Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Sex Education - Good or Bad??

Today, in the GDN, there is an article about teaching children sex education. I completely agree w/ this and believe it should be mandatory in schools. If you haven't read the article, please do, and then see my comments below.

Sex education 'a child's right'
By Begena George

CHILDREN's right to sex education was highlighted yesterday at a talk show organised by the voluntary group Helpline at the Carlton Hotel, Adliya. The event aimed to break the silence about sex and build a bridge between young people, adults and professionals.

"It is widely accepted that young people have a right to sex education because it is a means they can protect themselves against abuse, exploitation, unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and Aids," said Helpline spokeswoman Mariam George.

"Young people can be exposed to a wide range of attitudes and beliefs in relation to sex and sexuality which sometimes appear contradictory and confusing.

"Owing to Bahrain being an Islamic country, sex and sexuality are sensitive subjects and cultural influences restrict open discussions between parents and children.

"However, young people need to understand the moral and cultural framework that binds sex and sexuality."

Present at the function were Helpline volunteers and a panel of professionals who led the discussions.

They included consultant family physician and National Aids Committee head Dr Somaya Al Jowder, American Mission Hospital dermatologist and consultant for STD Dr Bhartendu Mehta, Arabian Gulf University professor Dr Ahmed Abdul Ghaffar Al Garf and freelancing counsellor Alison Dunkley.

"Sometimes it can be difficult for adults to know when to raise issues on sex," said Ms George.

"However, the important thing is to maintain an open relationship with children which provides them with opportunities to ask questions when they have them."

"Parents can also be proactive and engage young people in discussions about sex, sexuality and relationships."

Volunteers Jiju Varghese and Manzoor Moideen were the moderator and event co-ordinator of the talk show that was attended by around 150 people.

Helpline is open to all nationalities to provide friendship, guidance and referral to people in distress by listening, empathising, caring and accepting.

Correspondence with the group volunteers on any specific issues or sharing of thoughts can be sent to helplinebah@yahoo.com, which will be kept confidential.

I ask this question pertaining to this particular sentence in the article ("Owing to Bahrain being an Islamic country, sex and sexuality are sensitive subjects and cultural influences restrict open discussions between parents and children.).... WHY is talking about sex restricted between the parent and child????? WHY WHY WHY??

Of course it is a sensitive subject but why, because of cultural influences, is it restricted? This is something that boggles my mind and I'm obviously in the dark about this taboo, maybe because I wasn't raised here. It's not like a child doesn't see sexual situations on television - watch any Egyptian movie and you'll see tons of ppl in sexual situations... watch an Arabic soap opera and you're thrown right in the middle of sexual situations... watch any music video and sex hits you in the face... so... why aren't parents talking about it? They allow their children to watch this stuff on TV, right? I know I see children watching this stuff.... but shhhhhh... hahahah, let's just laugh and pretend it doesn't exist.

I guess it would be easier to let them learn the hard way, hmmmm? Sexual molestation is on the rise in Bahrain... you read about it all the time in the paper, and that doesn't even take into account all the things that happen that aren't reported. Wouldn't it be wise to teach your child the fundamentals of life, including what is wrong and right about sex. I would think that teaching your child, at a healthy age, about sexual predators would be highly beneficial. oh gosh... but maybe if you talked about sex then your daughter might want to go out and have sex w/ her boyfriend or, even worse, a girl (and yes, it does happen). Let us not forget that ppl are having sex in this country every day, they're having affairs every day, they're involved in homosexual relationships every day, children are being molested..... no matter if you're not talking about it... it is still happening.

We had Sex Ed in the 6th grade, although we were taught about our female issues in the 4th. In the 6th grade, the classroom had both boys and girl in it. Oh yeah, it was embarrassing, let me tell ya, but... it answered a LOT of questions. There was laughing and giggles in the room, but everyone paid attention. I think it's very important to do this. Not that it will stop anything from happening, but at least, the child is informed. If the parent isn't going to discuss it or CAN'T... then someone needs to get this out in the open.


Alfanan said...

This is what this whole culture is based upon, deception and hypocrisy. I was raised here, and talking about sex with my parents when I was younger was just out of the question.

It boggles the mind to see some parents blow off such serious issues, like sex education. Issues like this should be talked about in open, honest, and informative conversations with the children. They see it everywhere, everyday. So not talk about it?

