Switzerland 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