Teach 5-Year-Olds About Masturbation, Says U.N.
The U.N.'s Economic, Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is recommending that children as young as five receive sexual education using a curriculum that includes information about contraception, STDs, and masturbation.
In a 98-page report titled "International Guidelines on Sexual Education," the UNESCO says it is “essential to recognize the need and entitlement of all young people to sexuality education” and insists that the program is "age appropriate."
But not everyone is convinced that children ought to be taught about sexuality at such a young age. And topics like masturbation, STDs and contraception (which is included in material deemed appropriate for 9-to-12 year olds), and abortion (which the report said older children should learn about) are especially sensitive areas, given the strong religious and moral objections some people have to those subjects.
Critics say it's exposing kids to sex far too early, and offers up abstract ideas — like "transphobia" — they might not even understand. "At that age they should be learning about ... the proper name of certain parts of their bodies," said Michelle Turner, president of Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum, "certainly not about masturbation."
Other topics listed in the guidelines include gender roles, gender stereotypes, gender-based violence, the parenting of children by individuals of diverse ethnicity, religions, and sexualities, and the role of culture in transmitting attitudes about sexuality.
The UNESCO said the guidelines were co-authored by two leading sexuality education experts, Dr. Doug Kirby, an adolescent sexuality expert, and Nanetter ecker, a former director at the U.S. Sexuality Information and Education Council, after drawing upon 87 studies from around the world.