‘Too much information in Swiss sex ed’

Olivier Fleury, an evangelical Christian, has sparked debate in Switzerland after he objected to the level of detail provided to his 14-year-old son during a recent sex education class at a school in Vaud.

'Too much information in Swiss sex ed'
Francesco Perre

In addition to information about how to put condoms on properly, the class was also advised that the anus is the next most sensitive part of a man’s body after the penis, online news website Le Matin reported.

Such information, according to Fleury, can push kids to engage in impure practices.

“If you tell them the anus is an erogenous zone, don’t you think they’re going to try it?” he asked. 

Instead of discussing the mechanics of sex, Fleury wants schools to focus more on the emotional and moral aspects, as well as on safety issues such as how to prevent the transmission of AIDS.

His comments in the newspaper of the Federal Democratic Union of Switzerland, a small Christian party, have kicked off a vibrant debate on Swiss web forums this week.

But his son’s school said it was only following the curriculum and had no plans to change its approach, newspaper Le Matin reported.

Eva Fernandez, from the association Ciao that advises adolescents on a number of issues, believes young people need concrete facts about sex, however unpalatable these may be to some parents.

“In two clicks, young people have access to thousands of porn sites on the internet. Good luck then, after that, trying to explain to them about the birds and the bees,” she said.

The FDU however insists that sex education should be the domain of parents rather than schools.

Plans by a teacher training centre in entral Switzerland to teach on topics such as anal sex, oral sex and sex with a same-sex partner are considered particularly outrageous.

It’ss all too close to pornography, the FDU says. 

“Are there actually paedophiles or porn-addicted sex-educators at work here?” the organisation asks.

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‘Sex box’ initiative fails after paedophile scandal

A popular initiative seeking to shield children from “sexualization in pre-schools and primary schools” has failed to obtain sufficient signatures.

'Sex box' initiative fails after paedophile scandal
YouTube Screenshot

The initiative obtained less than half of the 100,000 signatures required within the statutory time period, according to a Federal Chancellery notice.

Soon after the launch of the initiative, it emerged that one of the campaign’s driving forces, 60-year-old Benjamin Spühler, had previously been convicted of sexually abusing a young girl, newspaper Blick reported.

Spühler was sentenced in 1996 to three and a half years in prison for regularly abusing a girl aged between 12 and 15 years old, Blick reported in April.

“It is clearly not on to have such a person fronting the campaign,” 38-year-old Sebastian Frehner of the Swiss People’s Party and co-president of the initiative committee told the newspaper.

The initiative had its roots in the canton of Basel City, which came to media attention with reports of “sex boxes” being used as educational tools. The boxes contained various materials for teaching young children about sex, including wooden replicas of penises and fabric vaginas.

The guide included with the kit instructed pre-school teachers to “show that contacting body parts can be pleasurable.” It also recommended having children massage each other or to rub themselves with warm sand bags, all accompanied by soft music.

The Basel City Parents Committee argued that the materials were pornographic, and said giving children such tuition when they are so young serves only to sexualize them at an unnecessarily early age.

The proponents of the initiative wanted to prevent children younger than nine from being taught any sex education at all, although certain education relating to child abuse would be permitted. From ages nine to twelve, the committee wanted sex education to be non-compulsory so that families could choose to either opt in or out.

From age twelve onwards, children would receive education about sex and reproduction during biology lessons, which the initiators argued is the proper place for such instruction.

Although the campaign has withered this time, initiators have not given up and intend to relaunch the petition at a later date.