SEXtember: Dear parents, please talk to us about sex
THE findings of a survey conducted by Trinity College Foundation Studies students Sasha Siew and Marika Hall may encourage Asian parents to step up and make sex education part of their everyday conversations around the dinner table.
Sex. It might be the last word you would expect to hear at the dinner table. For Asian families especially, a parent-child conversation about sex is a rare occurrence and many kids would not even dare to mention it altogether in family get-togethers.
A taboo topic
A survey of 28 students from Trinity College Foundation Studies aged 16 to 19 and predominantly from Asia, found more than 60 per cent of student have never had a conversation about sex with their parents.
Students said they were reluctant to talk about sex at home because they found it awkward. Students also reported feeling a sense a shame for broaching the topic of sex.
A staggering 90 per cent of students however, said they would like to see “better communication between parents and their children about sex”.
Where then do students turn to for sex education?
Hesitant to ask their parents, students turn to their peers for help. Nearly 60 per cent of students surveyed said they obtained information about sex from their friends.
In addition to the sex-education they received at school, the internet was another source of information for students.
One Australian parent we interviewed, said while many of the parents she knew were open to talking to their children about sex, some Australian parents still left sex education to the schools.
But from her point of view, it was important that parents shouldered the responsibility to educate their children about safe sex and the use of contraception. She said parents whose children were in a romantic relationship should be especially mindful, and protect their children against unwanted teenage pregnancy.
But more than that, parents also have the opportunity to impart important values, which children will not receive through sex education in school.
There may be a case for Asian parents to introduce sex education at home. Almost 70 per cent of students surveyed said their parents advice about sex has or would have had a large impact on their attitudes towards sex.
With this in mind, perhaps teenagers also have a part to play in breaking this cultural taboo by gathering up the courage to begin a conversation about sex with their parents.