By Tim Montgomerie
“That leave be given to bring in a Bill to require schools to provide certain additional sex education to girls aged between 13 and 16; to provide that such education must include information and advice on the benefits of abstinence from sexual activity; and for connected purposes.”
Note: The Tory MP for Mid Bedfordshire is not saying abstinence should be the only message for children but that it should be part of the overall message. Our schools should be saying to children – bombarded by a culture that encourages sexual experimentation – that it's okay to wait and that there can be big benefits from doing so.
Ms Dorries quoted Joan Bakewell, now a Labour peer, and her analysis of what TV throws at us in prime time: “A typical prime time hour contains 2.6 references to intercourse, 1.2 references to prostitution and rape, 4.7 sexual innuendos, 1.8 kisses and 1 suggestive gesture. Not to mention internet, phones.”
Here is a key extract from Ms Dorries' speech:
"One fact which is constantly ignored by society is that peer pressure is a key contributor to early sexual activity amongst the children in our country. Society is focused on sex; our sex education teaches children how to have sex not how to say no to it. We ignore, at our peril, that many boys and girls feel pressured into having intercourse when actually they need to be given their childhood back. In our sex education programmes we need to promote the notion of abstinence and all the advantages that it brings- self-respect, no relational mistakes, no sexual disease, no unplanned pregnancies. It needs to be seen as a real alternative to ‘safe sex’ options. We need to be teaching our children to wait – or at least promoting this as a viable and real option. Until the notion of abstinence becomes more normalised in our schools nothing will change."
The full text of Nadine Dorries' prepared remarks in which she set out the dangers of early sexual experiences and also the limited effectiveness of existing programmes can be read as a PDF here.
In a division 67 MPs voted for Ms Dorries TMRB and 61 against.