Switzerland Can Teach America a Lot About Sex Ed


classroomSwitzerland may be a neutral country, but when it comes to sex ed in schools, they're not impartial in the least. School officials in the country are receiving a lot of flack for their recent addition to the curriculum for school kids ages four to 10: The 'sex box.' Terrible name, but it's what schools are being issued to teach students sex ed. Equipped with a wooden penis and a fabric vagina, the boxes are raising quite the stir. And those aren't even the controversial contents. The school board received over 3,000 letters of complaint, but their not backing down.

They acknowledge that naming the sex educational materials a 'sex box' was probably a terrible choice, but stand by their initiative. Other than the wooden penis and cloth vagina, the box includes dolls, puzzles, books, and a teacher's manual that suggests instructors "show that contacting body parts can be pleasurable."

It also asks teachers to encourage their young students to massage one another and themselves with warm sandbags while listening to soft music. It's supposed to help kids "develop and experience their sexuality in a pleasurable way."

While it sort of sounds like they're being told to touch one another's genitals with the warm bags, I don't think that's the case -- I think it's more back and shoulder massaging. At least I hope. Going on that assumption, let's move forward.

I find there to be nothing wrong with educating kids early on about the birds and the bees. If a wooden penis and a fabric vagina will help kids understand what their private parts are and what they're used for, I'm all for it. It's a touchy subject, and no one ever really knows how to handle sex-ed, but I'm impressed with Switzerland's candid and straight-forward approach.

Whether it will help the kids or not, I don't know, but I sure hope so. The sex-ed I got in a Virginia public school was an embarrassment, if not down-right irresponsible -- for years and years I was convinced I was going to get AIDS from sexual contact and die alone. I would've much rather had the sandbags and wooden dicks in my classroom.

What do you think of the Swiss approach to sex-ed?

Photo via Editor B/Flickr


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Kelli... KelliansMom

atfter reading the other stuff posted about this ..its not what it sounds like ..they are teaching the children about sex sure and  about their sexuality and to not be embarrassed or ashamed about it  i dont see a problem with that ..i think if kids were more educated form the start we would have less teen moms and dads and std's floating around 

nonmember avatar Mike M

According to Erik Medhus (a spirit), the reason for the Norway massacre (detailed on his mom's blog) was to teach the world to be more loving and affectionate towards others, and this (the fear that many have towards this kind of sexual education) to me seems to be one example of how humanity can be improved. Children are capable of being more mature than we often give them credit for, so long as we teach them to be mature. Though if adults don't behave maturely (for example, by reacting negatively and judgmentally to subjects such as this - often without thinking much or at all about why they have such negative reactions) in the first place then children aren't likely to learn to behave maturely.

easun... easunshine

it's a bit outside my comfort zone, but I hope it works. I would love to see a follow up with these students when they hit their teen years and see if it helped things or not.

nonmember avatar blh

The fake penis and vagina...fine whatever....but the touching each other?? Um no sorry. That's sooo inapprporiate. And I honestly think FOUR is too young to know the details...and I don't really understand your reasoning that this will prevent teen pregnancy...kids are going to have sex regardless. They just need to be safe and educated about it and that does not include groping each other in school. People are going to develop and experience sexuality whether its taught in school or not lol...

L1558 L1558

Not up for it. First of all, penises aren't made of wood, and vaginas aren't made of cloth...I know it's probably used to give a larger measure of separation from the real thing, and possibly cause less hesitation, but c'mon. 

And your first paragraph's last sentence says "but their not backing down". It should be "they're". I'm going to use that as an illustration of why I think schools need to focus less on things outside the academic realm such as 4-10 year olds' sexual gratification, and more on formal trainings (language, maths, music, etc.). Just my opinion.

PonyC... PonyChaser

Thank you L1558. THANK YOU.

We live in a society that is so anxious to sexualize our children. Honestly, it's one thing for us to "demystify" childrens 'private parts', and it's a complete other thing to teach them, AT AGE FOUR, that masturbation and feeling each other up is pleasurable.

If this program was being introduced to sixth graders, I might be less horrified by it. I understand that children are physically maturing sooner (hitting puberty), and need this information. But age FOUR??? Abso-freakin-lutely NOT.

Schools should concentrate, as L1558 said, on grammar, spelling, math, science, etc. It's shameful that college graduates today can tell you anything you want to know aobut sex, but can't tell the difference between their, they're, and there. Pathetic.

bobek bobek

I grew up in Europe and even though we didn't have such "hi tech" props, we got enough sex ed in terms of protection and responsibility. We used bananas to practice putting condoms on. I went to all girl high school and to my knowledge nobody got pregnant while I was there. Basically we were told to never rely on the guy for protection. We had a condom machine in the hallway also.

bobek bobek

Big deal about typos. Proof-read your comments also then. And what does abso-freakin-lutely mean? Didn't find that in the dictionary...

1blue... 1bluemonkey

bobek, your situation and the one in question are completely different. You were in HIGH SCHOOL, and you and your peers had already experienced or were in the process of puberty.  This article is talking about small children, who, by the way, are NOT "sexual" beings.  They don't have the hormones, yet, to be driven by sexual desire like teenagers are, and if they are acting out sexually, there's something wrong.  This curricula, in my opinion, is a pedophile's dream come true.

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