Growing up, sex education (sex Ed) in primary schools in the UK hadn’t quite started whilst I was in that age group, so my first experience of sex Ed was in secondary school.
However my first secondary school was a Nigerian Christian boarding school, and the biology teacher shrouded that part of our curriculum in Religion so much, I didn’t actually learn anything about it formally; I don’t remember it ever featuring in our exams either.
So how did I first understand what it was?
One day in JSS2 (year 8), there was a shortage of water across the school, so my friends and I had to go to the main reservoir to fetch buckets of water and as there was a long queue, we passed time by reciting lyrics to the “latest” songs (depending on what was reigning before we resumed at school; we had no access to the outside world once we got in, except a few hours on visiting day, but the focus was to stuff your face on those days as much as you could to be honest ).
But I digress.
So, on this blessed day, we decided to recite R. Kelly’s “Ignition”. A classic. There were only junior girls when we got there so we were singing at the top of our lungs, and didn’t notice when some senior boys started trickling in.
One of them cut into our reverie by saying “do you even know the meaning of what you’re singing?”
He was one of the non-scary seniors so we happily responded “yes na! It’s about cars!”
He laughed, like LAUGHED, and then asked us to describe how it’s about cars, so we, as naive as they come, described how it’s about the car key and the part next to the steering wheel and how they come together to turn on the car. We were even feeling smug.
He then likened the car key to our vague memory of the male genitalia from biology class and slowly but surely…the penny dropped.
We actually gasped and held our mouths as the realization that we had been singing bad songs dawned on us, all whilst he and his friends that had joined the conversation were cackling away haha.
But I consider myself lucky; I got to learn by word of mouth as compared to a practical “class” that many other young people experience because they simply don’t know what is going on.
And this is why I advocate for sexual education. Not the type I had in biology class, but the type that actually explains what it is, so that children aren’t taken advantage of by virtue of their lack of knowledge. I know many people are adverse to it thinking it will “spoil” their children but the truth is, if they’re going to find out somehow, and sooner than you’d like to believe, why not control the narrative ahead?
Just my two cents.
Till next time,
Dr. ETP xo