Well, if all of this article is correct, the famous Dutch openness in sex education is enough to make every Australian parent I know squirm:
Next year, 12-year-old Sasha explains to me, they will learn how to put a condom on a broomstick (she says this without a trace of embarrassment, just a polite smile). Across the city, nine-year-old Marcus, who lives in a beautiful 18th-century house on a canal, has been watching a cartoon showing him how to masturbate. His sister, 11, has been writing an essay on reproduction and knows that it is legal for two consenting 12-year-olds to make love. Her favourite magazine, Girls, gives advice on techniques in bed, and her parents sometimes allow her to stay up to see a baby being born on the birthing channel.Such mind-boggling openness is what is often credited for the remarkably low teen pregnancy and abortion rate in the country. And it's not that they are having "safe sex" early either: they actually start much later on average too.
Then there is Yuri, 16, who explains to me in perfect English that “anal sex hurts at the beginning but if you persevere it can be very pleasurable”. When I ask whether he is gay, he says “no” but he has watched a documentary on the subject with his parents.
The article becomes less salacious when it starts discussing the other social reasons why teen pregnancy is not so common there, and oddly enough, these are consistent with a more conservative ideology:
Another reason why the teenage pregnancy rate is so low may be that in the Netherlands there is still a stigma attached to having a child before the age of 20. In Britain, a baby who can offer unconditional love, a free home away from parents and a cheque every month is not considered a disaster for a teenage girl. The Dutch Government still penalises single mothers under 18, who are expected to live with their parents if they become pregnant. Until six years ago the Government gave them no financial support. ...The other reason given is that families are closer because they are somewhat similar to the much derided ideal of a 1950's Australian nuclear family:
Braeker was shocked when she first came to Britain. “Young girls here seem to have babies to prove that they are adults. In the Netherlands it would just prove how uneducated and naive you are,” she says. “There you can have a boy as a friend, here it's almost always about sex.”
Dutch children are five times less likely to be living in a family headed by a lone parent, divorce rates are far lower and fewer mothers are in full-time employment.Mind you, we then veer into the hard-to-believe openness again:
“I think my eight-year-old son has probably learnt more about sex from David Attenborough than from school,” she says. “It is the family that makes the difference. Parents leave the office by 5pm in Holland and eat dinner with their children at 6pm. They then watch TV or play sport together, so they tend to be closer to their children and can guide them to do the right thing.”
Trudie, a fashion stylist, has always talked about sex with her daughter. When, at 16, her daughter asked her what sperm looked like, Trudie asked her husband to provide a sample.Bloody hell, whatever happened to having a couple of mice in a cage to teach the kids about reproduction?
Well, here's hoping that its possible to have the social change of kids believing that it's dumb to have sex too early, but without the addition of masturbation videos for 9 year olds.