Our very own Anne was featured in the Guardian’s “Let’s talk about sex: why do we need good sex education?” Global Development monthly podcast posted on their website on June 15th. The podcast highlighted that sex education has become more important than ever where young people make up 1.8 billion of the world’s population.
The contributors highlight that thus far, sex-talk has consisted of the biological aspects and dangers of having sex. Liz Ford, the reporter and presenter of the podcast, states “questions about whether children and young people should receive sex education… are still hotly debated the world over.”
Many of the contributors, including Anne, agreed that sex education is a lifetime process. Remy Shawa from Sonke Gender Justice relays a story in the podcast that during an AIDS conference in Cape Town, South Africa, 2013 “an older woman [stood] up and [said], ‘Look, I am interested in talking about the choices for my children but I don’t even know what to talk about because I don’t understand my own sexuality.’” It was made clear by other contributors of the podcast that this example is the same for many adults and youths alike in much of the world.
In response to how this issue can be addressed Anne, our pleasure guru, highlights that people have sex for pleasure and the public health world has got to catch up. She says, “We have to wake up to the fact that young people are now… have got access to the internet, which is a massive change from 10, 20 years ago, and I think the public health world has got its head in the sand and we might regret this in 10 years.” She goes further to say that the Pleasure Project is “really about bridging between the pleasure world and the world of public health… our mission is to ensure that people include pleasure in sex education messages; or putting the sexy into safer sex. And also putting the safe into erotic.”
We say how unsafe sex should be at the top of the agenda for governments and global institutions. Anne highlights that in a Lancet report “unsafe sex is the highest risk factor for death and disease for young women and the second highest for young men,” and we have a global responsibility to address this. Anne makes a strong statement when she says that the World Bank ought not to “just think about increasing GDP or increasing incomes but thinking about, for what? I’ll die a happy woman when I see the World Bank actually measuring women’s pleasure or women’s wellbeing as an ultimate indicator of their investments rather than the income of populations.”
Another key point made in the podcast… It’s cheaper to educate young people on sex than it is to pay for all the impacts that come from unsafe sex. As Doortje Braeken from IPPF says, “We know from countries like Estonia where they invest in comprehensive sex education together with access to services… the abortion rate, the HIV rate, the STI rate went down. And if you then calculate it, it becomes extremely cost effective… But it’s a difficult thing to sell.”
There is a taste of this tantalizing soundbite from this well-produced and engaging podcast by the Guardian. To hear it pleasurably in full, click on the following link, http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/audio/2016/jun/15/lets-talk-about-sex-why-do-we-need-good-sex-education-podcast.