Fourteen-year-olds in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), the most-populous state in Germany, may come across school classes making them aware of anal sex, sadomasochism and the use of sex toys, including dildos, as early as in the next school year, according to Die Welt newspaper.
It all comes as part of an offbeat project called ‘School of Diversity’, jointly run by the regional education ministry and a number of LGBT advocacy groups to “reflect on tabooed, but very relevant themes [for teenagers],” as well as to promote diversity and tolerance in German society.
Proposed for school children in Year 7, the project seeks to introduce classes dealing with things like “premature ejaculation”, “orgasms”,sadomasochism and even “dark rooms” – places usually found in nightclubs, gay bathhouses or sex clubs where group intercourse between different or same sexes can take place.
The ‘School of Diversity’ lectures and workshops would also give pupils a chance to explore “different identity possibilities” as well as taste “new experience” – particularly by mimicking oral sex and using dildos or vagina simulators in “theatrical performances.”
Teaching materials describing the controversial activities are offered under fairly decent titles, such as ‘Playful examination of love and sexuality’ or ‘Terms related to love, sexuality and partnership’, according to Die Welt.
“Young people need support to stand for their sexual orientation,” reads the project’s official page at NRW education ministry’s website. “Acceptance of lesbians and gays has to turn into self-confidence … And diversity of the society has positive impact on democratic process.”
At the same time, the project is criticized by some politicians, including those, who campaign for the rights of sexual minorities.
Respect towards sexual minorities must not come at the expense of “the sense of shame” natural to teens, Yvonne Gebauer, who herself leads an anti-homophobia project in Cologne city council told Die Welt. “Twelve-year-olds must not be allowed to play orgasms or dark rooms in classes” in order to promote tolerance, she argued.
Gebauer was supported by the German federal government commissioner on child abuse, Johannes-Wilhelm Roerig, who denounced the use of some teaching materials promoted by the ‘School of Diversity’ as “going beyond all reason” and “unacceptable.”
“Boys and girls, who got used to overstepping the limits and are thus desensitized” could fall an easy prey for child abusers, Roerig warned.
Similar projects which also claim promoting respect towards minorities have been met with stark opposition from the community.
In February this year, some 4,500 people took to the streets of Stuttgart to protest a new curriculum set to emphasize sexual diversity. The rally has been met by a counter-demonstration and resulted in violent clashes with local police. Last year, dozens of Hamburg residents staged a protest under a slogan “Stay away from our children” to oppose “early sexualization” in German schools.
In 2014, more than 80,000 people in southern Germany signed an online petition against a plan to teach children about LGBT lifestyles in school – an initiative put forward to promote tolerance towards sexual minorities.
In Germany, sex education is compulsory for pupils aged eight upwards, and opting out on religious or cultural grounds is generally prohibited.