By: The Queen Father
No, I’m not referring to any kind of outdoor pursuit in my title, even because I am a very indoor-kinda-guy, not to mention the British weather allowing very little to countryside frolicking, unless you are a duck…
No, I was referring to recent news of public outrage at the material just approved to be used to teach sexual education to children as young as five here in the UK.
Said material (you have a preview here below…) features a series of cartoons illustrating in a ‘child friendly’ way, what really happens in the sack between mummy and daddy (when they have the time and have worked through the boredom of being married to each other for 20 years).
Sarcasm aside, it made me chuckle like an idiot, the sight of “Ways mummies and daddies fit together” as in “Ways in which mummies and daddies can have sex.”
The ensuing cartoons feature a couple lifted by helium balloons whilst mummy is riding daddy ‘bucking-bronco-style’; daddy does not look very impressed by the stunt, but mummy is having a blast!
In another sketch, the two ‘athletes’ are engaged in a banging intercourse, with mummy always on top, on a space-hopper… Which reminds me, I might want to buy one at some point.
Yes for my son.
Obviously, the creators of this material were not beating around the bush. Sex– it’s what it is, no storks, birds and bees, eels and caves… Just two people engaging in a sexual act.
As it’s children we are talking to, for good measure, let’s throw in balloons, and space hoppers, and teddy bears…
And here the things get a little disturbing for some.
How do you explain sex to a child in a way that is ‘purified’ from all the ‘XXX’ connotations it obviously possesses?
I mean, supposing that you would want to, how do you explain to a child what an orgasm feels like?
Yes! They have even covered this topic (and oral sex, anal intercourse and masturbation).
They resorted to describing orgasm as a “sort of tickling that starts in your tummy and spreads all over your body” –an explanation that has been duly completed by a drawing of a baby being tickled on the tummy with a feather by another little girl.
Another ‘gem’ was the cartoon of a man and a woman in bed with the description “As they cuddled, your dad’s penis moved gently inside your mum’s vagina and the sperm flowed out…”
Even the explanation of terms like ‘masturbation’ or ‘prostitute’ had me a little thrown.
Please don’t think of me as a prude.
I really am not.
But, before formulating an opinion on the matter, I had to sit back for a while and mumble over the lot.
I came to the conclusion that the uneasiness many of us experience with the subject is originating from OUR OWN relationship with sex and sexuality, and had nothing to do with the idea of a young child being explained what masturbation is. I mean, a lot of grown up individuals out there even have a problem admitting that they masturbate. (And THEY DO!!!) God forbid having to describe that to a child…. Your child!
You get me?
I don’t have a warped idea about what sex and sexuality are, but I, and many like me, have to consider the personal growing process that allowed me to reach and fully mature my sexual identity.
I cannot prescind from my own sexual education and experience when faced with the task of having to ‘teach’ something like ‘the facts of life’.
All the uneasiness perhaps originates from being raised a Catholic, in a country (Italy) that still relegates sex and sexuality to the realm of the unspoken, following a strong influence of the church in all such matters and a society which is still largely blind to the importance of sexual education for children, unconsciously relying on the most powerful contraceptives they think they have: fear and sin.
Fear of contracting diseases, fear of accidental pregnancies, fear of sinning in front of God, fear of being the only teenage whore of your class who lost her virginity at 15, fear of going blind for masturbating. Bless the church, the ignorance, and the sexism.
These three once powerful forces at work in society are no longer enough to keep the lid on a tsunami of teenage hormones.
So, unfortunately, with youngsters deserting more and more church-pews on Sunday in favor of bars, clubs, and virtual chat-rooms, the rise of teenage pregnancies and misinformation about STDs are rife.
I’m not even going to preach about the idiocy of relying on religion-taught morals to keep your children safe. I said it before: if you rely on religion to keep your kids on the ‘straight and narrow’, then you are a failure as parents.
But let’s move on.
Here in the UK for example, we have the second highest number of teenage pregnancies in Europe. Not bad for such a progressive and forward-thinking country uh? So, what does it all come down to?
