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As You Sow, So Shall You Reap: Part Three

Philip Jones 1st May 2009

After writing my article `As You Sow, So Shall You Reap` posted earlier this week on 29th April, it
seems as if everywhere I turn, highly concerning reports of how the British government is actively
and deliberately sexualising and corrupting the nation's children, are simply falling into my
proverbial lap.

I have just read that a UK government-funded sex education program is training teachers to tell 15
year-old schoolchildren about anal and oral sex.

A Doncaster teacher Lynda Brine, who was trained for the course, says she was amazed to be
asked to advise as to semen tasted, or as to whether women should have anal intercourse.

The program, entitled ‘A Pause’, was devised by researchers at Exeter university and instructs
`educators` to respond to pupils’ questions about all and every manner of sexual experience. The
assumption is that young children are already sexually active, and the so called `educational`
benchmark in this `field of learning` is that ignorance is to be avoided at all costs, and all questions
and orientations are to be treated as equally valid.

But this philosophy transforms sex education into little more than a semi-pornographic encounter
in which children receive the implicit message that sexual taboos are worthless, and that all forms
of human coupling, no matter how perverse and unnatural are worthy of consideration.

One would imagine that such an irresponsible and morally inappropriate approach had been
devised by someone who subscribed to a permissive belief in a sexual `jamboree`. The paradox in
this case however, is that the very opposite appears to be true.

The man behind the course, paediatrician Dr John Tripp, is on record as stating himself deeply
concerned not only with regard to sexual activity amongst children, but also about the highly
destructive effects of family breakdown. Indeed, for years he fought a heroic battle almost single
handedly against a concerted attempt by the social science establishment to first censor and then
belittle research he published in 1994 showing the damage parental separation did to children.

‘A Pause’ is intended to delay schoolchildren indulging in sexual intercourse by making it easier

for them to resist pressure from their friends and the media. Much of this programme is
uncontroversial and has gained widespread respect.

But in as much as the above ideals are laudable, a difficulty has arisen over the contention that in
order to avoid sexual intercourse, pupils should be advised that there are other ways of achieving
sexual intimacy, ranging from hand-holding and kissing to oral and even anal sex.

Dr Tripp insists that he is not encouraging them to pursue these activities, merely advising that
they are less dangerous than sexual intercourse which he hopes they will help avoid. And anyway,
he says, his course advises pupils how to resist pressure to indulge in the whole range of sexual

His anxiety to avoid sexual intercourse among children is entirely honourable. But the distinction
he draws between sexual intercourse and what he calls ‘outercourse’ is, in practice, spurious.
He claims his approach has reduced the number of pupils having sexual intercourse by between 13
and 15 per cent. One might think that providing children with a menu of sexual experiences to
sample would make full sex rather more likely. But even if Dr Tripp’s claim is true, the aim of
responsible sex education should surely not be so limited.

Teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases are not the only reasons why sexual activity
among schoolchildren is deeply undesirable. The main reason is that, in the absence of both
emotional maturity and spiritual meaning, such inappropriate behaviour harms children’s

Holding hands or kissing are simply in a different league from intimate genital activity. That is
because this involves areas of our body that we guard as our most private and protected. Revealing
them is therefore a very special act.

Doing so too casually strips that act of its significance and can harm our own sense of ourselves. If
the idea that sex should be reserved for a special relationship becomes meaningless, it becomes
much more difficult to sustain a permanent committed sexual union.

It is not puritanical to say this. It is rather to recognise that spiritual and emotional meaning
distinguishes human sexual activity from animal behaviour. Genital gratification separated from a
permanent loving commitment is a form of degradation. When emotionally immature children
behave in this way, it becomes akin to abuse.

The Exeter program has produced something which appears to contradict its own founding beliefs
because it has fallen into a common trap. It assumes that because many young people are sexually
active, any sex education program has to limit itself to minimising the damage.

The government and virtually the entire health and sex education establishment intend us to think
that it is simply ridiculous to imagine that young people can be persuaded away from sexual
activity. Of course, the young have always experimented with sex. But what we are facing now is
something quite different - the normalisation of sex as a recreational sport, the fracturing of self-
restraint and commitment, and the smashing of every sexual and moral taboo.

This sexual anarchy can be halted, if only there is the will to do so. As I have mentioned in parts
one and two, successful American schemes show it is possible to challenge all premature sexual
activity through programmes aimed at sexual abstinence — a word which in Britain causes
apoplexy among policy makers.

They caricature the abstinence approach as an authoritarian, self-defeating ‘just say no’ exercise.
But this is not so. The most high-profile of these American projects, the Washington-based Best
Friends programme, is a brilliant, shrewdly targeted club that girls love to join.

Crucially, it recognises the nexus between adolescent sex, drinking, drug taking and academic
performance. Starting when the girls are nine and going through to high school graduation, it
builds up their self-respect and gives them the self-confidence to deal with the pressures on them
to drink, take drugs and have sex, which they are taught to view as a potential threat to themselves.

It provides weekly fitness sessions where the girls discuss diet and nutrition, takes them out on
trips and matches each girl with a mentor teacher whom they meet once a week to talk about
anything. Crucially, it builds a corps d’esprit [ital] which provides peer and adult support to say no
sex till after they have left school, no alcohol until the legal age of 21 and no drugs ever.
And it works. Compared with national figures, only a tiny number of Best Friends girls have had
sex or become pregnant by the time they leave school, and very few take drugs. Moreover, among
these mainly highly disadvantaged pupils - who would normally be expected to drop out of
education - the majority on the program stay at school until they are 18 and many go on to college.

Of course, the cultural pressures on our children to indulge in harmful adult behaviour are
immense. The driver behind their premature sexual activity is the sexualisation of the culture and
the breakdown of the traditional family. But the belief that all we can do is go with the flow is a
self-fulfilling counsel of despair.

What’s needed instead is an explicit challenge to this cultural slide, tailored to young people’s
sense of their own self-interest. The current prevailing brutalisation of sexuality and relationships
is not in anyone’s interest.

Young people need to be taught about love and self-restraint, trust and commitment, acts and
consequences, and the human dignity embodied in the link between sex and marriage.

Can anyone here in the UK see this current government funding such a programme? Not a chance.
It would rather teach the young about oral and anal sex - and then shed crocodile tears over our
lost and abandoned children.