Sex still a touchy subject in some quarters

A radio station owner once decided to write his memoirs of his adventures in setting up not-for-profit FM stations throughout the United States. Struggling with what he would title the book, he turned to a relative for advice.

The relative told him that if he added the word “sex” to the title, it would double his sales. Thus, the broadcaster cheekily published his book under the title, “Sex and Broadcasting”.

Maybe the word “sex” really did double the author’s sales, or maybe not. But regardless of its marketing value, the word can still stir up a controversy when it’s mentioned in a classroom setting.

Witness the controversy in Alberta over Bill 44, a new law approved by the provincial legislature early Tuesday morning that would, among other things, allow parents to “pull their children from classrooms in which teachers discuss sexual orientation, sexuality, or religion”.

Some might say that this is really a tempest in a teapot. After all, Alberta isn’t really the hotbed of social conservatism and religious fundamentalism that it’s sometimes made out to be. Alberta is in many ways a diverse and cosmopolitan province, and 24 percent of Albertans reported having no religion at all as of the 2001 Census — well above the national average of 17 percent, and second only to B.C.’s 36 percent. Only a few prudes and hot-heads will withdraw their kids, they might say.

They might be right. But is it a good idea for a government to send a message that learning about sex and religion is unimportant?

Consider what some researchers have found about the effect of teaching young people about sex:

  • From the University of California: “…credible research clearly demonstrates that some comprehensive sex education, or ‘abstinence-plus,’ programs can achieve positive behavioral changes among young people and reduce STIs, and that these programs do not encourage young people to initiate sexual activity earlier or have more sexual partners.”
  • From the World Health Organization: “Young people are most commonly targeted in schools and the evidence is that curriculum-based sex education does not increase risky sexual behaviour as many fear. Systematic reviews have shown school-based sex education to lead to improved awareness of risk and knowledge of risk reduction strategies, increased self-effectiveness and intention to adopt safer sex behaviours, and to delay, rather than hasten, the onset of sexual activity.”
  • From the University of Exeter / British Medical Journal: “School sex education that includes specific targeted methods with the direct use of medical staff and peers can produce behavioural changes that lead to health benefit.”

About theviewfromseven
A lone wolf and a bit of a contrarian who sometimes has something to share.

2 Responses to Sex still a touchy subject in some quarters

  1. Sarah says:

    Hi I think this is a fantastic blog, keep up the good work…

  2. This is 2009 and to talk about sex is still taboo in some places. How absurd is that? It’s sex people!! The vast majority does it. If we didn’t then we wouldn’t be here. It’s really not that big of a deal to teach it to kids in school. Most of this taboo around the topic of sex stems from centuries of religious nutjobs making it seem “bad” to talk about. Absolutely absurd.

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