To Each His Own: More Sex Educators Wanted in Finnish Schools

The current state of sex education in the Nordic country has been described as "arbitrary," resulting in insufficient or incorrect information, which causes problems later in life.

Youth sex education in Finland is deficient and should be improved, the Sexpo Foundation, which promotes sexual well-being, argued.

Sexpo board chair Tiia Forsström called the current state of youth sex education "arbitrary" and urged Finnish schools to hire a trained sex educator each, which, it argued, should be a written goal for the next government, national broadcaster Yle reported.

"Politicians haven't understood the importance of sexuality for well-being. One central tool for achieving this would be high-quality sexual education," Forsström explained. "These are political resource questions. The goal of having a sex educator in each school doesn't require loads of extra resources," she went on.

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Sexpo sex education teacher Patricia Thesleff argued that insufficient or incorrect information causes problems for many people, young and old alike.

"At Sexpo, we're often asked 'Am I good the way that I am?' or 'am I normal?' With sexuality, people often try to compartmentalize themselves and others," Thesleff said.

By contrast, good sex education can prevent problems from accumulating and developing into larger issues, Thesleff said, stressing the importance of identifying young people in need of support and information.

According to Thesleff, sex education should cover topics other than just the basics, such as the risks of sexually transmitted diseases and the importance of birth control.

"Sex education doesn't mean teaching students how to have sex. It means identifying and respecting your own and others' boundaries and identifying all the different body parts," Thesleff explained.

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Forsström ventured that while sexual education isn't the sole responsibility of schools, they nevertheless do have a good opportunity to ensure that all young people receive proper information about sex.

According to Sexpo, sex educators could be easily and cost-effectively trained, whether it's a school teacher or nurse.

Founded in 1969 to promote sexual well-being in Finland, the Sexpo Foundation offers services ranging from counseling and therapy to training and education on the subject of sexuality and family relationships.

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