Disastrous effect

I READ that it is on the wish list to have more sex clinics in schools.

I READ that it is on the 'wish list' to have more sex clinics in schools.

This is part of the 'no worries' programme and sexual health education in North Somerset.

I was a teacher at Backwell Comprehensive back in the 70s and part of my work then was to teach about sex. Sex education has been taught for a long time in our schools. The message of 'safe sex' has been around for decades, and condoms are available to our young people either free or in shops and clinics. Over 20 years ago when I was newly married I was at a contraceptive clinic in Weston hospital for advice, and there were teens of about 14 or so, also waiting to be seen.

For a long time, teens have had access to condoms, the morning after pill and abortions. How successful has this massive effort been? Do we see sexual health? Can our teens really say 'No worries'?

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No, it has in fact been the opposite. I believe that pushing sex and contraceptives and this false message that sex can be safe has had the disastrous effect of increasing sexual activity.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are increasing at epidemic levels. Abortions continue to rise. And we are not seeing the rates of teenage pregnancies decreasing as was hoped, even though the morning after pill and abortions are terminating some of these unwanted pregnancies.

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What concerns me is that if schools introduce sexual health clinics, it will put even more pressure on young people to feel that being sexually active is expected of them. People in authority keep on providing contraceptive advice and resources, so obviously they must be expecting young people to be having sex.

We need to remember that the youngsters in our local secondary schools are aged 11 to 16. Shouldn't they be encouraged to use those years in more appropriate ways? They are far too young to be aware of the commitment that a relationship needs. Too many of our youngsters are experiencing depression and mental health problems because of broken hearts. Having sex, then being rejected, or having casual sex, can be emotionally damaging. Having an abortion can leave long-term emotional damage.

Instead of teaching so much about sex and contraceptives, we should be teaching about good character, expecting the best of yourself, having self-respect and respect for others, and - dare I say it - teaching good morals.

The words 'morals' and 'character' seem to be disappearing from our vocabulary with tragic results. I feel very sorry for the youngsters growing up today. They are immersed in a society that says, if it feels good, do it. We only have to look around to see the unhappy results.

Sex is something to be enjoyed, but not while you are far too young and will end up getting hurt. Find someone who has a good character and who will commit to you for a lifetime. In the meantime, enjoy and pursue all the good things that the teenage years can bring.


Cornwallis Avenue


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