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birds and bees Clean bill of health for Swiss sex-ed system

divers underwater having sex

Offensive? Divers get merry in an 'Love Life' campaign from 2008.

(Swiss Federal Office of Public Health)

The Federal Council adopted on Wednesday an independent report stating that Switzerland’s sex education system is up to international standards in teaching youth about the biological and psychological aspects of sexual development.

The report was prompted by a complaint lodged by Ticino parliamentarian Fabio Regazzi, who claimed that the images adopted by the official ‘Love Life’ campaign (see photo) were beyond the comprehension of children, and thus damaging.

However, the report said that the imagery posed no threat to children. The government said the criticism was driven by a minority attached to traditional values.

Overall, the experts found, the Swiss strategy – led by the Swiss Sexual Healthexternal link association – is laudable for its holistic approach not just to the risks of disease and unwanted pregnancy but also to the promotion of healthy sexual development.

Such an approach necessarily needs to focus on the social, psychological, cognitive, sensual, and moral aspects of sex, they said.

In addition, the report reiterated the healthy statistics of Switzerland by international comparison, finding that the numbers of unwanted pregnancies and abortions among 15-19-year-olds were some of the lowest in the world.

Sex education in Switzerland, though guided at the federal level, is primarily a cantonal affair, with the precise details of how teenagers are instructed in schools varying from region to region. The expert group also recommended more efforts at harmonization, particularly across German-speaking parts of Switzerland.


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