Teenage pregnancy and sex education

12 September 2008

Attended a heated debate at Channel 4, which launched their sex education programmes this autumn. All the experts on the panel pointed out that British teenagers get the worst sex education in Europe: many parents don’t have conversations about sex with their children, many sex ed lessons in schools are patchy and ill-informed, and teenagers mostly learn about sex from their friends.

Dr Terri Apter was the most interesting and coherent speaker. Her detailed research has shown that teenager girls are less likely to have unwanted pregnancies if they have conversations about sex with their mothers: the dialogue is crucial in making daughters confident enough to talk about sex with their partners, to raise tricky issues about contraception with them. She also commented that there is a huge problem with boy’s attitudes towards sex, seeing it as they do as something to take ‘pride’ in, to feel like they have achieved a goal in accomplishing it. The activity becomes objectified, turned into a competitive game.

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