The joy of sex education

I’m an old-fashioned girl at heart. I would have liked to be a young woman in the 1940s (rampant sexism and lack of Facebook aside). All of those tea dresses and tea dances and cups of tea instead of today’s vomity alcopops.

In the 1940s, people went courting, which was all sweet and innocent. You had to know somebody super well before you’d let them give you a peck on the cheek and even then you needed to let them do that in front of all of your neighbours so that they could see exactly what was going on.

Had the good people of 1940s Islington read this week’s yuckiest, stickiest news story, they would choked on their rationed Spam sandwiches. Apparently, Islington has the fifth highest rate of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in London. This is itchy at best and depressing at worst.

Our highest infection offenders are chlamydia, which appears to be the young trendster’s STI du jour, and syphilis, which has been popular throughout the ages with sailors, ladies of the night and certain members of the Royal Family.

One thing’s for sure, this rise in STIs is not the result of Islington’s singletons getting to know each other over a chaste cup of Rosie Lee whilst listening to Vera Lynn. Apart from the obvious cause – people behaving like slutfishes and ‘forgetting’ to use protection - the borough’s health workers also put the rise down to ignorance.

Apparently, many people think that if their kids get sex education at school, they’ll automatically go off and hump like bunnies with ten different people every week. Ergo, if they don’t get sex education, they’ll stay at home knitting. So they ban them from sex ed.

Well, if you’re one of these hapless parents, I have news for you. Your kids are very likely to do the humping bunny thing whether you let them have sex ed or not. The only difference is that, if they have sex ed, they’ll be taught about precautions and how to protect themselves – and others – from horrible diseases.

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Actually, if you encourage kids to talk openly and frankly about sex, you also remove the mystique and the sense that it’s something wrong – factors that often propel teens to experiment when they might otherwise be happy to take things a bit more slowly. And if they really can’t wait, at least they’ll stick a rubber on.