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Sex ed, European style

How different is the western world? Pamela Druckerman's article answers this keen question in one major field: parenting. The articles shows the essential difference between American parents and European parents, especially in the matter of Sex Education. While sexual intercourse is dramatised in America, it is normalised in Europe. Contrary to what most sexologists advice, American parents try and avoid the "sex ed talk" until they feel their children are completely ready. Whereas in Europe parents have lots of age appropriate talks with their children to keep them aware. Through the article and her book, Duckerman concludes that "if you treat teenagers as if they’re responsible, they can live up to that".

 

Read an excerpt of the article written by Pamela Druckerman-

One of the many problems with parenting is that kids keep changing. Just when you’re used to one stage, they zoom into another. I realized this was happening again recently, when my 8-year-old asked me about babies. She knows they grow in a mother’s belly, but how do they get in there to begin with? I wasn’t sure how much to reveal, so I stalled. ‘‘I’ll tell you soon,’’ I said, adding, ‘‘it involves penises.’’ I didn’t want to shock her or shatter her innocence. Like any good American, I’d assumed that one day (many years hence) we’d have that stilted conversation in which I’d reveal the strange mechanics of sex, and she’d tell me that she already knew all about it. Since I live in France, I decide to investigate how Europeans approach this. Do parents give their kids the birds-and-bees talk, too? Is the subject any less awkward here? Is there some savoir-faire to help me navigate this next phase and beyond? I begin my research at a Parisian science museum with an exhibition, Zizi sexuel l’expo, (its English title is Sex — Wot’s the Big Deal?) to teach 9- to 14-year-olds about sexuality. There’s advice about kissing. (Do turn your head sideways, ‘‘especially if you’ve got a big nose.’’ Don’t do the ‘‘coffee grinder,’’ where you spin your tongue in the other person’s mouth.) In the puberty section, I’m asked to identify a smell (it’s armpit) and step on a pedal that makes small white balls — representing sperm — fly out of a pretend penis. There’s also a whole section on how complicated love is. One sign explains that ‘‘loving someone sometimes makes you happy and sometimes makes you really sad. .... read more.