Saying goodbye to the birds and the bees

Updated 2017-04-17 16:01:01 China Daily
Wu Ling, a sex education teacher at Xingzhi Primary School in Beijing's Daxing district, teaches her students about women's bodies and menstruation.Photos By Zou Hong / China Daily

Wu Ling, a sex education teacher at Xingzhi Primary School in Beijing's Daxing district, teaches her students about women's bodies and menstruation.Photos By Zou Hong / China Daily

Despite criticism that a sex education textbook is too graphic, parents and professionals have united in its defense.

"Every time I express my belief that sex education should begin at primary school level, many of my friends are stunned, almost open mouthed. They say 'Oh, my goodness! How can we allow these innocent kids to learn about sex?'" said Li Ming, a sex education teacher at Xingzhi Primary School in the Beijing's Daxing district.

Recently, the school has been targeted as a result of its use of a sex education textbook, even though it was published 10 years ago.

Some critics complain that the book is too graphic because it includes illustrations of genitalia, full penetration and menstruation.

"Many people believe the stereotype that sex education is simply about sexual intercourse," Li said. In fact, the book's 12 volumes - whose collective name translates as Cherishing Life - are intended for students from grades one to six. The books cover six themes, including family and friends, life skills, gender and rights, sexuality and healthy behavior.

Despite widespread support for the book, some parents remain unconvinced.

"Some knowledge of sexual activity and contraceptives is included in the textbook for children at grades five and six. I'm concerned that knowing this sort of information will encourage children to try sex even earlier," Apple, the mother of a 3-year-old girl, wrote on her Weibo account.

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