That is the last thing a parent wants. “I don’t actually feel comfortable with the idea that my daughters would learn about sex and what a healthy relationship looks like from anyone other than me,” says Denise* a mum to two girls. “There’s a lot of content out there that objectifies women or disrespects them,” she adds. “That’s not how I want my daughters to understand their sexual pleasure.”
A survey conducted by AWARE, a non-profit organisation focused on gender equality, and Blackbox Research indicated that most parents agreed that they would be the best people to impart sex education to their children. However, many admitted they held back because they were either embarrassed or lacked the confidence to broach the topic, and were afraid that having the conversation would encourage their children to engage in sex at an inappropriate age.
When asked what topics they would like schools to cover in Sex Education classes, 86 per cent among the 564 respondents of the survey ranked sexual consent and sexual self-protection as their highest priority. However, it’s noted that currently, these topics are taught to promote abstinence. Doing so, says Shailey Hingorani, Head of Research and Advocacy at AWARE, fails to take into consideration elements like peer pressure and hormonal changes.
What makes this lack of proper sex education as children even worse, is that as grown-ups, these children do not understand their own sexuality, or sexual enjoyment. “A good number of my clients have not seen their vulva before. There is a lot of shame and shyness involved when I ask them to,” adds Dr. Tan. She has also seen men married for decades who do not know how to pleasure their wives.