Hugs out, sex in


New Year’s Eve in Argentina was memorable for many reasons, not least of which was the number of kisses.

We spent the evening at a party with extended family and friends. Everyone hugged and kissed everyone on arrival, everyone and kissed everyone at midnight and everyone kissed everyone on departure.

As we left my farmer said, “It’s a long time since I’ve kissed that many women and I’ve never kissed that many men.”

Argentineans, like many others whose culture comes from southern Europe, are much more tactile than most of us. It is normal for them to greet family and friends with a hug and a kiss. 

There’s nothing sexual or uncomfortable in it, it’s usually just a quick hug and air-kiss right cheek to right cheek so heads don’t get kncoked as you work out who’s going which way.

It is something we could do with more of but it looks like we’re going to have even less of it.

Whaleoil reports that hugs and holding hands have been banned at his daughter’s school.

Appar­ently a hug is a form of “sex­ual assault” if one per­son doesn’t want it. The “hug­ging issue” has become an issue because too many girls have been over-using the hug as a form of greet­ing.

Wouldn’t it be better to teach the children what’s appropriate and what’s not and how to stand up for yourself if you feel uncomfortable about what someone else is doing rather than an outright ban?

That is supposed to be one of the goals of sex education in schools although these days lessons go much further than that.

Children as young as 12 are being taught about oral sex and told it’s acceptable to play with a girl’s private parts as long as “she’s okay with it”.

In other cases, 14-year-old girls are being taught how to put condoms on plastic penises, and one female teacher imitated the noises she made during orgasm to her class of 15-year-olds . . .

It included a question-and-answer session that focused on, “I have learned that my girlfriend has a thing called a clitoris. I really want to play with it. Is that okay?” The answer was: “Yes, if you ask her and she’s okay with it.”

The story doesn’t say whether the teacher also pointed out that under the law it is not okay to have sex with anyone under 16.

It doesn’t mention whether the option of chastity is covered. Nor does it say whether lessons go beyond the physical to the emotional and gives pupils the sort of information that alerts them to the dangers of sexual experimentation – especially when they’re  young.

It’s one thing for schools to ensure children know the sexual road rules, basic mechanics and how to keep themselves safe. That doesn’t mean they should be teaching them to drive and showing them the route.

But lessons should include advice and strategies that help them postpone going to some destinations too soon and/or in the wrong company.

Difference between training and education


Professor Malcolm Grant, President and Provost of University College London, gave the address at this morning’s thanksgiving service for Waitaki Boys’ High School 125th reunion.

His theme was the difference between knowledge and wisdom and one of his points was how to differentiate between education and skills training.

He suggested we consider how we’d react if a daughter or grand daughter answered the question of what she’d done at school by saying she’d had sex education; then how we’d react if she’d said she’d had sex skills training.

Professor Grant started his address by referring to the school motto: Quanti Est Sapere, which I think translates as How Much Is Wisdom.

If I’ve got that wrong it’s a reflection on my memory and not Professor Grant’s mother, Vera, who taught me Latin at Waitaki Girls’.

While listening to this morning’s address I remembered that over the doors of rooms at what was called the Senior School building at Waitaki Girls’ (sadly demolished about 20 years ago) were quotes; one was relevant to this morning’s address (and I may not have this word perfect because it’s more than 30 years since I was a pupil): Knowledge is proud it knows so much, wisdom is humble it knows no more.

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