Today I am driving through Denmark – all the way from the tippy-toppiest northern city down to Germany.
I hope you’ll come along on the ride with me as I ponder sexuality education here – which is very different from in the US! They’re actually undergoing a massive shift in Denmark, from a contraceptives-based-sex-education to a here’s-how-you-have-babies-sex-education.
Sexuality education has been required in Denmark for elementary school on up since the 1970’s, and they’ve been pretty forthright about the content. But recently shifting demographics, most notably declining birth rates, are prompting the shift.
According to an article from last October, it’s not just that people are choosing to have fewer children, but that infertility is dramatically rising. Ten percent of babies are born only after fertility treatment. (I couldn’t find apples-to-apples comparison numbers for the US, but I did find that 1.5% of US babies are born after IVF treatment, which is the most common form of medical intervention for infertility.) Part of the issue, it seems, is that Danish women are waiting until later in life to have babies.
The Danish Family Planning Association is the primary driving force behind the curricular shift. Looking into the organization, after reading about their curricular decisions, gave me hope in the human race. That is not an understatement. Here is what they say first in the About Us section of their website:
Every sexual action should be free from coercion and disease, every pregnancy wanted, and every birth healthy – in Denmark and in the rest of the World. This has been at heart of the work of the Danish Family Planning Association throughout the past 50 years.
YES PLEASE. I want more of that. So much more of that.
In fact, I want more babies born with that goal as a primary guide for a powerful national organization. I love that The Danish Family Planning Association is a member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation. I feel a little closer to them by affiliation.
So I will look around happily as I traverse through Denmark. Knowing that their sexuality education is, at the highest levels at least, in good hands.
(Learn more about The Danish Family Planning Association here. Click on the little British flag in the top right corner to get an English language, and less interesting, version of the website.)