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Ignorance is the real sex scandal.

Byline: Fiona Phillips

SEX. Sex. Sex.

You see, that got your attention didn't it?

Largely, I suspect, because us Brits still have an infantile nudge-nudge, wink-wink attitude to the act that got us all here in the first place.

So maybe the facts of life should be taught to infants. But sex at six?

The Family Planning Association is trying to persuade teachers to teach sex lessons in primary school, because they say: "If parents/carers and teachers don't talk to children about growing up they may pick up the idea that it is scary or shouldn't be talked about."

Which is what happened to most of us I reckon - hence the strange attitude we all have.

The FPA is marketing a sex education pamphlet to primary schools as a "gentle introduction" for six- and seven-year-olds called "Let's Grow With Nisha and Joe".

It's in comic form and features illustrations of a naked girl and boy with names of bodyparts.

In my opinion it's a brilliant idea. Both my boys started asking about the birds and the bees (why am I couching it in those ridiculous terms?) when they were five, and it's difficult to know how much to tell them.

So I told them a bit, but not too much, and now their friends have embellished it and it's all become a big joke with scare stories of bottoms and bursting tummies.

Which is exactly what the FPA says will happen if you don't handle it head-on. I only wish I had access to their pamphlet.

But some parents are angry, blasting it as "too much, too young" and accusing the FPA of robbing children of their innocence.

But why not rob them of their ignorance by informing them in a gentle way of a biological process which applies to each and every one of us?

Margaret Morrissey of Parents Outloud, who says she would go "ballistic" if her children had access to the FPA's pamphlet, defeats her own argument by saying: "We have got to be careful that we are educating, not confusing or putting fear into their minds."

Er, that's exactly why a comic which deals gently with the subject is a good idea.

I found out about how I came into existence at the age of seven. I was told by a friend, who related it to me like a horror story. I was never told anything at school, or by my parents.

Why do mums and dads come over all dirty-secret-ish when confronted with questions about sex?

Why do some parents think it's perfectly OK to let their children play violent electronic games featuring death, torture and destruction, yet rage against their knowledge of something that is perfectly natural and life-giving?

If sex is treated as a dirty subject at six, it's not surprising that some still harbour that view at 66.

Why do mums come over all dirty-secret-ish about sex?
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 20, 2008
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