Yah.. Let's just NOT talk about it, and make it such a taboo that when a boy reaches puberty, he'd go out and sleep with prostitutes or, for a girl, have premarital sex. What's the big deal, right? The guy can grow up and get married regardless, and the girl… well, they have operation nowadays to "fix" such problems. It's crazy.

Mahmood Al-Yousif said...

Last Friday, Arif (my son) and I were left alone in the house while the girls went out. We pottered in the garden a bit, did some work, then decided to jump in the pool. It was at that time that I realised that we were completely alone in the house! I suggested that we both celebrate and call some hookers over to have some fun...

Arif sniggered, then completely objected going into the Aids shpeil.

I suggested that's why God invented condoms, you know. He then raised moral objections.

I said, buy hey kid, I'LL pay! He told me to save that money so that I can buy him a dirt bike when he passes all his exams soon...

Kids these days...


Ingrid said...

But tooners, that is why you have movies. Did you not learn a few more interesting things that you saw on the silver screen? lol
We had a biology class (15yr) on conception (human)and even had a few babies in different stages on 'water' as it is called in Dutch. The teacher was a very cranky serious kinda guy and at the beginning of the class, he said, if anyone dare's to joke around, he's OUT of the class. Also, don't think too much about the sadness of these babies.
Nothing beats learning sex ed from a cranky teacher.

Anonymous said...

I'm 21 years old and never EVER talked about it to any of my parents. If you came to me a few years ago and asked me about sex I would give you a blank face. I absolutely had no idea about it and I was so naive. It was an embarassing subject to even mention to my friends. That is until i got a bit older and started talking about it to my friends. None of them ever talked about it to their parents too. Most of what they know is from magazines and i don't think that is enough! It's really sad that this is happening in our culture because it's such an important issue and shouldnt be left until you're 19 or 20 years old to find about. I'm really glad this is starting to change, maybe then i can start talking to my mom about it!

Anonymous said...

I'm 21 years old and never EVER talked about it to my parents. If you came to me a few years ago and asked me about it, I would just give you a blank face. I had no idea about it and was so naïve. It was embarrassing even mentioning it to my friends. The word "***" was so hard for me to say and still is because of the taboo engraved in my head. That changed when I got a bit older and felt comfortable talking about it to my friends, who also had none of their parents talking to them about it. All what they knew came from magazines which surely is not enough! It's really sad that this is happening in our culture because this is such an important issue and every kid deserves to be educated about it. It's wrong for someone to start learning when they're 19 or 20, its just too late. I'm glad this is starting to change, maybe then when I'm 23 or 24 I can start talking to my mom!

tooners said...


i hope that your mom will talk to you about it when the time comes. i do believe that the subject should have been approached w/ you years ago, but that's my opinion.

i don't understand the logic behind "not" talking about sex in this culture. it's so important for so many different reasons. my mom didn't talk to me about it either. i learned from sex education in school, but not tons of specifics or anything - the basics pretty much, and then me and friends discussed things too.

i think it's important for people to know all the can possibly know. and i agree, learning from a magazine isn't good. a magazine is so one-sided usually and it doesn't give credible information sometimes - at least not in English magazines. don't know about the Arabic ones.

there seems to be tons of things that ppl don't teach their kids here. it's a shame because knowledge is power. sometimes it's not good to be so naive... you know?

tooners said...

anon, i was thinking about your post lastnight and i wanted to tell you that the word "sex" isn't always meant in a bad way. you can use that word to explain what "sex" you are... male or female. it doesn't always refer to the actual act. so... it isn't always a 'bad' word.... maybe that'll make it easier for you to say. :) smiles at you!

Reeshiez said...

I'm not sure how sex education is in public schools in bahrain. However I went to Bayan school and we learned about changes that we go through during puberty during 5th grade and we also learned about the reproductive process but not in detail. Our parents had to sign a letter allowing us to attend the class. Most parents allowed their children to.

In either 8th or 9th grade we had sex education in biology class. We learned about the reproductive process in detail and about birth control. I believe my cousin did too and she went to public school. Also in 8th or 9th grade we learned several islamic rulings on sex in religion class and I believe we had an entire chapter called al-jins (sex) in 10th, 11th or 12th grade. What we didn't have though is education regarding the emotional aspects of sex, and what to do if someone is pressuring us to have sex. We also didn't learn about rape, child molestation etc. It was very clinical and dry.