Why we welcome SRE onto the curriculum

‘For a generation used to learning online the boundaries between pornography and real life relationships can become blurred.’

This can lead to young people experiencing anxiety about what is considered ‘normal’ sexual behaviour, having unrealistic expectations of what a naked body should look like, including their own, and little concept of the deep emotions, positive and negative, that having a sexual relationship can provoke. Learning from porn leaves questions unanswered and urban myths thriving in an online world so far largely unchallenged by teachers and parents.

‘We wouldn’t want our children to learn about drugs from watching people taking them so why are we leaving a large part of sex education to pornography?’

Whilst the jury is still out on the harmful effects of early exposure to pornography on adult relationships, UK based charity Safety Net claims evidence that pornography has a detrimental impact on children and young people, including premature sexualisation, negative body image and unhealthy notions about relationships[1].

So at a time when pornography is more accessible than ever, I think there is a definite need for high quality RSE, which is why  I supported the campaign to make RSE compulsory in all schools. Not just so that young people know the mechanics of reproduction, but learn about healthy relationships too. To be delivered by highly trained staff, including youth workers, using engaging resources, the new curriculum must be inclusive of all young people regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. Providing high quality relationship and sex education is a huge responsibility, and we need to get it right