Students asked about sex
The Australian, April 25, 2016
A new sex education course funded by taxpayers is quizzing 12-year-old children about sex and masturbation and teaching them to search online for sexual information.
The Practical Guide to Love, Sex and Relationships — produced by the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University — also directs students to study a gay website criticised by federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham.
The teaching guide contains a quiz for Year 7 students, including the question: “Will masturbation make your palms go hairy?’’
Students as young as 12 are tested on whether they know what proportion of teenagers “have not had vaginal sex” before the age of 16. The quiz also asks: “How does a person know if they are gay?’’
A 40-minute lesson instructs children to safely search the internet for information about sex and sexuality, using filters to screen explicit results.
“It’s a good idea to start at the highest level of filtering and only switch if you can’t find what you’re looking for,’’ it states.
The Year 7 and 8 students are told to navigate three websites, including the controversial Minus 18 site that explains to teenagers how to bind their chests or tuck their penises.
Minus 18 removed links to a sex shop and a Melbourne gay bar after questioning from The Australian in February. But the site still teaches children how to “cover their tracks’’ to erase internet searches, making it harder for parents to monitor their children’s internet use.
The Turnbull government recently ordered the Safe Schools Coalition — a taxpayer-funded group to combat bullying of gay, lesbian, intersex or transgender students — to remove links to Minus 18 from its curriculum resources or lose a $2 million grant. The government has also paid for the production of La Trobe University’s latest sex education program, made available to schools across Australia in line with the national curriculum.
It includes a 40-minute lesson on pornography, targeted to 13- and 14-year-olds, designed to combat the violent and unrealistic messages from online porn.
“While it is clear that sexually explicit media is readily available, it is important to keep in mind that not everyone in your class has seen or wants to see it,’’ the guide states.
“You will need to make a judgment about whether this session is relevant to your group.
“Clearly, you don’t want the first education you provide to your students about growing up and becoming sexual to be porn.’’
The new sex education manual says it is presenting “an alternative set of standards for how sex should be’’ by teaching students that pornography involves paid actors and is “often very rough on women’’.
“(Sex should be) a mutually enjoyable and consensual experience; a joint (ad) venture (sic) rather than a thing done too (sic) or on someone,’’ it states.
“We do not want to set up a new norm that ‘everyone watches porn’. We think that whether you’ve watched it or not, porn and other sexual imagery has entered the building, so we need to help young people ask it some serious questions.’’
Students are handed “pornism cards’’, including one that says “women like sex to be rough and mean’’. The card’s reverse side reads: “OUCH. If women had sex like that in real life it would hurt. And they would feel very badly treated.’’