Love & Sex

New U.K. Sex Ed Guidelines to Become Far More Progressive than U.S. Programs

Pin it

New classes to tackle sexting, porn, and everything Millennials actually care about.

Though you may have had the impression that the U.K. was going through a period of hyperconservatism with England's nationwide porn filter, it seems that Britain is giving its sex education policies a groundbreaking and ultra modern revamp.

The first reform to the U.K.'s sex education guidelines in 14 years, the new supplemental studies provided with the Sex and Relationships Education for the 21st Century (SRE) program will include information on the intersections of sex and technology – most notably, sexting and porn. The introduction of technologies into sex ed is a smart move for the U.K., because despite how innocent we still think they are, middle and high school-aged kids are inclined to take pictures of their junk and hunt for internet pornography. Part of this innovative curriculum will be discussions on why porn does not reflect real life, the media's influence on the perception of bodies, and the legality and consequences of distributing naked photos when you're under 18.

"It is vital that we safeguard the health and well being of our young people to help them get on in life," said Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in a statement with Brook sex education forum. "That's why we need all schools teaching sex and relationships education that is up to date, particularly when teenagers' lives are so dominated by advances in technology."

The SRE is also receiving praise for its inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender literature. The new guidelines hope to prepare teachers for speaking out against homophobia, tackling prejudice, and speaking about sexuality in less heteronormative terms. 

Sexual health education is compulsory for all secondary schools in the U.K., but these reforms seek to bring a more realistic and comprehensive approach to sex ed. The U.K.'s new programs put the United States, where only 22 states require sex education, to shame. With legislation passing in states like Tennessee to limit sex education, 35 states having parental opt-out policies, and sexist, regressive "research-backed" videos like "The Economics of Sex" going viral, it's evident that the U.S. could benefit from a similarly exhaustive program for the next generation of technophiles.

The reality is that our sexual worlds have expanded far beyond putting a condom on a banana and need to integrate the types of relationships and situations a young adult encounters in their sexual development. For better or for worse, we live in a Hannah Horvathed, Anthony Weiner-prone era, where Millennials are as concerned with a selfie angle as an STD symptom. A large portion of sexual development now takes place online, so, as the U.K. has discovered, we need to measure up to our children's natural curiosity.

[h/t Take Part]

Image via Flickr.