Tuesday 16 October 2018

Home is where sex education should begin

For the sake of young people's sexual wellbeing, grown ups must stop being embarrassed about a basic human function, writes Sarah Caden

Home is where it starts and school is where they back us up. Stock Image
Home is where it starts and school is where they back us up. Stock Image

Sarah Caden

On Today With Sean O'Rourke on March 30, the Friday panel gathered to discuss the events of the week. Minister of State with Responsibilities for Disability Issues Finian McGrath was one of those assembled and the conversation opened with a discussion of the previous Wednesday's verdict in the Belfast rape trial.

Like most other Irish people, McGrath was appalled by the detail and "intrusion" of the trial, but spoke also of a bigger picture.

"If I take my ministerial hat off for a minute, as a primary school teacher 15, 16 years ago, I taught 13-year-old boys. I used to do that dreaded sex education," McGrath said, laughing. "Personal development, social development, all that, like, and there was an awful lot of issues, a lot of stuff in young men's, teenagers' heads that was totally, absolutely disgraceful… and that has got worse over the years because of social media, because of easy access to pornography."

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