It’s not Epic Youth that’s warping kids’ views on sex
A high school near Melbourne has been heavily criticised for allowing Christian group Epic Youth to distribute its Science and Facts pamphlet among pupils. Science and Facts advises against hugging for more than 20 seconds and compares girls who have sex to ‘tape that loses its stickiness’. The school is now being investigated for being ‘totally out of step with department approaches to sexuality and relationships education’.
But is Epic Youth’s pamphlet really so out of keeping with government policy? Australia’s Department of Education and Training, much like the UK’s Department for Education, would like to pretend its regulations on sex ed are progressive, but in fact the growth of personal health and social education (PHSE) is one of the most troubling aspects of education today. So, yes, the pamphlets distributed by Epic Youth were outdated, factually incorrect and gross, arguing that sex cheapens girls. But official, government-backed sex ed is no less intrusive or hectoring.
In the UK, for example, sex-ed classes include instructions on how to have ‘relationships’, and dictate what kind of sexual interaction is acceptable. No longer satisfied with a simple anatomical lesson, schools now actually want to show kids how to get it on. And that’s not all. Boys are now being warned about their rapist tendencies in consent classes, and girls are being told to fear any man who smiles at them. The official fearmongering around sex is a far better advert for celibacy than Epic Youth’s weird pamphlet.
Sex is by and large something you learn on the job – aside from the biological consequences of doing it, the only thing we need to teach kids is that it is illegal before 16 and, if we catch them doing it in school, there will be hell to pay. All the other gory details are soaked up by kids through classroom rumours, awkward conversations with parents, and staying up to watch (and be disappointed by) Sex and the City. Government officials and feminists claiming religious groups like Epic Youth warp children’s sexuality are pots calling the kettle black. After all, is telling girls that sex is dirty any more warped than telling girls that they’re in constant danger of being raped? So, let’s teach kids about the birds and the bees. But any more than that is to push ramped-up adult anxieties on to children. Sex-ed teachers, leave those kids alone.
Ella Whelan is staff writer at spiked.