Page last updated at 15:30 GMT, Friday, 30 January 2009

Call for more Asian sex education

By Sabina Alderwish
BBC Asian Network

Working with young Asian women
Many young Asians do not get sexual advice at home

Asian children should have more sex education than others, according to one of the UK's major sex clinics.

Penny Barber, of the Brook clinic in Birmingham, said an increasing number of young Asians were seeking its services, having had unprotected sex.

Research carried out in London secondary schools has found most 15-18-year-old Asians were not able to discuss the topic at home.

And many young Asians say they need more information about sex.

Ms Barber, a sexual health advisor, told the BBC's Asian Network that unlike other groups young Asians felt their parents just were not able to talk about sex-related issues.

She said: "They were very clear that they wanted the schools to do all the sex and relationship education and they were less keen for it to be something dealt within the family."

Ms Barber said schools should take a more active role in helping young Asians find out more about issues such as contraception and sexually transmitted disease.

Pupils' views

The Asian Network asked a number of Asian Year 10 pupils in Nottingham whether they were able to talk about sex related issues at home.

The majority said it was far too uncomfortable.

One pupil, Saba, said: "You just get all, like, embarrassed."

Another, Mariam, said "I think they would think wrong of me."

Peter Hold, head of Sex and Relationships Education at Fernwood Comprehensive, said the lessons had proved particularly useful for the school's Asian students.

He said: "By and large if you were to survey the whole of our Asian population I think we would have a majority that would say that they find it useful.

"Youngsters probably feel safer and more comfortable talking about these issues at school than at home."

When the Asian Network asked a number of parents in Nottingham if they feel comfortable talking about sex-related issues with their children most said no.

One parent said it was inappropriate: "As Indians we are traditional people, we don't like it."

Another admitted: "It is very embarrassing can have this discussion with my child."

However, one mother did say she would be more open about sex with her children than her parents were with her.

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