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Sunday, July 14, 2024
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HomeCulture WarGrooming our children, Part 4: Early sexualisation

Grooming our children, Part 4: Early sexualisation

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Belinda Brown continues to shine a torch on the grooming scandal unleashed by the government’s introduction of Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) for children from four years old. Part 1, Getting parents out of the picture, is here, Part 2, ‘Smash heteronormatvity’, is here, and Part 3, ‘No such thing as normal’, is here. In the final article today, Belinda examines the early sexualisation of children.

MY LAST article focused on efforts to break down in children the idea of normality within sexual behaviour. Key to this is a three pronged ‘educational’ attack – distracting attention from the procreative potential of heterosexual activity, treating abortion as healthcare and pregnancy as the equivalent of a sexually transmitted disease.

At the same time, sex educators such as Ester McGeeney put sexual pleasure front and centre. Her Brook and Open University funded PhD thesis ‘What is good sex? Young People, Sexual Pleasure and Sexual Health Services’ explores how sexual pleasure can be embedded into classroom teaching.   Putting her ideas into practice, McGeeney set up the Good Sex Project to produce written guides and films of teenagers talking about their sexual experiences. These films arguably normalise underage sex. Recognising that ‘conservative’ parents might need some convincing of the benefits of teaching sexual pleasure to their children, she promised to produce ‘a review of the evidence on why it is important to embed sexual pleasure and sex positive approaches in youth sexual health service delivery’.  We are still waiting for that.

McGeeney is also the co-author with Alice Hoyle of Great Relationships and Sex Education, mentioned in previous blogs and touted as ‘destined to become a book on every PSHE teacher’s shelf’. 

In this guide, pupils aged 13 and upwards are to be taught ‘to start thinking about the whole body as a potential site of pleasure’. The activity, the authors say, ‘helps to provoke discussions about consent and communication, bodily anatomy and good touch’. A cynic might observe this gets children used to having their personal space invaded and compelled to accept another’s touch, a definite form of grooming. The children to whom the exercise is directed are well below the age of consent. Their embarrassment or reluctance is not even considered.

One activity encourages 13-year-olds to work in small groups to explore how it feels in mind, body, and heart when you are ready to have sex and consider various scenarios where the characters are just about to have sex. In another they are taught how to give and seek consent for sex. I emphasise, this is for 13-year-olds.

An activity for 14-year-olds asks them to write a list of the different ways they can think of being intimate or sexual with another person.

A game for 15-year-olds introduces them to sex toys, bondage, discipline and sadomasochism, underage sex and more.

Once they hit 16, they are encouraged to engage in much more detailed research. For example, they are asked to sculpt a part of the body involved in sexual activity out of playdough. They are in effect encouraged to masturbate.

Hoyle and McGeeney are not mavericks or outliers. Rather they are leaders, and what they are teaching is widespread. For example, Professor Ringrose from UCL encouraged children from the ages of twelve to sixteen to draw sexually explicit images including hands masturbating erections. All this is reported in MP Miriam Cates’s report calling for a government review into these matters to be found here (pp20-21). 

Some of the organisations she mentions, such as ‘Split Banana’, have direct links on their websites to sites that promote ‘ethical’ porn (p61). Another provider, ‘Cliterally the Best’,  has links to sex toy and fetish wear vendors. Evie Plumb, the creator of this website, provides information in her blog on ‘wax play’ and ‘How to choke someone in bed safely’ (p63). There are many more examples in the report.

When I first became aware of this material, I assumed only a minority of our children were victims of this kind of teaching, and while that is completely unacceptable, the majority of our children were fairly safe in our schools. But is the case? Miriam Cates’s report suggests such teaching may be widespread. In evidence she reports that:

·         The DfE-approved ratifying body for RSE, the PSHE Association, which promotes Gender Theory as fact, has a membership of more than 50,000 PSHE professionals. 

·         Just Like Us is used by more than 5,000 schools across the UK. 

·         Olly Pike has sold over 25,000 books and has 20,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel

·         Jigsaw, which has international reach, has over three million children using their resources. 

·         The Proud Trust is actively working with 500 schools. 

It is difficult to know what proportion of children have been exposed to all these materials, but we do know that there has been a significant increase in the practice of anal sex amongst the youngest age group. Research from National Surveys of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (NATSAL), the largest survey on the sexual behaviours of 16-24-year-olds with a sample size of 45,000, reports an increasing range of sexual practices engaged in by the age group. Of course correlation does not equal causation, but RSE normalising anal sex, for example, is likely to be significant.

My exploration of the sex education resources plied by these providers suggests a fully developed curriculum complete with topics, a justifying ideology and a wide range of methods for imparting the ideology and for putting it into practice. While the Government’s RSE Guidance is broadly acceptable, without its own curriculum it has been hijacked and schools are left to ‘outsource’ to these eager sex education providers.

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Belinda Brown
Belinda Brown
Belinda Brown is author of 'The Private Revolution' and a number of well-cited academic papers. More recently, she has started writing and blogging for The Daily Mail and The Conservative Woman. She has a particular interest in men's issues and the damage caused by feminism.

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