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The Importance of Sex Education

The Importance of Sex Education: Insights from Dr Amanda Gummer

In recent discussions about the education system, the plan to ban sex education for children under the age of 9 in schools has surfaced.

However, our very own child psychologist, Dr Amanda Gummer, strongly argues against this notion, emphasising the vital role sex education plays in children’s development and wellbeing.


Why Sex Education Should Not Be Banned

Sex education is essential for providing children with accurate information about their bodies, relationships, and sexual health. Without this knowledge, children are more likely to turn to unreliable sources, such as online pornography, which can lead to harmful misconceptions.

Dr Amanda Gummer explains,

“Children are naturally curious about their bodies and relationships. If we don’t provide them with the right information in a safe and structured environment, they will seek it elsewhere, often with damaging consequences.”


The Dangers of Learning from Pornography

The internet is rife with explicit content that is easily accessible to children. Exposure to pornography at a young age can distort a child’s understanding of sex, relationships, and consent.

Dr Gummer highlights the risks:

“Pornography often portrays unrealistic and harmful behaviours. Children who learn about sex through these sources may develop skewed perceptions about what is normal and acceptable in a relationship.”

Research supports this concern.

According to a 2022 report into Young People and Pornography by the UK Children’s Commissioner,

10% of children have seen pornography by age nine, and 27% by age 11.

The same report found that,

over 9 in 10 children have been exposed to porn online by the age of 14, with 79% encountering violent pornography before turning 18.

These early exposures can lead to issues such as increased aggression, anxiety, and poor mental health outcomes.


The Role of Comprehensive Sex Education

Factual sex education equips children with the tools to understand and navigate their developing bodies in a healthy way. It covers crucial topics such as the physical and emotional changes during puberty, and as children get older, more complex issues around consent, respect in releationships

Dr Gummer states,

“Comprehensive sex education is not just about the mechanics of sex. It’s about teaching children how to have healthy, respectful relationships and to understand their own and others’ boundaries.”


A 2023 study by UNESCO found that ,

comprehensive sex education can significantly reduce risky sexual behaviours, delay the onset of sexual activity, and increase the use of contraception among young people.

Moreover, a report by the Guttmacher Institute indicated that,

students who received quality sex education were less likely to experience teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.


Building a Safe Environment

Parents and educators play a critical role in creating an environment where children feel comfortable discussing these topics.

Dr Gummer encourages open communication:

“It’s important for children to feel that they can ask questions and discuss their concerns without fear of judgment or punishment. This openness helps prevent the shame and secrecy that often accompany misinformation.”



To ensure the safety and healthy development of children, several steps can be taken:

1. Maintain and Enhance Sex Education Programs: Schools should continue to offer comprehensive sex education that is age-appropriate and scientifically accurate.
2. Support for Parents and Educators: Provide resources and training to help parents and teachers communicate effectively with children about sexual health and relationships.
3. Stronger Online Protections: Implement stricter regulations to control children’s access to online pornography and harmful content.


Banning sex education would leave children vulnerable to misinformation and harm.

As Dr Amanda Gummer concludes,

“Education is the most powerful tool we have to protect our children and help them grow into healthy, respectful adults. We must not take it away from them.”

By prioritising comprehensive sex education, we can ensure that children receive the knowledge they need to make informed, respectful, and safe choices throughout their lives.