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The truth about sex education

Victoria Derbyshire | 15:21 PM, Sunday, 19 October 2008

teenagers_kiss_main.jpgDo you worry about your kids having sex too young? Two thirds of you who responded to our online questionnaire about sex education told us you do. So who should be responsible for persuading them they shouldn't?

The government's spent six months reviewing how sex education is taught in schools and is due to unveil its findings later this month.

But three quarters of you told us parents should be responsible for educating kids about sex - with just a quarter saying it should come from school.

Many of you called in to have your say on the subject. You can listen again to the debate by subscribing to and downloading the 5 live News Phone-In podcast.

And what about kids themseles - how do they want sex education to be taught?


Video: kids tell us what they think

In the video below, six schoolkids told us how they feel sex education should be taught in schools.

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The Results

So here are the results of the questionnaire - which nearly 2,000 of you responded to.

Where did you get most of your sex education from?
Friends: Almost a half of respondents
Books or the internet: One in five
School teachers: Almost one in five
Parents: One in eight

Who should be responsible for educating children about sex?
Parents: Nearly three quarters of respondents
School teachers: Just under a quarter
Books or the internet: Only a handful
Friends: Only a handful

If you have children, at what age did you discuss or do you plan to discuss sex with them?
Under 8: Almost a quarter of respondents
8 to 10: One third
11-13: More than a third
Over 14: Under one in ten

Would you raise the topic of sex or contraception with your child or wait for them to ask?
Myself: Almost three quarters of respondents
Wait till asked: Over a quarter
Would never discuss: Very few

Do you worry about your child having sex too young?
Yes: Two thirds of respondents
No: One third of respondents

What is an acceptable age to first have sex?
14, 13 or 12 or under: one in ten of respondents
15: One in seven of respondents
16 or over: Three quarters of respondents.

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Our interviews

teenageboy_203x252.jpg"I meet random girls on the internet - Bebo, MySpace, Facebook..."

16, single and surfing for casual sex - we spoke to this teenaged boy about how he finds his sexual partners over the internet - and how many there are to choose from...

Click the player below to hear this interview.

"It's the fact you can meet someone you've never seen before and be having sex with them in a week."

Listen below to a group of mums react to the teenager who surfs the web looking for partners to have sex with.

"I find questions about gay sex very difficult - because as a heterosexual I don't know much about it!"

Three mothers talk openly and frankly about how they discuss sex with their teenagers. Please be aware that this interview contains sexual references. (We've concealed the identity of one person mentioned in these interviews).

Click the player below to hear this interview.

boys_wall_main.jpg"Let's face it - the legal age for porn has got to be one of the most broken laws in the country!"

Four teenage friends discuss how much they learn about sex from TV and from the internet.

Please note this interview contains sexual language and references.

Click the player below to hear the interview.

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Your comments

Here are a selection of the comments that you had about sex education:

How did you first raise the subject with your children?

Through discussing wildlife programmes. Further explanation was also needed when my son (8) burst in on my wife and me, "in flagrante delictu!"
Screwed up my courage for 'mother-daughter' chat on the 25 minute walk to school but I was taken aback at her lack of interest!
When a child is old enough to ask you the question then that is the right time to have the discussion with them.
My youngest son was fairly knowledgeable (courtesy of listening in to his 3 older brothers) before raising the subject with me.
Went and got a condom and explained what it did and how it worked. Stopped short of showing how to put it on. Some things you have to find out for yourself!!

Further comments on sex education in general:

I think we already tell children too much about sex. It's like taking them to a toy shop, showing them a toy and then saying no to them having it.
Protect your children and give them the facts. If you don't, then they will Google "sex" and come up with 71 million websites that might just ruin their lives.
Every child is different and is ready at different stages. My youngest child knows far more than the eldest did at the same age.
My daughter at the age of 3 asked me how she had got out of my 'tummy' when she was born and she asked if I had taken my jeans off first.
I think that the younger the child, the less sniggering there will be.

There were dozens more fascinating comments that came in - too many to print in this entry. If you'd like to read the rest of them, they are available in another blog entry, and well worth a read if you have time.

Read the other blog entry with more of your comments

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