In November, The Local, a popular German news site in English, started off a series looking into the topic of sex in Germany, and in some cases how the approach on the topic differs from many English-speaking countries. While it may be a sensitive subject for some readers, it is interesting to see the cultural differences that exist on such a topic. So far The Local has looked at both sex on TV and education in the classroom.
Sex on German TV
Unless you pay for premium cable channels in the U.S., you won’t be seeing much in the form of nudity on TV. However in Germany this is definitely not the case, and despite there being various programming hours where more sex is allowed, it is quite normal to see some form of it at anytime of the day.
The general rule for nudity on TV in Germany is that as long as it is not damaging to a child’s development, it is okay to broadcast. Of course there may be differing opinions on what is and isn’t damaging to children, but there is an oversight team made up of media and child experts to come to that conclusion.
As the evening hours approach, some of the restrictions become relaxed, and from 8pm to 10pm, the amount of nudity allowed must generally to suitable for kids 12 and up.
Sex Education In Schools
In America sex education is taught in public schools, but the approach often leads to uncomfortable situations that may not always get the necessary information out to students. In Germany, sex ed begins at a much younger age, with the topic of HIV being addressed when students are only in the sixth grade.
How German schools approach the topic is also very different from their American counterparts. Because students may be uncomfortable opening up with their teacher on the topic of sex, someone can take the teacher’s place in the classroom, often someone younger in age to the students, to cover the topic.
Before students cover the topic of sex, they are allowed to help steer the course of the upcoming conversation to better suit their needs and concerns. This allows the topics to be more relevant to what they are currently going through in life, and it helps guide the teacher to better prepare.
If you are wondering if this more streamlined approach to sex education works, the statistics show that it does. Only 16 in 1,000 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 got pregnant in Germany according to a 2008 study, compared to 84 per 1,000 in the U.S.
We encourage you to check out the full articles on The Local, which we have included in the source links below, and to also check out their upcoming topics in the series as they appear online.