A video about a sex ed show that aired on Norwegian State TV is making the rounds in the US, and ... wow is it like no sex ed show you've ever seen. Designed for children ages 8 and up, it is explicit, graphic, and bizarrely hilarious. Predictably, my fellow Americans are freaking out. (And yes, it's a bit NSFW from here on out!)
I like to think I am a pretty open person sexually, and I want my children to have plenty of information. All of it, in fact. I'd so much rather they hear it from me first than anyone else. And this country is notoriously terrible in terms of sexual education.
According to the CDC, 230,000 babies are born to teenage mothers each year, and that is probably due, in large part, to the fact that sex education in this country is notoriously sparse. In conservative schools, children are taught that "abstinence" -- a very unrealistic goal for hormonal teens -- is the best option for birth control. Needless to say, this doesn't work.
So teaching them the "birds and the bees" is largely left to the parents. However ... the first time I saw this video, I'll admit, I balked. I mean, really?! This:
It's pretty shocking, right? Especially for 8-year-olds. I gotta say, my 8-year-old son freaks out if my husband and I hug in front of him. Hug?!
Watch for yourself:
"Too much! 8-year-olds do not need to see this yet! Maybe in senior school but not at 8, if they showed this to my kid I'd be furious!" is one typical comment on the In the NOW Facebook page.
"Really?! Is this for real ... this is so wrong, kids shouldn't be subjected to that ... that's wayyy overboard and unnecessary," writes another.
"Just when you think the liberal left can't get any more depraved!"
"The reason this world is so screwed up is because parents are more involved with spreading pornography than teaching about morals. The fact that I see so many comments approving this type of behavior shows why we lived in one messed up world."
But after watching this video a few times, I got used to it. And I realized this: American kids are being taught that sex is something to fear. Even if they are being taught more than abstinence, they learn that sex can give you STDs. They learn that it can get you pregnant. They learn that if you don't want those things, you should use a condom. Maybe the best sex ed even teaches kids to slide one on a banana (oh baby!).
But nowhere in any American sex ed classes are we taught pleasure. I have always joked that masturbation should be a component of sexual education. But it's not a joke. In the end, sex can (and should) be about pleasure. About doing what feels good. And we can't teach them that young enough. It won't make them any more or less likely to do it. But it will clear the way to healthy attitudes about sex as they grow.
So, yes. These videos are graphic. But they are matter-of-fact. They are not porn. They focus on female pleasure by showing the location of the clitoris, which, let's face it, a lot of men are clueless about, and they make it fun and informative.
This is the kind of sexual education we need. It might frighten us at first, but watch it again. By the third viewing, the prude reaction dulls and you realize this is exactly what children need to know about sex.