The third reason given above does not necessarily means that I am in total agreement with the way sex education is handled in the Western school systems. I have no problem with the basic ideas that children should be educated about sex. However, I disagree with the age at which sex education begins and with its contents. This issue by itself deserves a detailed discussion which is beyond the scope of my present study. Nonetheless, I will briefly mention my thoughts on these two issues.
Age: Sex education should begin in mid-teens when the children become sexually mature. The aim of sex education at this level should be to help them in understanding that they are responsible and accountable for using their sexual organs. They should be taught how to deal with sexual tension. (However, by looking at the proportionally high level of child sexual abuse in the Western world [which reflects the degree of its moral decay], I am prepared to accept those programs for young children which aim at educating them as how to protect themselves from sexual abuse. But this, in my view, is not sex education and therefore would not apply to our present discussion.)
Contents: In this permissive society, the emphasis in sex education is more on preventing unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. No serious attempt is made in making the youngsters aware of the virtue of chastity and abstinence till they get married. This is not just because the Western society is a secular, liberal society, it is also related to its consumer-orientated economy. If sex education means only how to prevent unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, then the students learn nothing but the importance of using pills, condoms and other contraceptive devices. In other words, such sex education is nothing but a promotional program for the manufacturers of contraceptive aids! Germaine Greer, a famous feminist, wrote about promoting contraceptives in the Third world as follows, "The sex reformers, who exhibit no respect for traditional values and address themselves to sexuality without interest in or comprehension of the whole personality, are the bawds of capitalism."1 I totally agree with her not only in relation to the third world but even in case of the sex education in the West. The reason why sex educators are under pressure not to talk about the natural methods of birth control is not only because such methods are not hundred percent reliable (otherwise, even the condoms are not hundred percent reliable!); then real reason seems to be that if natural methods (like coitus interrupts or abstinence) which involve no expense become more popular, then who will buy the condoms and the pills?
In short, I agree with the necessity of sex education for youngsters provided it exhibits respect for their religious and moral values, and addressed the issue comprehensively and not just end up as a promotional program for 'the bawds of capitalism'.
1. Greer, Sex and Destiny, p.219.
Adapted from: "Marriage & Morals in Islam" by: "Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi"
Share this article