MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku



10 APRIL 2024

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Frank discussions on sex can delay sexual debut among teens


From Dr SP Choong

Aminah Rahman’s statement in the recent article on sex education must be taken seriously as a matter of urgency.

Her experience in LPPKN and in OrphanCare has clearly shown the consequences of the government’s failure to provide a comprehensive fact-based sex education curriculum to schools.

The data collected on our teen pregnancy rates and alarming incidence of baby dumping should make politicians wake up to the real tragedies arising out of their failure to do so.

Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim from PAGE representing parents should be recognised as a legitimate stakeholder for their children’s future welfare.

Nancy Shukri’s promise to implement an effective sex education curriculum after consulting with different ministries and interest groups is a repeat of a process I have witnessed many times in the last 40 years.

Many excellent programmes have been worked out in the past, largely by NGOs, in particular by the family planning movement, which ended up being “modified” to exclude all the “sensitive” topics.

These ministerial consultations planned by the minister will get us back to square one, that is, promote moral education and increase religious classes.

Thus sex education curricula became, in effect, lectures on “moral” behaviour, a strategy proven to be ineffective in preventing irresponsible sexual conduct.

We see sex education not as a moral issue but a health issue. Giving accurate information helps them avoid serious consequences such as STDs, unplanned pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and sometimes infanticide and suicide.

Studies have also shown that honest and frank discussions arising out of fact-based sex education has had the effect of delaying sexual debut among teens.

Unfortunately, there is a mistaken prevailing view that it does the opposite, but this has been disproven in many studies on teen sexual conduct in relation to the type of sex education given.

Burying one’s head in the sand may be more comfortable for some, but there is a price to be paid by others. - FMT

Dr SP Choong is the past chairman of the Federation of Reproductive Health Associations Malaysia.

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of MMKtT.

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