chapter  4
21 Pages

A Well-Kept Secret: Sex Education, Masturbation, and Public Health


Millions of dollars have been spent on developing and assessing (in-school and out-of-school) sex education programmes, and millions and millions of words have been spent on discussing, debating, and declaring what should and should not be included, when, by whom, how, and with what aims. It is one of the few areas of education in which people with no formal expertise whatsoever feel able to pontifi cate, in which research evidence is accepted or discarded by some policy-makers on the basis of whether they personally agree with it or not, and over which politicians can claim expertise (and ‘warrant’ their contributions) on the grounds that they have their own children or grandchildren, or that they have been teachers, or nurses, or that they were children themselves once, or that they once met one, etc., etc.