International Guidelines For Sex-Ed Spokesmodel?

With the recent release of a new UNESCO report advocating for and presenting
voluntary global guidelines for sex-ed, the time may be near where we consider
who we use as ambassadors to carry the message forward. Would it be unfeminist
to suggest a spokesmodel for the comprehensive sex-ed movement? What if she
were a different kind of spokesmodel? A free-thinking, unencumbered-by-politics
kind of a representative who, let’s face it, can grab the attention of those
conservative fellows who just cannot seem to let go of their overpowering
obsession with controlling the ways in which we discuss, present and teach
sex-ed in this country. 

Broadsheet’s Kate Harding blogged about the brilliant segment on Sean
Hannity’s "Great American Panel" Monday night in which Aubrey O’Day,
Playboy cover model and former P. Diddy girl-group almost-star, lays down the
cold, hard truth about sex-ed, for the boys.

O’Day’s demeanor is just perfect, as far as I’m concerned, when she counters
these older men almost squirming in their seats over the audacity of the report’s
guidelines for age-appropriate sexual health information. When Hannity turns
the topic to the old spin “They want to teach masturbation to five year olds!”
hysteria, all hell breaks loose:

Hannity: “It’s actually happening to the five year-olds!”

But O’Day reels them in so fluidly:

O’Day: “You boys never wondered about what you were doing and wished to be
educated about it earlier?…”

The hard-core conservative, anti-choice crowd is up
in arms
over the report, International Guidelines on Sexual Education which, according to UNESCO,

“are voluntary and
non-mandatory in character, provide educators with guidance on how children and
young people can best acquire the knowledge they need to protect themselves from
coercion, abuse and exploitation, unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted
infections, including HIV.”

Minnesota Citizens Concerned
For Life (MCCL) complains
that the report suggests that children should be “instructed” on how to become
abortion advocates and that 12- 15 year olds be informed about where and how to
obtain a legal abortion. And the web site,,
is home to a host of comments on the report, many of which seem to believe that
the mere discussion about sexual health and sexuality is “perverted.”  Screams one commenter in utter terror
over human sexuality,

“No 5 year old has the
“right” to play with themselves! You teach them to keep their hands out of
their pants not in them.”

UNESCO, however, explains
the impetus for creating the “evidence- and rights-based” guidelines
, “Reducing HIV infection in young people and improving their sexual and
reproductive health require effective education programmes. However, such
programmes are still not available in many parts of the world. UNESCO and its
partners have now developed new guidelines to address this problem.”

Aubrey O’Day, my new vote
for sex-ed spokesmodel (grammatical errors be damned) said it best, “How is education
robbing a child of their

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  • johannahatch

    Good on Aubrey O’Day! Seems like Hannity brought her on for a gag (“Oh, look, a Playboy model!! Ha ha!!”) and she totally became the voice of reason.

  • amie-newman

    The surprising way in which she addressed this issue and spoke directly to these guys, on such a personal level, and yet with such clarity was just brilliant to watch. I loved it as well. Thanks!

    Amie Newman

    Managing Editor, RH Reality Check

  • crowepps

    I had to have that masturbation discussion about “privacy” with both of my kids as soon as they were potty trained and the disappearance of the diaper let them discover what felt good. I’d bet that any kid who claims he/she “knew nothing about sex” at five had a mother who gave a lot of hard smacks to the hands for “touching dirty places” between 18 months and two years. No wonder this guy is so weird!!

  • amie-newman

    is wrong with teaching children that masturbation and touching oneself is healthy and good? In fact, it is a parental responsibility, as far as I’m concerned to teach our children that touching oneself is positive and normal, and a private activity to be done by yourself. Masturbation is a terrifying conceptual idea to conservatives because it’s purely about sexual pleasure – at least with sex they can claim that it’s sort of a necessary evil in order to procreate (don’t have fun, do it only when you’re married, and only then to make babies!).

    People are sexual beings from birth until death and therefore we have a responsibility to explain to our children, in an age-appropriate way, what their bodies may be experiencing at different stages of their growth. Infants sometimes masturbate (but don’t tell Sean Hannity – he’ll want to create some kind of iron diaper) – and five year-olds? Of course they’re exploring their own bodies. Sexuality is a part of life!
    For what it’s worth, crowepps, I had a similar experience with my children and they have always felt completely secure in asking me many questions about their bodies. Education and knowledge = confidence and health.

    Thanks for the comment, crowepps!

    Amie Newman

    Managing Editor, RH Reality Check

  • kate-harding

    I appreciate the shout-out, but Tracy Clark-Flory wrote the Broadsheet post in question. :)