Thursday, 28 July 2016

Education: Sex

In school, our drugs education consisted of a parade of corpses. Sex education in early 2000s Glasgow was approached in a similarly morbid fashion. Our principal instruction came from a dragon lady, jaundiced — perhaps by experience — into the conviction that sex was men’s way of ruining women’s lives, of taking their pleasure and leaving her alone to tend a screaming cot. Sex positive, her lessons were not.

Apartheid principles applied. The separate development of men and women required knowledge of the vagaries and contours of your own anatomy only. Cloistered away from the womenfolk, our painfully self-conscious biology teacher was obliged to fumble a rebellious prophylactic around a boiling tube for the assembled boys. Observing her uncertain technique, one piped up: “You clearly haven’t got a lot of experience at that, miss.” The room choked with laughter. The poor teaching trainee, living out her nightmare, turned beetroot...

There is a stock character in literature who embodies the old fatalism. The cold solitaire, a gay stoic who lives his life untouched, unconfessed, unexpressed. Spinsterish, resigned to a lonesome fate, to unhappiness, but perversely dignified by his self-awareness and self-discipline, by self-denial and self-disgust. It is time to let this ghastly archetype rot; to let his hauntings end. If schools can help exorcise these old frustrated ghosts, so much the better.

Our world is saturated in more than enough grief. The map already tracks too many roads not taken.


The Times, part of their Time For Inclusionary Education Campaign, by Adam Tickell (Stop sniggering at the back!)

My sex education - a full half-hour - consisted of a joyless Christian showing us an artiste's impression of a man and ladies' private parts, then she got out a dry condom, and waved it about with some disgust, yet with no obvious point.

Mary Whitehouse could have done better.

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