Let’s talk about sex (maybe) – how did you learn about the birds and the bees?

Sex and relationships education is now compulsory for all schools in England, but does it matter what they learn in the classroom?

I never had “the talk” from my mum or dad, although there was an unbearable, squirming half an hour during the AIDS panic in 1987 when my father asked me if I knew what a condom was. (It was hard to tell who was most embarrassed. Him, probably.)

At school, the large TV screen and VHS player was ominously wheeled into a classroom of boys. Today was the day for “the video.” I don’t remember much, except how joylessly biological it was; we guffawed at an infra-red image of an erect penis while our teacher gazed forlornly out of the window.

But the “sex” isn’t as important as the “relationships” – and that’s where a father can make a difference. You’re the man who is going to set every example, good or bad. You can show that men don’t have to be aggressive; can listen; can be gentle. You can talk about consent and what it means. That’s going to have a much bigger impact than “the talk” ever can.

How did you learn about the birds and bees – from parents, at school, or somewhere else? How embarrassing or useful was it? And what can a dad do to help his children grow up into healthy adult relationships?

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4 Comments

  1. graham 7 March, 2017 / 9:19 am

    I got everything from school in terms of actual facts. Beyond setting, in fairness, a good example on the relationships front it simply wasn’t something me and my dad ever really talked about. Except once.

    It was the morning I was about to go to university. Bare in mind I had GCSE and A level Biology and was about to go to Durham to study, you guessed, it Biology. If I didn’t know at least a bit about sex then I probably never would. Nevertheless my dad walked up to me and said, and I quote, “Son, I want to say something to you. If you’re going to put yourself about use something. You don’t want your knob to go green and drop off.” He then thrust a packed of 12 condoms into my hand and walked out the room.

    And that was the birds and bees from my parents.

    I guess in terms of making sure I didn’t pick up something nasty it was blunt and to the point. Beyond that though…..

  2. Mike H 7 March, 2017 / 5:34 pm

    I had some really good sex advice from our Biology teacher at the all boy’s school I attended – he did all the science bit but also gave the general message ‘don’t get anxious thinking it will never happen, because it will ‘. It was great advice – although, and I kid you not – he was later convicted as a paedophile. Can any of your readers beat that?

    Oh, and the song ‘sex education’ by the king blues is a great song on this subject…

  3. Nick 20 March, 2017 / 10:06 am

    An older boy showed me page three of the sun, and proceeded to explain the birds and the bees to me. I was about 10 at the time.

    • Al Ferguson 20 March, 2017 / 8:47 pm

      Brilliant! Nothing like sex education The Sun style!

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