LAST_UPDATEMon, 25 Jun 2018 11pm

Is Sex Education Vital?

For illustration purposes onlyFor illustration purposes onlyPETALING JAYA: Diet and exercise cannot control sex hormones, said National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN) acting director general Dr Anjli Panalal Doshi.

Anjli said this in response when asked whether adolescents can be taught ways to control their hormones and by doing so, prevent themselves from having to deal with unwanted pregnancies.

“There is no way we can control sex hormones as it is naturally released by the brain. These hormones made us into females and males physically and give us sexual feelings.

“The sexual feelings are there lying dormant and becomes obvious when a person is stimulated by various conditions such as watching pornography and being in close contact with a partner,” she said.

However, Anjli said that sex education is the best way to control sexual behavior as behavior can be controlled as opposed to feelings and emotions which cannot be controlled.

“One of the best ways to control sexual behavior is by deviating our mind into healthy physical exercises, religious activities and avoiding situations that lead to sexual arousal,” she said.

She further stressed that sex education is not about teaching how to have sexual intercourse, as some have unfortunately misunderstood.

“It teaches adolescents about the negative effects of teenage pregnancies and its complication which includes baby dumping and unsafe abortions,” she said.

She added that sex education should be a lifelong learning and must be taught accordingly.

“Sex education should be taught from home by parents or reliable trusted family members and reinforced by the school curriculum and programs by the relevant agencies,” she said.

Malaysian Association for Adolescent Health (MAAH) president Dr Nazeli Hamzah on the other hand explained that evidences from more than 52 countries have shown that family connectedness, school connectedness and strong spiritual belief protects against early sexual activity.

She added that especially for teens, choosing friends who engage in healthy activities is a protective factor.

She further opined that interventions need to be holistic in nature and must focus on building the resilience of individuals through life skills.

“At the micro level, everyone, including the individual, family, school and community must play a part in increasing protective factors.

“Also, the government, relevant agencies and civil societies must be really committed to address these issues holistically and effectively,” she said.

Explaining further, Nazeli said the media plays an important role to educate and empower teens and the public with good values, correct information and appropriate skills.

“But sad to say, currently many of the dramas or movies aired do not shape our teens or society well. We need to produce and air more quality movies, dramas and programs that can empower teens healthily and positively,” she stressed.

Multi-factorial problem

MAAH vice-president Dr Mymoon Alias on the other hand said that hormones, diet and lack of sex education do in fact make teenagers become ‘wild’.

“However, the reasons are multi-causal so the remedial measures have to be multipronged,” she said, stressing that it is important for all sectors of society to be on board.

She opined that parents must have correct parenting skills and engage more with their teenaged child while neighbors play the role of watch-dogs.

“Religious bodies must provide appropriate activities to distract teenagers from unhealthy activities and provide spiritual skills to control anger while schools must impart sex education as a compulsory and examinable subject,” she said.

She added that it is the state’s responsibility to regulate digital media regarding pornography and violence and to regulate unhealthy entertainment.

“Also, the government should adopt family-friendly policies, for example, regarding working hours for parents; all offices should be closed by 5pm to allow time for parents to engage with their children,” she said.

Meanwhile, MAAH committee member Dr Mohamad Haniki Nik Mohamed said that it all boils down to practicing prevention from nearing sinful acts.

“All religions have outlined the way to live so that the individual will be successful here and hereafter. Hence, parents should be equipped with the knowledge on how to become responsible parents who will then shape the adolescents.

“When the values are not instilled as the foundation, our adolescents will easily crumble and fall, giving in to forbidden temptations,” he said.

He added that since this is the root of the problem, until and unless it is fixed, no amount of sexual education will solve the issue.

- Alyaa Azhar / Free Malaysia Today