Wether to avoid embarrassment at all costs, or out of the desire to keep our little ones pure and innocent for as long as possible, we are in fact failing our children, ladies and gentlemen.
This is what it’s coming down to.
Our uneasiness with the subject of “sex” is leaving our kids at the mercy of whatever institution grows the balls to say “You know what? Someone needs to tell it like it is!” and I applaud this courage.
I call it courage because, in spite of having a huge rate of teenage pregnancies and a rise in STDs among youngsters in the UK, so far every initiative aimed at changing this sad statistics is met with disdain, shock, even public outrage.
And yet they try. Courageously.
The kids themselves are lamenting an inadequacy of information regarding sexuality, safe sexual behavior and STDs.
Obviously someone is not doing their job, and I think it’s us.
I do admit, certain initiatives should not prevaricate the right every parent has over deciding what a child should or should not know.
I think that, in the aftermath of the release of this new educational material, many parents out there felt ‘cheated out’ of their right to choose what teachings to expose their children to.
Or perhaps we only like to moan because it’s easier to point the finger at a third party when they mess up their task of educating our children.
I for one think that, maybe, it’s a bit too early to start talking about orgasms and masturbation to a five-year-old. I don’t believe that a five-year-old needs to know SO MUCH about sex.
I personally would limit the explaining to how babies are made, and subsequently, in the following years, moving to the subject of sex as a part of life and not necessarily as a tool for procreation: sex is enjoyable, hence touching into more delicate areas like the personal gratification we get from having sex. The orgasm, the reason behind so many hours of strenuous exercise. We all want it, we all crave it. This deserves to be explained. As much as the consequent behavioral patterns of all those that follow their dicks around chasing the next orgasm and nothing more.
Again, I am not recriminating or moralizing, I used to be free and single as well once upon a time, and I have also been fairly adventurous at times, but ALWAYS safe and smart about it.
Sex is fun.
Denying this is like telling your children that Jesus died of pneumonia.
What we must stress is the responsibility that comes with such ‘fun’. That changes everything.
See? Once I admitted to myself that sex is something I’d rather do than talk about in an auditorium, everything fell into place in my head.
Even the freaky couple shagging on the space-hopper.
The bottom line is that there is not an easy way to describe or teach or illustrate sex and sexuality to our kids, and by throwing in bubbles and party-hats, it won’t stop you from feeling ill at ease with the task of having to tell your 5-year-old what an orgasm feels like.
A tactful honesty is definitely recommended, but you will reach the point of having to call an orgasm an ‘orgasm’, and masturbation ‘masturbation’, wether you turn it into a Disney movie or not.
How comfortable are we with that?
In fact, perhaps those drawings were not designed to appeal to children, but to make the parents feel more comfortable.
Maybe WE need to be re-educated out of the shame?
Whatever the case may be, I am all for a fair vote, let’s vote to decide wether to have a compulsory realistic and fair sexual education in schools or not, but should we go for the second option? Let’s make it a personal responsibility of each of us to give as much clear, fair, and unbiased information about sex and sexuality to our children. After all, if, in years to come, our kids end up fooling around, it will most certainly involve another peer.
Would you want that peer to be of the misinformed sort?
Didn’t think so.
Let’s not blow the chance of freeing sex and sexuality from the grips of ignorance, bigotry, and church-morality for our children.
Let’s give them the tools to lead a happy and fulfilling (sexual) life.
Showing indignation towards who’s trying to do this on our behalf just won’t cut it.
Ok, I’m off to get that space-hopper now and…How many helium balloons do you think we will need to lift off the ground?
The Queen Father’s real name is Marco Platti. He is a 36-year-old Italian guy with a fashion background.
He married his partner of 11 years, Steven, in 2004. Since becoming a dad in 2009, he ditched his Gucci suit in favor of a spew-covered tracksuit. He is now a writer, blogger, and a stay-at-home parent. Find his award-winning blog on www.thequeenfather.com