“Playing Games: the Culture of Sex and Relationships Education in the UK” Barbara Hastings-Asatourian 19 May 2003
A quick quiz What did NATSAL 2000 survey find was the average age for first sexual intercourse? Which country in the world has the highest teenage pregnancy rate? Which country in Western Europe has the highest teenage pregnancy rate? Which country in Europe has the lowest teenage pregnancy rate? What is the overall risk of a young woman becoming pregnant after one episode of unprotected sexual intercourse
“Need” In my experience of participating in Sex Education, suitable “off the shelf” materials were in short supply. “Response” The development of Contraception Education
Extract from BMA et al • “What does effectiveness mean?Before investigating whether a sex education programme is effective, need to consider what it could realistically be expected to achieve, and how to measure this. The aims of sex education are ambitious, and include: • Enabling people to form and maintain relationships • Promoting self-esteem • Enabling control of fertility • Enabling prevention of HIV and STDs. “
Teenage Pregnancy – Live Births – International comparisons
Let’s look at Sweden as an example • Play video of Swedish teenas talking • Read “There’s more to Sweden than Abba” SEM
What are the risks? • The overall risk of pregnancy from one occasion of unprotected sex is 2-4% • Increasing to 20-30% around ovulation (Kubba’s work) • The risk of aquiring an infection through unprotected sex is higher in people with lowered resistance to infection, • Bacterial infections are largely treatable if found early enough. Viral infections are particularly hard to eradicate in some groups of people (esp stressful lifestyle) • Sex with a condom used consistently and carefully is a very effective way of preventing both infection and pregnancy (Mindel’s work) • Values of “virginity” and “abstinence until monogamous marriage” are usually promoted with exaggerations about unsubstantiated myths about sex and contraception
Evidence from the Sex Education Forum about abstinence programmesRead: “Just Say No to Abstinence Education”
Contraception Education An attempt to introduce resources which can be used in small groups, which do not demand disclosure of personal behaviour and which promote “sex” in its many forms as good and healthy, which people can choose Without fear, without guilt and without pressure Through hands on resources and resources on www.contraceptioneducation.co.uk E.G Condoms and Femidoms: the UK approach
What teachers think… “...very well received indeed by the students in year 10 and 11….Our local health visitors have also been much impressed by them. The game is by far and away the best material I have ever used with young people” (SRE teacher in BFPO school) “ The general consensus.. praise, at last a fun, relaxed and interesting tool for teaching PSD” (SRE teacher mainstream)
Letter to national press “ It is based on the premise that under-age children will indulge in sex. The makers seem oblivious of the fact that this assumption will encourage youngsters to believe under-age sex is fine - or at worst morally neutral”
The anti-Sex Education Lobby “this week saw a watershed of perversion and child abuse ...more suitable to an Anne Summers Sex Party than a class full of children” “This game is just corrupting. The idea is for children to work their way around a board using counters in the shape of different contraceptives. In any other setting an adult who asked a child to play a game like this would be arrested”
Radical Parents Groups “I was saddened to see your board game which will not help our youngsters at all as it promotes the same “safe sex” myth which has dismally failed for the past 30 years resulting in this countries depressive state of high teen pregnancy and abortion rates and spiralling STI’s”
Radical Parents Groups Complained that the game encouraged dangerous behaviour likely to result in death, breast cancer, strokes and DVT’s (e.g. the Pill) I highlighted the need for all young people to learn how to assert themselves sexually to prevent pressure, bullying and abuse One representative suggested I was “Using extreme examples” to further my cause
The Children Actand Fraser Guidelines (after Gillick) Some groups do not believe that children should have a say even in their medical treatments until they reach 18.
Thanks for listening. Let’s discuss it.