There are few subjects more personal, and more political, than sex. Sex education, as it’s taught in school, has always been a source of controversy, and amongst the pupils subjected to it, a great deal of embarrassment as well.
But while national contexts may differ, it is perhaps the inadequacy of sex education that emerges as its most defining trait. It is often heteronormative in its assumptions; overly biological in approach. Many young people emerge from formal sex education knowing how to put a condom on a banana, but without a full understanding of what constitutes consent.
In March 2017, the UK government ruled that by September 2020, sex and relationship education will be compulsory. But big question marks remain over what it will look like in practice.
Joining us this month to discuss how both schools and society could benefit from a radical and inclusive approach to sex education, are:
Natalie Fiennes, author of Behind Closed Doors: Sex Education Transformed,
Lydia Hughes, a trade union organiser,
and Bryony Walker, a social justice activist involved in the Level Up campaign to change the UK curriculum around consent.
A list of organisations offering support relating to a number of the issues discussed in this month’s episode can be found here.