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Letter to the editor

Dear Editor,

I read your article on teenagers watching pornography at school with interest; the issue is of concern to all of us. I doubt that those who watch porn do not have questions for themselves about whether it is harmful or helpful.

I could not agree more with the education experts suggesting better sex education.

A “good sex education” could mean different things for people with different beliefs in morals, different professional backgrounds, and different religious groups.

Morals shape the way people think about how a society should handle sex education or talking about sex, at least in public. A religious group may be talking about sex education as to advise young people to be abstinent.

Some believe that the best way to help young people avoiding those “immoral activities” is to not to talk about sex at all. Others who have education in medicine tend to talk more about preventing diseases such as HIV/AIDS or unwanted pregnancy.

But there is a lot of reluctance for educators to address the daily concerns of young people’s sexuality: the type of sex education which enables young people to make informed decision and to act responsibly for their own well being and that of others.

Many of the concerns about sex among young people sound simple, but their impact could be silently devastating. For example, people could be unaware that the breaking of the hymen does not always cause bleeding during a first penetrative sexual encounter.

We can imagine what will happen when a new couple, who do not see bleeding during their first encounter,and fall into suspicion and mistrust for their whole marriage.

Young people who live in urban areas talk more about how their body looks and not about how healthy they are; young male including the grown up perpetuate a lot about myths related to negative impacts of masturbation.

There is little chance for them to receive accurate information which based on science and not on morals, despite the fact that science confirms this practice is helpful rather than harmful.

A comprehensive sexuality education may not lead to reduction of watching pornography. But it does lead to high esteem and self-value, with young people feeling positive about who they are and respectful of others – all of these are the elements of a productive and good citizen.

Dr Var Chivorn, Reproductive Health Association of Cambodia (RHAC)



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