Professor Khomasuridze on Sex Education
15 September, 2011

Having read our editorial on sexual education in the previous issue, professor Archil Khomasuridze called me without much hesitation and told me that he did not agree with the concept of my article. I thought the statement was straight and earnest enough for me to ask for an interview. Archil is not a sexologist but he knows a lot in the field. He is a high-level specialist of human reproductive health, heading the famous Zhordania clinic of the same specialization. Professor Khomasuridze is of a very low opinion of sex education level in Georgia, but also thinks that the problem could be handled if treated properly. Following is the GJ interview with him:

GJ – Have you read the Georgian Journal editorial on Sexual education from A to Z?

A.Kh. – Why should I have called you and given you my opinion unless I had?

GJ – What I tried to say in the article is that we (the grownup part of our society) cannot sex-educate the younger generation unless we ourselves are sexually educated – was this a correct statement?

A.Kh. – Not exactly! We cannot wait for the grownup part of our population first to educate itself and then start educating the younger generation. Those two processes should be simultaneous if we want to gain time and be effective.

GJ – Do you think this nation has to be concerned about sex education in general? Why?

A.Kh. – Absolutely! Because our nation, we could say, is sexually handicapped (the raised eye-brows of the interviewing journalist become obvious at hearing this comment). Sexual function is not just an intercourse. It is much more complicated a phenomenon, especially for women. Right of sexual intercourse is one of the most important rights among all human rights. It is my doctor’s feeling that in Georgia 50 to 60 % of female population has no sense of orgasm at all whereas in Denmark this percent is as low as 20 – the result of 150-year-old sex education there.

GJ – It is so funny, people had no sex education before but the mankind is still here – why has it become so necessary that the whole world is buzzing about it?

A.Kh. – A millennium ago average life expectancy in the world was 25 to 30 years maximum. Today in Japan for instance the average life span is 84 (men) and 87 (women). You see, how different the life style might have been then from what is happening to humanity right now? The demands were radically different a thousand years ago. Life is definitely much better now.

GJ – What is the main problem with sex education in the world in general and in this country in particular?

A.Kh. – There is a lack of sex education anywhere in the world, even in highly developed Western countries. Here in Georgia the level of sex education is at nadir – no exaggeration, I can tell you for sure.

GJ – What are the weakest points of sex education as it is today in Georgia?

A.Kh. – I will reiterate that we have zero sex education: no programs, no books, no teachers, no lessons, but what makes us most vulnerable in this respect is the attitude of our society towards the subject in principle – overwhelming bashfulness in sex education.

GJ – Should our schools and universities introduce the subject?

A.Kh. – They must! Now! As a matter of fact, we are late but not hopeless. We have to start universal sex education without any delay but this must be done gradually and methodically. The first steps should be taken at universities, especially the medical ones, and then go to lower levels. This way, the society will take it easier. Western experience will be very helpful here.

GJ – If the subject is introduced in schools, should the boys and girls be seated in different classes or the lesson could be unisex?

A.Kh. – I think the process should start in separated classes and be finally brought to unisex audience. All players have to be made happy – parents, teachers and church.

GJ – What is the guarantee that the contemporary scientific and psychological achievements are optimal to be used as the foundation for sex education?

A.Kh. – Nothing is ideal in medicine and psychology as in any other field of science but scientific progress on the whole makes it easier to tackle problems, including sex education.

GJ – For me, sex education is a theoretical part of the situation. How about the practice? Which is the most optimal age to start putting theory to practice?

A.Kh. – All depends on physiology and the level of human development. As a minimum, the sexual maturity must overlap the sexual activity of males and females which starts earlier in women than in men.

GJ – Do you support pre-marital sex as a doctor? Your answer might be a serious sex instruction for many in Georgia, especially the young. So please be very careful!

A.Kh. – I understand that, and I am being as careful as I can while making these comments. From my doctoral viewpoint premarital sex deserves support in general but I am against it before the stage of physical maturation. After that, I would not be terribly concerned. We are not considering moral issues here, are we?

GJ – Were you personally sex-educated in your youth?

A.Kh. – I cannot say that I received proper sex education in my young years. And I regret that it was belated. Due to my desire to become a doctor I started reading into the subject on my own since I was little over ten. Frankly, I did it with great curiosity.

GJ – As part of sex education, is masturbation a very bad habit?

A.Kh. – Masturbation is much better than abstention although the best thing is a regular and proper sex life which comes with relevant education.

GJ – Is sex education an expensive pleasure?

A.Kh. – I should think so!

GJ – Where do we start sex education and where is it taking us?

A.Kh. – It starts at a college level and as I said, gradually goes to lower levels. The well planned and executed sex education takes the entire nation to healthier sex life which is very important for our future, I would say for our physical survival.

GJ – Would it be correct to say that sex education must be part of our life-long education?

A.Kh. – Beyond any doubt! Ideally, we should start sex education from the very first days of human life and carry it on into senile age until we die.

GJ – How old is the term ‘Sex Education’?

A.Kh. – The term itself is as young as approximately 50 years only although the West was familiar with the notion a century and a half ago.

GJ – What does sex education mean exactly?

A.Kh. – Teaching what sex means to a human being, relevant explanation of its details and consequences, avoiding sexual catastrophes and ruining lives in the future.

GJ – What difference can sex education make?

A.Kh. – It can principally change our lives to the better.

GJ – Why are you not writing a text book titled ‘Sex Education’

A.Kh. – My longtime dream has been to write a book on reproductive health because this is my specialty and forte. Regretfully, I have never had enough time for this. And I admit that I am wrong. As long as sex education is concerned, I would rather do it in company with a highly professional sex teacher.

Well... this way or that way, I came to believe after the interview with the famous guru that it is high time for us to stop blushing at mentioning the word ‘sex’ and get down to the nitty-gritty of the business as soon as possible. Procrastination here might really be a very big thief of time to the detriment of this nation – NBR.