British Government urges under-16s to experiment with oral sex
By Glen Owen, Education Correspondent
21 February 2003
The scheme, which has been pioneered by Exeter University and is backed by the Departments of Health and Education, trains teachers to discuss various pre-sex stopping points with under-age teenagers.
It aims to reduce promiscuity by encouraging pupils to discover levels of intimacy, including oral sex, instead of full sexual intercourse.
More than 100,000 children are now taking the course at one in every thirty secondary schools. It forms part of efforts to tackle Britains teenage pregnancy rate, which is the highest in Western Europe.
Robert Whelan, director of the Family Education Trust, said he hoped that the Sexual Offences Bill, currently going through the House of Lords, would lead to the course being banned. A provision in the Bill would make it an offence for anyone to arrange or facilitate the commission of a child sex offence.
He said: I dont think anyone believes that teaching pupils about oral sex will stop them having full sex it is more likely to make them want to try it, and it doesnt protect them from sexually transmitted diseases.
John Rees, programme manager for A Pause, said that he was keen to teach children that it is acceptable simply to hold hands and to discover different levels of intimacy.
We make it clear that there are many ways to manage relationships that it doesnt all have to be about full sex, he said. He added that he was very worried that the Bill would end the scheme.
Lynda Brine, a teacher from a Doncaster comprehensive who recently attended a training day for the course, says in todays Times Educational Supplement that she was primed to deal with detailed questions about oral and anal sex. I was amazed. Are these really the sort of questions to which we as a profession should be responding? she writes.
There was no framework for talking about responsibility or the emotional side of relationships. By following this course, I feel that teachers are implicitly supporting under-age sexual activity.