I have to thank the legendary John Piper for providing me with the inspiration for this post, in his comments about the recent Deadpool movie adaptation. This post, however, isn’t going to be a response to him as such, nor will it be directly related to the movie. Instead, it’s going to cover my thoughts on sex education, and what I think our approach to it ought to be.
My experience of ‘sex ed’ came largely when I was 11 years old, in the form of a DVD that was shown to my class. Yes, there were some boys in the class (who may or may not have included myself) who giggled a bit at some of the details, but by and large I think everybody was ready for it. Let me remind you that I went to a primary school with strong religious values; if the teachers had such a problem with their pupils seeing this stuff, why did they show it to us?
One major point we often like to bring up here is the concept of ‘purity’, and what it means to ‘be holy as I am holy’ (1 Peter 1:16). I used to have a lot more trouble understanding this than I do now, until I realised how unrealistic it is to believe that it’s somehow possible to avoid becoming familiar with uncleanliness. Everyone, at some point or another, comes to know what sin is and what forms it takes. The question to be asked, then, is what we are going to do in response to it. To me, ‘purity’ means ‘to see the difference between good and bad and to choose the good’ (Philippians 1:10). Some argue that since God is omniscient, that means He has an understanding and knowledge of sin, and is therefore not pure; this leads me to believe that there’s more to it than that. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul doesn’t deny that there is such a thing as ‘impure living’, but instructs them to stay as far away from it as can be. Not knowing what a ‘rim job’ is doesn’t in itself make you pure; some would say it just makes you naive.
As well as this, if kids don’t get to learn this stuff, how are they going to fare in the context of a healthy, loving relationship? Are we forgetting that there are some times when sex is – gasp – actually acceptable? I can understand if John Piper wants to take issue with a movie like Deadpool, heavy as it is with nudity and other sexually explicit content (despite my brother calling it ‘the greatest movie I’ve ever seen’, I’ll probably give it a miss myself). But sexual activity isn’t inherently wrong; it only becomes a problem when we start to use it outside of what it was originally created for.
So if you’re wondering whether I agree at all with sex education: yes and no. You might say I’m in the middle of the two extremes; I do think it’s a good idea to teach kids about ‘the birds and the bees’, but it’s got to be with the view that it’s OK within the context of (ideally) marriage. If teachers or parents are conveying the message that it’s OK to turn ‘smashing wenches’ into a competition, then that’s another story, and one that does need some sorting out.