Irish Education: Sex, lies and sticky tape
You know, this blog was never supposed to be just about the Irish education system. It really wasn’t. After I posted the last installment I thought I’d take a break from the subject, maybe share some great one-pot recipes (a must for busy parents) or perhaps discuss the art of nap-time. Alas, it was not to be. It seems every time I get out, the hairy-knuckled hand of Ireland’s past reaches forth to drag me back in.
Take these recent stories from The Journal:
Students taped together by wrists in sex education talk by Catholic group
Teens told by Pure in Heart that condoms fail one in six times
Oh well, I guess the recipes will have to wait. Just take a look at a few examples of what is being taught to Irish kids.
“Towards the end of the talk four girls and one guy were asked to ‘volunteer’ to come up to the front,” they said. “A piece of Sellotape was put around the wrists of one of the girls and the guy.”
The girl was in a sexual relationship with the guy. But they break up. This was demonstrated by one of the speakers ripping the Sellotape off their wrists [snip]
This was supposed to demonstrate the effect of having sex before marriage. The Sellotape collects hair and is no longer useful.
Because, you know, vaginas are like sticky tape and if you have sex, then, erm, you can’t use them to seal envelopes or…stuff. Huh?
As part of a different game during the talk teens were asked to roll a large dice and, one student said they were essentially told that every time someone rolled a six, it symbolised having a baby, as “condoms fail one in six times”. [snip]
When one of these students questioned the Pure in Heart speakers on the issue, they were disciplined by a teacher for “disrespecting a visitor to the school”.
So, challenging authority = disrespectful, using a position of authority to lie to kids = not disrespectful. Okay? Got it? Let’s move on.
Two former sixth-year students at the school said they were under the impression that the retreat, organised by an adult from their school, would involve a discussion about charity work and that was why they volunteered to attend.
“They began suggesting that vasopressin and oxytocin were magical hormones released once in a person’s life – during the first time they have sex,” one student explained. “They used this to tell us that having lost our virginity we would find it difficult or nigh on impossible to formalise emotional ties with our eventual wife.”
So, it seems the 1950’s are still alive and well in the Sex Education classes of Ireland’s schools. Premarital and non-heterosexual intercourse is being portrayed by these church affiliated groups as an act of loss, as something that reduces your basic worth as a human being. Now what I’m about to reveal may shock some of you, so if you have any pearls nearby, prepare to clutch them. When I married at the age of 27, I was not a virgin and neither was my wife. I know, I know. No doubt many of my readers have now fallen from their chairs and are now gazing up from the floor with vacant eyes, whispering “The horror…the horror!”, but there you have it. Somehow, we were able to overcome our mutual disgust at the other’s filthy ways and pretend to be emotionally secure adults who loved and respected each other. It’s a battle, let me tell you.
But let’s be serious for a moment. The fact that I’m not the only man my wife has ever been with did not lessen what an amazballs person she is or how lucky I feel to have made a family with her. The fact that not all of her partners were men is similarly of no concern to me. I intend to be completely open about this fact to my children when they ask. I’m not going to create disgustingly misogynistic or homophobic criteria of purity as a means of shaming them into compliance. I’m not going to lie to them about the efficacy of contraceptives in order to hold pregnancy over them like some fetus of Damacles waiting to drop in their laps and force parenthood on them. Personally, by the time my children’s schools get around to this I hope we’ll have taught them enough to be able to explain to their peers exactly why lessons like those listed above are utter bullshit.
If you want help in answering your kids questions about sex, or wish to find out more about how to approach the subject, then a good place to start is Planned Parenthood. No guilt, no agenda, just accurate information presented so that you and your child can approach the subject in an enlightening and mature way. You can also check out what my fellow Grounded Parents have to say on the matters of sex and sexuality here.
Okay, next time, I’m posting a recipe (fingers crossed).[Note: I had my wife proof read this for me and when she got to the examples being listed she said, “If this happens with our kids, Mama Bear gonna throw down”. Damn I love this woman. 😀 ]
While Planned Parenthood is a great place for good sex education (for kids and people of any age) I also want to recommend Scarlet Teen at http://www.scarleteen.com/ They’re in some funding trouble right now and it’s important that anyone who can try to help out with that. But anyway, they are a great source for good info aimed at teens (and to some degree pre-teens too) and for parents seeking that information for their kids. Unlike Planned Parenthood, they’re a little better about discussing pleasure and emotional issues, rather than just STI and pregnancy prevention. I LOVE PP, but ST has a lot MORE info.
I second the recommendation for Scarleteen!
I lived in Ireland for a year as a student. My Irish fellow students did not seem very different from German students. They didn’t only drink, as was to be expected, they also fucked. Even gay people existed (although they were pretty closeted)
Another thing that existed was rape and sexual assault. The forst lesson I got on campus was “how not to be raped” and “these are the things you must not do because you are a woman”.
Also, 1 in 6? That would actually mean that condoms would increase your likelyhood to get pregnant over not using any contraception at all.