Education

Similar clouding as in medical policy is seen in sex and relationship education guidance for schools. The Department for Education’s guidance recognises the need to cater for boys but gives no guidance on how to do this or what to cover.    Read All About It!

During summer 2013 a number of politicians called for updating of sex education guidance and for it to be applicable for all schools, the latest version of the National Curriculum having dropped all mention of sexual health from science and excluding naming genitalia. The guidance is quite rightly specific about education for girls re menstruation, but says nothing, gives no language, of concern or consideration for boys. Incorporating simple things like foreskin prepuce hygiene (washing, retraction) and common anatomical conditions to be aware of – phimosis (foreskin too tight to retract), paraphimosis (retracted prepuce foreskin stuck and strangling the head) and frenulum breve (short slender frenulum), and dyspareunia, as applicable both for men, and for women (vaginismus) – and seek help and options as necessary (starting conservatively: stretching, preputal plasty, frenuloplasty) would be a significant step forward, and allow the worries of the likes of Anonymous Tim to be brought out. If a young man does not understand why he has difficulty forming intimate relationships with the opposite sex it is possible that the reason is that he has a hidden prepuce/frenulum problem; he has a consequent fear, subconscious or otherwise, or reality of difficulty, pain and physical injury to himself caused by the sex act itself.  Consequently he will lack confidence in that area and put up all sorts of subconscious barriers and avoidance tactics.  Giving weight to this by linking and educating intelligently with relevant religious, art, science and social education could, indeed, be very enlightening, liberating, harmonising.

Taking this further in terms of language to help with recognising and highlighting that there are alternatives to the historic binary options of men being foreskin prepuce intact or foreskin prepuce circumcised, the words ‘sectumsolution’ and ‘sectumsolved’ could be introduced, i.e. as meaning ‘cut free’, to describe the conservative procedures of preputal plasty and frenuloplasty which respond to the individual’s particular problem but keep the prepuce foreskin intact. Taking this further again into boyish colloquial language (though realising that such would not be advocated in formal educational terms), traditionally one was either a cavalier (prepuce foreskin intact) or a roundhead (prepuce foreskin circumcised). Without wishing to diminish anything of worth in JQuad or elsewhere, but acknowledging alternatives to the binary-thinking options, someone who is sectumsolved might be a ‘secret policeman’. So one would either be a cavalier, a roundhead or, indeed, a secret policeman. It would be worth giving some thought to this and supporting it as a further aid to communication for boys.