7-Year-Olds Learning About Masturbation? Sounds Good to Me!

Sasha Brown-Worsham

Primary schools in the UK are about to get a version of sex education at a very young age that is different than anything we're used to in the US. They will learn where babies come from in pretty honest terms, but they will also learn about masturbation, homosexuality, and different positions. All of this is approved for age 7 and above.

I say, sign me up!

This is all a bit reminiscent of the Northwestern University sex scandal, only this is about much younger children. Conservatives in the UK are, predictably, pretty upset about the literature, according to The Daily Mail. Norman Wells of the Family Education Trust said:

Introducing sex education at an early age runs the risk of breaking down children’s natural sense of reserve. Far from being a hindrance, children’s natural inhibitions and sense of modesty in talking about sexual matters are healthy and provide a necessary safeguard against both sexual abuse and casual attitudes towards sexual intimacy later on.

Hmmm ... maybe. But there is also research that supports the opposite. The more children know about sex, the less they want to experiment and the more likely they will be able to protect themselves if they do.

Of course, 7-year-olds are a bit on the young side for this, but the more information they have to start, the better. I'm not sure why we're all so afraid to teach them about sex. People will be offended, but I'm on board. The more kids know, the less they mess up.

Not only is this supported by many studies, I also know this from personal experience. I had a fairly explicit book and very open parents and understood a lot about sex and sexuality from a young age. I think this helped demythologize it, made me less likely to laugh during sex ed, helped me wait a really long time to have sex for the first time (because I knew about other ways to feel sexual that were less risky), and made me a lot more careful once I did start having sex.

I plan to do the same with my own children. Children are curious and by the age of 5, many are already asking these questions. There is no reason to push an agenda on them, but no reason to hold back either once they start asking. If you want to avoid risky sexual behavior in teens, start teaching them while they are young.

Are you offended by this lesson?


Image via sidewalk flying/Flickr

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