Since the introduction of the new RSE Regulations, which become mandatory from September 2020, controversy has raged over the normalisation and promotion of LGBT behaviours and life-style choices in Primary Schools. Parents have justifiably complained that such teaching prematurely sexualises children and is inappropriate, as well as deeply confusing and with serious health risks. But parents of secondary aged school children are also concerned. The parent of a Year 8 child (aged 12) recently phoned VfJUK asking for help. Her child’s class, she said, had just had a sex education class teaching them all about contraception. The teacher had promised that next time she would bring in an artificial penis to show them how to put on a condom. His mother was worried because, she said, “They’re learning all about sex, but not about any of the risks. They’re not being told the full story.”
1. There are today 27 confirmed diagnosable STIs or STDs. In the 1950s we were aware of only two – syphilis and gonorrhoea. The number is rising. Some of these are incurable, and some are becoming increasingly antibiotic resistant e.g. gonorrhoea. Some are life-changing, and life-shortening (see: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/sexually-transmitted-infections-(stis)).
2. As result of early onset sexual activity, STIs amongst teenagers are now said by doctors to be at epidemic level, with the highest number of all new infections occurring in the 15-24 age group (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/sexually-transmitted-infections-stis-annual-data-tables; https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk
There is every likelihood, therefore, that a young person contracting an STI today may have the condition for life, involving a high degree of social embarrassment and long-term use of medication, carrying further – often unpleasant – side effects.
3. Condoms. It is estimated that, when used ‘perfectly’, condoms give 98% protection against pregnancy. The actual rate, taking into account user error, breakage and spillage, is closer to 86%. Children, by definition, will not be expert at fitting a condom, meaning there is a very real risk, if this method is relied on, of unplanned pregnancy.
When it comes to protection against infection, the news is even worse. When used ‘perfectly’, condoms are helpful in preventing infection transmitted through bodily fluids e.g. gonorrhoea and chlamydia. As evidence of their ‘success’, however, in 2019 there were 131,269 chlamydia diagnoses in the 15-24 age group, an increase of 2% since 2017, and 56,259 diagnoses of gonorrhoea (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/
uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/806118/hpr1919_stis-ncsp_ann18.pdf). The message that condoms provide protection is dangerously misleading.
On top of this, some STIs are not transmitted by exchange of bodily fluids at all, but by skin on skin contact, e.g herpes, or genital warts. Condoms offer no protection at all against these infections.
Children should be warned both of the risks of contracting one of these diseases, and of the long-term health implications.
4. A poll carried out by the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, published in the BMJ Journal on Sexual and Reproductive Health (https://srh.bmj.com/content/early/2019/01/03/bmjsrh-2018-200160 ), says that a sizeable number of young people – 40% of girls and 26% of boys – regret having sex too soon. Perhaps even worse, the report concluded that for a substantial proportion of young people “their transition into sexual activity (was) incompatible with positive sexual health”. In other words, increased promiscuity, combined with lack of protection, is fuelling the nation’s STI epidemic, leading to all the associated long-term health problems, including dependence on medication, infertility, and risk of premature death.
Children should be taught that there is a positive value to restraint, and to respect both themselves and others.
5. Promiscuity: The more relationships a person has, whether casual or longer term, the less capable he or she becomes of later enjoying a committed and monogamous relationship (https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201303/how-casual-sex-can-affect-our-mental-health). Should they later in life find a long-term partner, their earlier behaviour increases the risk of relationship breakdown – with all the attendant adverse effects for any children the couple might have had. This in turn has mental health implications for all involved, and is one of the reasons we are seeing the huge increase in mental illness, affecting both children and adults in society today.
Children should be taught the benefits of commitment and family.
6. A high number of sexual partners, combined with indulgence in behaviours until recently classed as taboo – e.g. oral and anal sex – also increases the risk of developing several life-threatening cancers, such as anal cancer and mouth and throat cancer, all of which have increased in the last few years. For example, since the early 1990s, anal cancer incidence rates have increased by seven-tenths (70%) in the UK, while over the last decade, they have further increased by an alarming two-fifths (40%). (https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/anal-cancer#heading-Zero). The increase is directly correlated to changes in sexual behaviour.
7. Promiscuity increases the risk of anxiety, depression, personality disorders, and substance abuse (https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/conditions/hypersexuality-sex-addiction).
8. Early onset sexual activity has led to increased reports of non-consensual sex/rape of young women, and to an overall increase in sexual abuse.
Children should be warned that promiscuity will affect their future chance of happiness. They should be told that casual sex leads to the spread of shared infection – which in turn can lead to infertility, long-term life changing conditions, and a risk of premature death.
First published by Voice for Justice UK and used with permission.