Re: Child development and readiness
In his extensive report on Sex Education research and trends, Mitchell observes that “[t]he American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry advises parents of young children that,’[p]arents should respond to the needs and curiosity level of their individual child, offering no more or less information than their child is asking for and is able to understand.’ p. 2-3.
He goes on to note that “…readiness can differ from child to child even in the same family [and that] [u]niversal provincial curriculum has limited flexibility to suit the sensitivity of each child.” p. 3.
Re: Details about the New Brunswick experience
The rationale for comprehensive sex education is ‘provide students with all of the information so they can decide what is best for themselves.’ Proponents tell us this kind of programming leads to fewer teen pregnancies and reduced STI rates. However, New Brunswick implemented this kind of curriculum in the mid 2000’s, and between 2006 and 2010 there was a 40% increase in teen pregnancies in the province.
Re: Omitting important information about brain/body development, and disease
In 2009, Dr. Miriam Grossman published the book ‘You’re teaching my child what?’ A physician exposes the lies of sex education and how they harm your child, which offered a critique of sexual health education from a medical perspective. In this interview with Peter Mitchell, she highlights some of the key concerns about comprehensive sex education.
Neurology – the brain isn’t ready
In her interview, Dr. Grossman says that recent scientific study shows that the brain area responsible for making rational decisions is not fully developed in teens. Instead, teens base decisions on emotions, not information. She states that “[teen brain] circuits aren’t complete; the wiring is unfinished…” and that scientists “…know now that teens’ poor decisions are likely due not to lack of information, but to lack of judgement. And there is only one thing that will bring that: time.” (p. 2).
Gynecology – the body isn’t ready
Dr. Grossman also explains how information about gynecology isn’t being shared with teens, and why it’s important for girls to delay having sex:
“The cervix of teen girls is covered by a layer that is only one cell thick. That area is easily penetrated by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer…¸[w]ith time, the surface is covered by cells that are 30 to 40 layers thick, and is therefore much more difficult to infect…putting all questions of morality aside, if [girls] are sexually active at a young age, they are at risk for infections that could impact their physical and emotional well-being over the course of their lives. (p. 2).
Risks of sexual behaviours aren’t being explained
Within most CSE material, anal, oral and vaginal sexual activity are treated equally and the risks associated with each behaviour are often overlooked. Grossman states, for example, that “[s]tudents are not required to be told that oral sex is associated with HPV and cancers of the throat…[that is] important, life-saving, information [which] is withheld from kids. Students are also not told that the most efficient way to transmit a sexually transmitted infection (STI) is through anal sex. And even though studies have shown that the anal sex greatly increases the risk of becoming HIV positive, the information is withheld because it’s deemed offensive to the homosexual male.
High failure rate of condoms during anal sex
In their report entitled HIV Transmission among Men Who Have Sex with Men due to Condom Failure, Remis et. al. (2014) state that “[d]espite preventive efforts, HIV incidence remains high among men who have sex with men (MSM) in industrialized countries. Condoms are an important element in prevention but, given the high frequency of condom use and their imperfect effectiveness, a substantial number and proportion of HIV transmissions occur despite condoms.”
Re: Teaching ideology instead of science
Grossman reports on how ideology is being taught instead of science, and about the disconnect between what parents feel is appropriate and what is actually taught in CSE:
“When speaking to the media, and in their material for parents, sex educators state that sex education should start at home and that parents should be the primary sex educators of children. But in material directed at kids the message is altogether different. Here’s what SIECUS says in an online booklet for kids called All About Sex. It opens with eight pages on sexual rights: ‘Every human being has
basic rights. Still, adults may say and do things that make young people feel like they don’t have rights. It’s important for you to know your rights so you can stand up for yourself when necessary.’ Then a bit later: ‘You have the right to decide how to express your sexuality at every point in your life. You can choose if and how to express your sexuality.’
Ninety per cent of parents want their kids to delay sexual behaviour, and they expect sex educators to enforce that message. Organizations like SIECUS promise to do so, but they don’t. All About Sex is a good example of what really goes on. The goal is for the young person to realize that, sure, adults may have their opinions, but kids of all ages have the right to their own ideas about sexuality, as well as the right to behave in any way they like. Nowhere in this pamphlet are kids told: we urge you to delay sexual behaviour because that’s the healthiest choice.”
Grossman concludes that organizations like Planned Parenthood and SIEECAN “…teach kids that they are sexual” from cradle to grave, that adolescence is the natural time to explore sexuality and that kids have the right to express their sexuality in whatever manner they choose. This message promotes sexual freedom, not sexual health. This is ideology, not science.”