Mike Judge

The researcher for the pressure group The Christian Institute responds to the article in which John Walsh bemoaned the lack of decent sex education in British schools
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The Independent Online

John Walsh believes we must be more explicit with our children, but his view of sex eduction is clearly not working. It is time to take sex education out of its ethical void and teach our youngsters the value of marriage. Deciding what to tell children about sex is not easy. Teachers who find themselves in this position are in a very difficult situation. Some people say they should tell it all, while others say they should say nothing. A sensible approach is somewhere in between.

Sadly, sex education in our schools is far from balanced. In most cases children learn all about sex, but nothing about love and commitment. The nuts and bolts of sexual relations are completely detached from morality and values. It is nothing more than sex education for the one-night stand. Given that Britain has the highest level of teenage pregnancy in Western Europe, this seems a dangerous approach. And it is an approach that is only likely to encourage a culture of experimentation and bring forward the moment of first sexual contact. The largest study into sexual behaviour in Britain found that only 3 per cent of men said "love" was a reason for first having sex.

Over half of all teenage pregnancies are unintended, a sizeable proportion of which will end in abortion. The age of first intercourse is falling and sex education does not seem to be halting the decline.

Most teachers skirt around the moral issues, casting aside the model of the traditional family and leaving sex in an ethical void. But the fact is that marriage is the best place for sex. A majority of parents probably still agree with this statement. Marriage provides the supportive environment of a committed relationship, and one that is most likely to last.

Popular culture places great pressure on young people to be more and more sexually active. The idea that abstinence makes the heart grow fonder is cast aside as unrealistic. But the best protection for our young people from infection is to delay sexual activity until they are in a committed relationship.