Last week a Commons committee report said that sex education was failing because youngsters can be taught the biology of sex but don't have the emotional and social skills to cope with sexual relationships.
The committee's next report is titled 'Sticking a fork in your eye: Substantial evidence suggests likelihood of unpleasant sensation.'
What not everyone seems to grasp is that there's a massive contradiction at the heart of sex education. On the one hand, almost everyone believes it's a bad idea for (young) teens to be having sex in the first place. The reasons are obvious in some cases: teen pregnancy (the single mum variety) isn't a good thing. STDs are obviously bad, and having your fledgling emotions messed around by teenage boys can't be a barrel of laughs either.
But while we take this as a given, we also have to accept the fact that teens (very young teens in some cases) are having sex and that we need to educate them about it, tacitly suggesting that teen sex is the norm. The result is that we tell them how to have sex and then tell them not to, even though everyone else is doing it. No wonder they're confused.
So maybe it's time to cut the crap. We present a resource for teachers and youth workers.
TFT'S REASONS FOR NOT HAVING TEENAGE SEX
1) It is the teenager's lot to suffer
Your teens are vital formative years when you realise what a bag of crap life is. Gone are the blissful certainties of childhood: Action Men, My Little Ponies, Father Christmas, Chessington World of Adventures. Instead it's time to say hello to spots, freakish bodily growth and having 60 erections a day and nothing to do with them. Without this suffering you will not develop the emotional resilience to cope with the nightmare which is adulthood.
2) Teenage boys are mere puppets, and hormones are the puppet masters
Much has been written about the maelstrom of hormones swilling around in teenage boys, but one thing's certain: the hormones wear the trousers. It's probably an evolutionary thing: cavemen weren't known for their longevity, so the sooner they started having sex the better. Imagine if you decided to wait until you found the right cave girl, and then got eaten by a dinosaur before you had the chance to 'do it'. Bummer.
3) Teenage boys are fucking idiots
Hormones aside, teenagers are morons. We certainly were. Teenagers spend hours obsessing over their appearance, and still manage to look daft. Teenagers believe all sorts of weird things. They think they actually stand a chance of becoming a professional DJ. Any woman below the age of 55 who isn't a blood relative stands a chance of being incorporated into their sexual fantasies. Teenage boys form the core fan base of the band Slipknot. Does anyone seriously think it's a good idea to have sex with these people?
4) Teenage girls are evil
William Goldman got it wrong when he made all the characters in Lord of the Flies male. If he'd made them female, half the characters would have been hurling themselves off cliffs within the first two pages because their best friend had suddenly joined a gang of cooler girls and had stopped speaking to them.
5) Teenage girls cannot control their emotions
If they're not smashing up the kitchen because their scrambled egg was too runny, teenage girls are busy deluding themselves that the twat in the baseball cap they call their boyfriend is genuinely going to stick by them if they get pregnant. When this turns out to be horribly, horribly incorrect they concoct some bizarro fantasy about 'doing a course' or 'modelling' or 'running my own business' to blot out reality.
6) Teenagers are too insecure to have sex
Two facts. 1. Sex is pretty much the most intimate thing you can do with another person, apart from major invasive surgery. 2. Teenagers are so insecure that not having a girlfriend/boyfriend makes them genuinely believe they'll die a virgin. It's an emotional house of cards. And everyone knows what happens to a house of cards if you stick your penis in it.
7. Teenagers should not have sex because it makes adults jealous
Noone dare admit this, because it makes you sound like a sexual failure, but most people's teen years were not an exciting shag-o-rama. Frankly, the thought of today's teens having sex while we were doing quadratic equations make us sick with envy.
8. Sex is bad for your exam results
Sex or the saturation point of copper sulphate? Sex or population migration in Mexico City? Sex or calculus? You do the maths.