Episode 85: How We Teach Sex

By law, all primary school students in the Netherlands must receive some form of sexuality education. The system allows for flexibility in how it’s taught. But it must address certain core principles — among them, sexual diversity and sexual assertiveness. That means encouraging respect for all sexual preferences and helping students develop skills to protect against sexual coercion, intimidation and abuse. The underlying principle is straightforward: Sexual development is a normal process that all young people experience, and they have the right to frank, trustworthy information on the subject.
— Saskia de Melker, PBS Newshour, May 27, 2015

Without question, sex plays a huge role in our biological, sociological and personal lives. Some treat it with hesitation, others with curiosity and delight and still others find sex to be taboo and unworthy of discussion. But everyone has the right to understand both their sexual identities and the role sex plays in our society. Given its importance, we wanted to examine how it is taught, both in our country and elsewhere. In our conversation, we tackle some of our biases and linguistic choices when talking about sex, as well as some of the dangers of avoiding the topic in conversation with children and young adults. Not only is the issue significant, it is also highly controversial and as always, we welcome alternative perspectives.