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Please, can someone think about children's sex education?

Young people and sex ed: a taboo topic that needs ministerial measures

Please, can someone think about children's sex education? Young people and sex ed: a taboo topic that needs ministerial measures

Gen Z and sex: a complex relationship on the big screen, on television, and even in real life. Millennials and sex. The youngest of Generation Alpha and approaching intimacy. It's talked about every day, on social media and in magazines, on TV shows and at the bar. How do we approach intimacy? How do gender roles, debates on patriarchy and feminism, and social changes influence our understanding of physical relationships? What's happening? There's a problem, and it's undeniable. Between the progressive radicalization of young people, who increasingly lean to the right and fear anti-male and anti-misogynistic movements, cases of harassment, worrying content on TikTok that demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the concept of consent, podcasts on men's rights, and much more, what can be done? Promoting sexual education in schools, just like it's happening in Milan, but on a national level.

Sexual Education in Schools: the Situation in Italy and Europe

Italy, in this regard, lags behind. Whether it's due to the influence of the Vatican, the current government, emphasis on other issues, or the taboo nature of the topic, there's concern about non-existent issues like gender propaganda, while neglecting real problems such as unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, harassment, and violence. People rail against abortions blindly and angrily without considering that with proper and informative education, prevention of abortions could even be discussed. The result? Italy is among the last 6 European countries (alongside Bulgaria, Cyprus, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania) that have yet to devise a formal, ministerial, mandatory program for emotional and sexual education in schools, and the proposal to establish one has been stalled in Parliament, presented in various forms since at least 2007 without any luck.

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At What Age Do Young People Have Sex?

There's concern about young people, that talking to them about sex might lead to hasty behavior. The problem doesn't exist, at least not from this angle. Young people approach sex in any case and independently, often in a unconscious, ignorant, and reckless manner. According to a statistical study conducted by the Youth and Sexuality Observatory of Durex in collaboration with, for instance, 1 out of 10 young people in Milan has their first sexual experience before the age of 13. 6 out of 10 do not always use condoms, and 95.1% would appreciate studying emotional and sexual education in school. In the study concerning 2023, which investigated the intimate lives of more than 15,000 young people aged between 11 and 24, other worrying data emerged: for example, 39% of them believe that coitus interruptus is an effective method of contraception, while 53% cannot recognize Sexually Transmitted Infections. We could go on, but the picture is clear and intuitive even with just these data. Our young people need to be educated, and quickly.

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What's Happening in Milan Isn't Enough

Precisely by taking these data into account, Durex has decided to launch an educational project in the Lombard capital. It's called A luci accese, and it consists of a series of educational pathways carried out in high schools by industry professionals such as psychologists, sexologists, and educators through dialogue groups and listening desks. It's an admirable solution, but it proves to be too partial in the face of a collective problem, which involves all young people and affects their lives and those of the people they interact with, and therefore the entire society through a domino effect. When will we overcome these retrograde ideas about sex as a private matter and "for adults" to understand that, on the contrary, sexual and affective education is everyone's problem and as such needs to be addressed?