Sexuality: teenagers are more informed by the Internet than by school

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    In the absence of sufficient sex education sessions at school, despite being provided for by law, adolescents turn to the Internet, and sometimes pornography, to learn about sexuality.

    “Before the Third, we didn’t talk about it at all”testifies Louise, 15, in Second in Lot-et-Garonne. “This year, nurses came to class”but “I think it should be done sooner”, she thinks, “some had preconceived ideas”.

    Since 2001, the law provides that a “information and education on sexuality are provided in schools, colleges and high schools at the rate of at least three annual sessions”.

    A law “absolutely not applied”

    However, as underlined by a survey carried out by the feminist collective #NousToutes among more than 10,000 people, published at the beginning of the year, this obligation is not “absolutely not applied”. Respondents say they have not benefited “on average only 13%” the number of scheduled sessions, i.e. 2.7 instead of 21 for the entire course.

    “There are no scheduled slots” and “the teachers are not trained”explains Diane Richard, member of the collective, for whom the courses are “very biology oriented” and little about “affective relationships”.

    In fact, these interventions often come down to SVT (Life and Earth Sciences) teachers, school nurses, family planning workers or other associations.

    But the equation is difficult. “We have less and less institutionalized time”to talk about it in parallel with the programs, deplores David Boudeau, president of the APBG (Association of professors of biology-geology) and teacher of SVT.

    Same story on the side of the nurses. “It was already insufficient before, but with the health crisis, there is a whole generation for whom it is a problem” because “what was stripped in school was health education”notes Saphia Guereschi, general secretary of Snics-FSU, the majority union of school nurses.

    However, for her, these sessions are “primordial”. “Young people really need to have access to simple and reassuring health education”she considers. “Talking about your own sexuality or your questions to your parents is very difficult”.

    Get information on the Internet

    How to flirt? What are the signs of sexual pleasure? Questions difficult to verbalize. For Syrine, 16, high school student in the Paris region, who mainly gets information through her reading, “It’s natural, I don’t see why we would make it a taboo”.

    To find answers, most teenagers explore the internet on their smartphones, see health professionals and associations. Forums, specialized sites or Instagram accounts like “You enjoyed” and “I don’t give a fuck about the clit” : the resources are multiple and of various quality.

    Result, “teenagers are very informed but not always well informed, you have to sort it out”, says Sarah Durocher, co-president of Family Planning, which works in 3,000 establishments a year. “These spaces that we create, where they can ask what information they have had, question it and criticize it, it’s very important”.

    Boys and girls also turn to pornography, easily accessible on the internet, although the penal code prohibits exposing minors to this type of image. Several sites have recently been ordered to comply with the law. And, justice will examine on May 24 the total blocking of five of them, who did not react to this injunction.

    “Gentlemen’s Pleasure”

    Léa, 20, remembers that “already a lot” middle school students resorted to porn, conveying the idea of ​​sexuality “focused solely on the pleasure of gentlemen”.

    For the clinical psychologist, Béatrice Copper-Royer, pornography sends teenagers a vision “very reductive” sexuality, “performance-based” and the submission of women. “The girls feel like they have to bend to these dogmas, they are often far from their desires, it’s worrying”.

    The feminist association En Avant Tout(s) makes a similar observation. “As there are no benchmarks, no models of healthy sexuality, young people do not know what is normal or not”describes his spokesperson Louise Delavier.

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    Sexuality: teenagers are more informed by the Internet than by school

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