Can we imagine training young people how to drive without also instructing them in the laws of the road? Or teaching trainee surgeons how to remove an appendix without also training them in the proper indications for the procedure?
And yet when it comes to sex, an activity which, like driving and surgery, carries high risks in the wrong context, the prevailing wisdom is that education focusing primarily on the access and use of contraception will be sufficient.
We learn this week of a new GCSE sex course which allegedly will be available to children as young as 11. Nine secondary schools have apparently adopted the qualification – ‘Level One Award in Sexual Health Awareness’ – since it became available earlier this month. Another 30 are expected to follow in the coming weeks.
Topics covered include accessing advice on contraception and other sexual health services without the knowledge or consent of parents. Pupils are also told where to obtain free contraception and how to quickly obtain the morning-after pill.
A second story graphically illustrates just how good teenagers are at actually taking precautions. The headline ‘One in four young people have sex without contraception’ refers to a recent study by Marie Stopes International. 16 per cent of UK young people who admitted to unprotected sex said they did not use contraception with a new partner as they forgot, 13 per cent said their partner preferred not to use contraception and 19 per cent said they had been drunk and forgot.
Current sexual health strategies are based on three false presuppositions – that contraception is safe, that young people will actually use it and that abstinence is impossible. Perhaps this explains Britain’s burgeoning epidemic of sexually transmitted disease, unplanned pregnancy and abortion amongst young people.
By contrast the Creator’s model for sex is simple, safe and effective – save it for marriage.