Christian lessons bad for teenagers' sexual education
Many reformed- and evangelical secondary schools in the Netherlands use the “sticky tape” metaphor in their sex education. The idea behind the metaphor is just like sticky tape sticks less each time you use it, you have less chance of forming binding relationships each time you switch sexual partners. The metaphor is part of the RIVM-approved teaching program, and that program is harmful to young people’s sexual education, sexologist Peter Leusink said to Pointer.
The sticky tape metaphor is part of the RIVM-accredited program Resilient in Sexuality (WISeducatie). Eleven reformed- and evangelical secondary school communities use the “Be-Loved” teaching program from WISeducatie, according to Pointer.
In the Be-Loved lessons, teachers tell students to stick a piece of tape to their arm and remove it toward the end of the lesson. “Ow, that hurts. And if you try to stick it on your arm again, you will notice that it is less easy.” That should demonstrate that sex with multiple partners can affect the “attachment system,” among other things.
According to WISeducatie, “the more often a relationship is broken, the less oxytocin the body will produce during intimacy.” So the more you have sex with different partners, the weaker the emotional attachment becomes, according to the lessons.
According to the general practitioner and sexologist of the Dutch Scientific Society for Sexology (NVVS), Peter Leusink, the tape metaphor is not in line with current scientific insights. It has never been demonstrated that frequent sex leads to a reduced ability to form meaningful relationships with others. It is also not true that the more often a relationship is broken, the less oxycontin your body produces.
WISeducatie also looks at the assumed differences between men and women and their implications on their sex lives. An outdated teacher’s manual described how women use sex to manipulate men’s lust, so they lose all objectivity. This version has been modified. The current teacher’s manual explains that boys usually develop sexual feelings automatically, but some girls must have those feelings awakened by having a sexual relationship. A quote from psychologist Martine Delfos explains that boys leave girls behind more easily because boys develop less oxycontin than girls. Boys can also disconnect sex from other important feelings more easily than women, according to the lessons.
According to Leusink, that part of the teaching program is harmful to the sexual education of young people because it is based on a double gender stereotype morality and not on scientific evidence. “The pronounced gender differences will limit boys and girls in their sexual development because they will discover that sexuality is more complex than ‘nature,’” he said. “Both men and women have the ability to disconnect and integrate sexual arousal and intimacy. This is not linked to gender. That has been established in studies.” It is also untrue that boys find it easier to leave girls behind. Men and women do not differ in their production of oxytocin after having an orgasm, he said.
WISeducatie told Pointer that it considers it important to communicate this highly polarized theme carefully, professionally, and transparently. “We try to shape sexuality education carefully and structurally and do not intend to make non-scientific statements in our learning paths. If this turns out to be the case, we will look into it carefully.”
WISeducatie said the sticky tape metaphor concerns the possible impact having sex can have. And the oxytocin statements are based on various scientific studies, WISeducatie said. The program said it leaves open whether the sexual differences between men and women are biological or societal.
The RIVM told Pointer that it stands by its recognition of the Be-Loved teaching method. The program is up for assessment in 2025, during which the RIVM will evaluate whether it is still relevant in the current social context and in line with the latest scientific insights. The RIVM said that not all Orthodox Christian school boards and parents accept teaching programs by Rutgers or SOA AIDS Nederland. According to the public health institute, WISeducatie tries to find a balance in this in order to reach Orthodox Christian schools.