Sex Education: Mandatory subject in the classroom VS a taboo topic in other parts of the world.

By Saashmitta Norah Oyen, Jana Mahmoud and Danai Konstantopoulou

On a global scale, Denmark is viewed as an open minded and pragmatic nation in many aspects. In the discussion of proper sex education in countries, Denmark is one of the pioneers in making sex education a compulsory in Danish elementary classrooms. Line Anne Roien from The Danish Family Planning organisation Sex & Samfund, highlighted that comprehending sex education can begin from the fruitful age of six years. 

One of the firsts subjects that pupils in the primary and lower education get to study is “Health and Sexual education and Family Studies”. With this subject, children will be able to understand the importance of health and well-being. Educating themselves on this topic greatly contributes to the development of commitment, self confidence, own identities and interaction. 

16 year olds Asta and Kristine Jensen said

“In class our teacher infused humor into the subject while being respectful and meeting the objective of the lesson which helped us understand it better. The atmosphere felt like a free room when learning.”

The subject of sexual education has been a part of the Danish school system for 51 years, while the discussion of sexual topics in schools dates back to the 19th century. The purpose was and still is to provide students with information about their relationship with their very own bodies. Albeit, that is not the case in countries such as Malaysia, Lebanon and Greece where sex eduction is neglected and undermined in favour of religious beliefs. 

As an example, in Lebanon and Malaysia islamic practices overrule the access to proper information. Founder of nudemedia.my, Lara Yap added

“The very sad truth in Malaysia is that sex is still a taboo and people find it hard to accept such an unfiltered conversation.” 

Lucy Vittrup, Copenhagen-based professional sex therapist, added to the previous statement that

“One thing that is certain is that everything we leave in the darkness, will always be the foundation of problems and abuse.”

Whereas in Greece, the government and church authorities support conservative methods against freedom of owning and deciding for one’s own body. This has led to the complete absence of sex education in the Greek system, resulting in ignorance and giving birth to many social problems in the community. 

In another instance, sex education in Latin American country Chile is “absolutely unsatisfactory, limiting, and does not respond to the needs of children and young people in our country”, as stated by Débora Solís from Chilean Association for the Protection of the Family.

Statistics on the topic of sex education amongst Malaysia, Lebanon, Chile, Greece and Denmark.

Despite having exposure to awareness and knowledge, Danes feel that there is still a lack of information on minority groups as sexual beings. Kevin Pretzel-Hackel, a communication design & business student at KEA Copenhagen, believes that

“If the state integrates same sex marriage or LGBTQ+ friendly information into the classroom, we can create a better starting point for these people as well. This helps when they go out in society and they are able to respect and have a mutual understanding with minorities in the community.” 

“When we learn about pleasure, boundaries and respect then we learn something fundamentally about life and that is something which we lack in the Danish sexual education.” said Vittrup. 

“Acknowledging and indulging in the art of love making is the next step amongst Danes.” added Vittrup. 

Undeniably, Denmark has made an extensive amount of progress over decades and if other countries that have been mentioned took the first step and viewed sex as a natural humanly topic, issues such as unwanted pregnancies, abuse, sexually trasnmitted diseases and discrimination can be left behind for the better of the world. 

This article is written for the audience in Denmark, Malaysia, Lebanon, Greece and Chile and could possibly be published on bbc.com