• lisa

the birds & the bees / カナダ vs 日本の性教育

Being a Japanese-Canadian, I find it interesting the differences and the similarities between sexual education and its culture in Japan and Canada.


I approached this topic with a lot of caution. Sex is personal, education is personal, and I’m discussing two completely different cultures! I realized this when I first Googled “Japanese sexual education,” and was shocked to find not that much information, aside from porn videos.


Sex education is so important for young people to learn. Learning about sex in a positive and informative way can shape an individual’s perceptions of their bodies, their partners, and their lives.


I went to high school in Ontario, Canada. The education I got regarding sex was very abstinence oriented. I distinctly remember my teacher telling the girls gym class in that musty old room that the best form of contraception was to NOT have sex at all. Now let’s be realistic here. This middle-aged gym teacher is telling a room full of 16 year old girls to not have sex, to be almost ashamed of having sexual encounters and to encourage a culture based on puritan-like values.


Basically, Canada’s sex education policy up until recently has been one of abstinence-based approaches, like the one I received in high school. However, we did learn the basics such as how to use a condom (the classic banana on the condom day was always hilarious and awkward), male and female anatomy, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and different forms of birth control. However, as I approached this topic, I realized many important things were missing from this curriculum. I noticed there was hardly any discussion regarding LGBTQ+ sexual relations, aside from a BRIEF discussion on anal sex, and masturbation. I was never taught consent culture. Maybe it was brought up once, but definitely not enough.


(image from tumblr)

This is dangerous. By eliminating certain topics off of a sex ed agenda for high school students, the administration is putting students at risk not just in terms of sexual relations but in terms of body image and self-esteem issues, the lack of awareness regarding consent culture, female empowerment (i.e. pregnancy scares and what to do if you want an abortion), and a lack of representation involving the entire range of gender and identities.