Debunk the myths of love and sex

I agree with Singapore Children's Society chief executive Alfred Tan that "we have to start talking about sexuality issues with our children, to let them know what's right and what's wrong, when they are as young as possible" ("More teenage boys paying for sex: Study"; last Sunday).

The children of today will listen only when they are convinced by what they have been taught.

Our culture, through movies, dramas, magazines, pornography, music and the arts, has taught us that having casual sex is a romantic experiment that has no consequences.

It is no wonder that there are more myths than facts about love and sex.

Virginity is seen as unacceptable and to be mocked at, manhood is equated with sexual conquest, not having a girlfriend is seen as weird and having multiple partners is deemed charming ("Allure of paid sex for teenage boys" and "Sexuality education 'helps cut infection rate' "; both published last Sunday).

The result is peer pressure to conform, and there is loss of face and friends if one does not.

Parents, as the primary communicators of sexuality with their children, should be alert to all these trends affecting their children.

How does one take a stand and refuse to succumb to negative peer pressure?

How equipped and open are parents to address the needs and genuine questions of their children towards sex?

Do condoms solve the emotional issues surrounding sex?

The psychological and physical damage caused to our young through casual sex cannot be underestimated. Other consequences include abortion and children born out of wedlock.

Social costs are also incurred to help unwed mothers and to treat sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

A man in his prime should not be infected with an STD that affects his studies, career, family and the nation as a whole.

It is time we stepped up sexuality education that empowers our children to say "no" to premarital sex with full conviction.

Ho Lay Ping (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 17, 2016, with the headline 'Debunk the myths of love and sex'. Print Edition | Subscribe