risks, and be able to make their own decisions. They should not be made to feel ashamed for having questions about sex and relationships.
What I really like about this project is the way it caters for different age groups and takes a no nonsense approach. The Sex Education Show was very straight-forward, not afraid to use medical terms but mixed this with a touch of humour and always brought the issues back to real people and real situations. In the episode I watched, teenagers discussed what they knew about sex, the presenter learned about ways to improve sexual pleasure, and parents and healthcare professionals discussed how to approach discussing sex education with your children. Short segments presented a healthcare professional discussing various relevant facts and issues concerning sex, anatomy, puberty and pregnancy. There was no sense of shame or embarassment and no coy or patronising euphemisms when discussing the themes at hand. The presenter, Anna Richardson, also interviewed a government education official and argued the case for high quality, compulsory sex education in schools.
It seems that I’m not alone in this view. The Guardian reports on a government review which has decided that sex education will be a compulsory part of the national curriculum for both primary and secondary school by 2010. Faith schools will be free to present their views on sex alongside the compulsory components. The Daily Mail highlights the views of those who are not as enamored of this development as I am. I confess that I was under the impression that sex education already was compulsory in Britain. However, I am glad to see that children and teenagers will have access to accurate and reliable information about their bodies, sexuality and relationships. I look forward to a world where people feel comfortable understanding their bodies and respecting all relationships and sexualities, whether they choose to be sexually active or not.
If you’d like to take a look for yourself, the Sexperience UK website includes educational videos, first hand accounts, episodes of the Sex Education Show, surveys, sex education information and opportunities to discuss your experiences of sex and relationships.