"You’ll never hear an explicit reference to sex in a kindergarten class. In fact, the term for what’s being taught here is sexuality education rather than sex education."
In the Netherlands, comprehensive sex education requires all primary students to have "some form of sexuality education". Ranging from 4 to 11 years old, the students are taught a variety of topics that include sexual preference, body awareness, intimacy and gender roles. This sex education also seeks to educate and protect the students on the topics of sexual abuse, intimidation and other harmful practices.
"The underlying principle is straightforward: Sexual development is a normal process that all young people experience, and they have the right to frank, trustworthy information on the subject."
The approach made by the Dutch government has produced "some of the best outcomes when it comes to teen sexual health." According to Rutgers WPF, only 1 out of 10 Dutch adolescent do not use contraceptives the first time they have sex. It is also important to note that the Netherlands also have one of the lowest teen pregnancy rates in the world.
Unlike the Netherlands, comprehensive sex education has not been implemented in the United States. According to Guttmacher, half of the states in the union require abstinence as the main form of sex education. This narrow focus "on minimizing the risk of pregnancy and STDs from heterosexual intercourse" translates into many millennials acknowledging that their sex education "was not helpful". The Dutch curriculum for comprehensive sex education provides compelling evidence on the importance of having a well rounded education. It's time to seriously consider comprehensive sex education here in the states.
At More than Sex-Ed, the ability to have a frank and trustworthy discussion about sexual development is one of our core principles. To learn more about our core principles, please check out morethansex-ed.org!