Dan’s Online Diary 

# 1.6.05 by Dan

A tvnz.co.nz article and a nzherald.co.nz article are bemoaning the fact that teenagers just aren't getting the 'safe sex' message. Statistics show that of the teenagers surveyed, half of them are having sex, but only 44% of those having sex are using a condom. Teenagers find the 'safe-sex' message boring and are ignoring it.

Some are pointing the finger at schools, saying their sex education is inadequate, particularly in boys' schools. But really, who is to blame?

You simply cannot blame sex education in schools, nor can you blame the excruciatingly lame television campaigns run by the Ministry of Health.

The most important factor in the issue of sex education is ignored, or worse, deliberately played down. Sex education largely removes the physical act of sexual intercourse from the context of an emotional interpersonal relationship. This is why I believe that children/teenagers are ignoring the message of school- and television-based sex education; it makes them uncomfortable, uneasy, and/or 'grosses them out'. The physical act cannot be divorced from the emotional act, and children/teenagers understand that what they are being taught doesn't make sense, and is of such an intensely personal nature that they shut it out.

So why do they have sex? Surely, given my argument above, you would expect that children/teenagers would shy away from sex. But this is not the case. It is the very same emotional factors that mean children/teenagers do have sex.
Girls are desperate for the love of a man, and errantly see sex as a way of acquiring such love.
A boy desires respect - from particularly from his peers, but also from a girl/girls.
These two emotional needs are natural, and are God given. But the amount of pressure and freedom given by the media and society in general these desires are stirred up and encouraged to be used outside of the context for which they were intended - an exclusive heterosexual marriage.

So how do we effectively educate our children about sex? Parents, as Scotty has said, are responsible for the education of their children. Parents should have cultivated a strong, trusting relationship with their children, and hence are in the best position to discuss with them such an emotionally sensitive issue. Parents are also best able to demonstrate the loving marriage context in which a sexual relationship is intended.

I lay the responsibility for this nation's teenage sex problems squarely at the feet of parents.

Admittedly, today's environment is not parent-friendly. The government is seeking to move responsibility for children from parents to the state.

This is why teenage sex problems in New Zealand are increasing in parallel with the break down of the nuclear family unit.

The best thing we can do to ensure our children receive adequate and appropriate sex education is to build healthy, strong family units - showing love, respect and honour to our spouses. That places us in the best position to educate our children on the issues of sex when we feel they are ready to hear it. We cannot rely on, or even allow, our precious children to be miseducated by a state that is so far removed from reality as to be dangerous.