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'I’m a sexpert: Here's why you need to start talking to your kids about sex'

Debbie Bere (left) is a sexpert and has urged parents to start having conversations with their children about sex education from young. (SWNS/Getty Images)
Debbie Bere (left) is a sexpert and has urged parents to start having conversations with their children about sex education from young. (SWNS/Getty Images)

A sex expert - also known as a "sexpert" - has weighed in on the UK government’s new proposals to give parents the right to view sex education content from schools.

Debbie Bere, who runs sex education workshops in schools around the country, welcomed the move but added that sex education should start at home.

It comes after education secretary Gillian Keegan wrote to all schools in England to tell them to share material from the Relationship, Sex and Health Education curriculum with the parents of their pupils.

The minister said in a statement that parents "must be empowered to ask and schools should have the confidence to share".

But Bere, 34, from Tiverton in Devon, warned that no teachers are going "out of their way" to teach things outside of the curriculum and parents often turn to her for help.

She encouraged parents to start having conversations about sex and body parts with their children "basically from birth". The sexpert said her own children, aged five and seven, already know how to use a condom.

Debbie Bere says her own children, aged five and seven, often ask her questions about body parts and it's 'normal' for her family to talk openly about sex. (SWNS)
Debbie Bere says her own children, aged five and seven, often ask her questions about body parts and it's 'normal' for her family to talk openly about sex. (SWNS)

She told SWNS: "I always have a queue of people asking me how to talk about this at home, which is great, I’m glad to see it’s changed from our day. We need to teach kids young what vulva is, what a penis is, and what a scrotum is.

"People like to give them nicknames, but you don’t give any other part of your body a nickname - this makes it taboo, which it shouldn’t be."

Bere also teaches mother-daughter lessons on periods and said the classes are great for preparing young girls for their periods before they get them.

She said that, although the curriculum designates the age of 11 as appropriate to start conversations about reproduction, it is better for them to learn about it earlier. Girls attending her period lessons start from the age of eight.

"At age nine in schools we talk about sperm and eggs, which is good, but again these kinds of conversations should be had just in the same way as we talk to kids about diet or exercise," she said. "I have bowl of condoms on the side, I have a vulva cushion, and my kids know how to put on a condom.

"We are not a sexualised family - it’s just normal. The kids will just say ‘oh mum got a delivery of condoms today'.

A woman's hand holding out an open condom package with a condom on top of it
Sex education at home can include teaching your child how to use a condom. (Getty Images)

"My seven-year-old asks loads of questions - he was concerned about what happens if someone needs a wee while they are wearing one! It’s not an issue to me that kids see that. It’s really matter-of-fact. They know how to put Sudacream on so why not this - it’s just another health thing."

Bere also believes that the key to good sex education is breaking down taboos around sex from as young an age as possible.

“We want people to be comfortable and open, then they will be more likely to be sexually positive and respectful," she said. “Some people think I have a weird agenda, which isn’t true, the only agenda I have is normalising these really awkward situations.”

Lucy Emmerson, chief executive of the Sex Education forum, told the BBC that parents are mostly supportive of RSHE lessons and that they have always encouraged “meaningful engagement between schools and parents”.

“Regular communication between school and home helps parents anticipate what is being covered,” she said. “When schools and parents work together, the benefits of RSHE are greatest. We want everyone involved in the delivery of RSHE, to have confidence in these lessons.”

Keegan’s letter to English schools comes as the government is set to review how sex education is taught in schools, after MPs raised concern that children were being exposed to “inappropriate” content.

The Department for Education (DfE) is due to launch a public consultation into the curriculum, which aims to teach pupils in primary schools the “key building blocks of healthy, respectful relationships” as part of the national curriculum.

Pupils in secondary schools “should be taught the facts and the law about sex, sexuality, sexual health and gender identity in an age-appropriate and inclusive way”.

Additional reporting by SWNS

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