Minister Mohammad Nuh can’t say “sex”. He thinks it’s a taboo-word. He can’t stand people using the word and he himself will never pronounce it. So, if there is no escape at all, he spells it: s-e-x. I’m afraid if he would ever listen to this musical “Hair” song, he would have a fit.
This minister is the country’s man in charge of Culture and Education.
Last week he rejected a proposal to introduce sex education at school. A subject which has been badly missing if we look at the number of teenage-pregnancies, the numerous incidents of sexual harassment at school, at the workplace and in the public domain, the huge consumption of porn, the growing amount of STD victims, the considerable male and female prostitution industry and the alarming number of rapes. Not to mention the muffled suffering in countless marital bedrooms.
All that may well indicate a serious omission in youth-education on sexual matters. I admit formal education will not be the ultimate solution, but it definitely would be a great help.
I myself missed such a reliable education in my youth. My world was riddled with Mohammed Nuhs at the time. So some odd seventy years ago, in my childhood, when I was six, seven years old, Dutch society was as prudish as mr Nuh is today. We, I, satisfied curiosity about the tiny differences between the sexes by secret and guilty but pretty innocent mutual physical explorations with a few age peers – girls and boys. And later on by getting more and more streetwise. That is of course apart from the very scanty information our parents- who shunned calling a spade a spade – gave us on the subject.
It’s a miracle most of us as grown ups became decent and able lovers after all.
In 2012 my favourite minister obviously thinks my rough sexual education was and still is the best. He doesn’t think formal education institutions should step in. He rightly points to recent protests by some conservative parents who objected to pretty innocent educational material on reproduction. But perhaps he himself also belongs to those people in charge who act by their motto “Don’t bother me with facts, I’ve made up my mind” as soon as they meet with something they don’t like. Otherwise the way he evades the existence of these important problems would be incomprehensible .
Anyway, he had a remarkable way to justify his position on sex: “According to our traditions, it is indecent to talk about it, and that is my standpoint. I don’t believe we need that yet”. Elsewhere he put forward another unconvincing argument: “We didn’t get education on reproduction when we were children“. It also applies to me, but I draw the opposite conclusions from it.
So, what you’re actually saying, mr minister?
Something like : if you don’t mention it, it doesn’t exist? Or do you imply that in spite of your ignorance on sexuality you managed to father children? Maybe you even think that teaching, guidance and information will be counter effective and encourage teenagers to indulge in orgy, adultery or prostitution? In which case, wouldn’t it be better by the same logic to drop chemistry from junior and senior high school because it could teach the teenagers to make bombs. Which craft on its turn could tempt them to join terrorists?
I would recommend mr Mohammed Huh to check the facts and learn the nasty lyrics of the Sodomy song by heart . After he can say “sodomy, fellatio, cunnilingus,pederasty and masturbation” without fainting, he will perhaps be able to produce policies that will help to curb unwanted pregnancies, protect against sexual predators and banish sexual harassment.
* A Rotaprint by Dutch graphic artist Aat Veldhoen. As a poor student I bought several of his affordable erotic etchings which still are on the wall of my study.