Open letter to Mr. Jean-François Roberge, Minister of Education

As the Canadian leader of the SexEd Day campaign and as a graduate in sexology, I would like to draw your attention to the importance of sex education from age 5, including information on masturbation.

In December 2009, UNESCO1 published a scientific report containing international guidelines for sex education. These guidelines included learning objectives broken down by age group (5 to 18+) that incorporated, among other things, the relationship to pleasure, sexual diversity and sexual reproductive health.

For the 5-8 year-old age group, these included teachings such as:

  • Most children are curious about their bodies
  • It is natural to explore and touch parts of your own body
  • Bodies can feel good when they are touched
  • Touching and rubbing your genitals is called masturbation
  • Some people masturbate and some don’t
  • Masturbation is not harmful, but should be practiced in private


Surprisingly, this most crucial teaching has almost disappeared from the UNESCO report in 20102, section 5.1 Sex, sexuality and the sexual life cycle for the 5–8-year-old group!

In 2018, nothing about masturbation appears in the UNESCO3 report, section 7.2 Sexual behavior and sexual response for the 5–8-year-old group.  Total abstinence!

Why has UNESCO become so prudish! It is crucial to free ourselves from the Judeo-Christian discomfort and prohibitions regarding pleasure and masturbation, for the sake of our future generations.

It is absolutely important to teach a child to read and count, to communicate and to understand his or her emotions. But it is also important to teach them how to understand and feel good about their bodies, including the sexual pleasure that their bodies can give them, even when they are still young.

However, in all schools worldwide, there are dictionaries that give the definition of the word masturbation, such as the Collins for which it is: “The stimulation or manipulation of one’s own genitals, esp. to orgasm; sexual self-gratification.”

Several of my fellow sexologists (among others, François Renaud and Marion Bertrand-Huot4) also confirm that children are never too young to hear about sexuality; this includes masturbation. Children can be taught the names of their genitals, what they are used for, that masturbation generates pleasurable sensations, and where and in what context it is appropriate to engage in this sensual and sexual activity.

Masturbation is often the first experience of sexual pleasure. If educators and teachers are able to explain that the anus is used for bowel movements, they should also be able to teach that the penis is not only used for urination, but also for pleasure, and that the clitoris has no other function than to provide pleasure. Why is the notion of sexual pleasure so disturbing in education? We teach the pleasure of sports, the pleasure of sharing, but when it comes to sexual pleasure, education specialists are speechless.

The SexEd Day campaign, initiated by Rael, the spiritual leader of the Raelian philosophy, defends the right to quality, taboo-free sex education for children. We believe that this is the best thing we can offer them in life. This education must include masturbation, which is an indispensable step in human development. “You will awaken the mind of your child, but you will also awaken his or her body, for the awakening of the body is linked to the awakening of the mindSensual education teaches us how to gain pleasure from our organs purely for pleasure’s sake, without necessarily seeking to use them for their utilitarian purposes. – Rael 5

In our opinion, experts in sex education who recognize the importance of pleasure and sex education should be the only ones to decide on the pedagogical content, with the sole aim of contributing to the development of children.

“Masturbation is our primary sexual life. It is our sexual base. Everything we do beyond that is simply how we choose to socialize our sex life.”6 – Betty Dodson

As the person in charge of Education, dear Minister, you will understand that it is urgent that the UNESCO report on sexuality education for 5-8-year-olds regains the completeness it had in 2009.

We are counting on your influence and support to ensure that this initiative is quickly incorporated into school and educational programs.

Thank you for your kind attention.

Kind regards,

Denise Desrochers,
Graduate in sexology,
SexEd Day Coordinator in Canada,

Site SexEd Day:

1. UNESCO (2009). International Guidelines on Sexuality Education. An evidence-based approach for schools, teachers and health education professionals. Paris: UNESCO. page 48 of the PDF document
2. UNESCO (2010). International Guidelines on Sexuality Education. An evidence-based approach for schools, teachers and health education professionals.
3. UNESCO (2018) International Guidelines on Sexuality Education. A factual approach
5. The message given by the extraterrestrials, p. 169.
6. “Persistent Pleasures: Agency, Social Power, and Embodiment in Women’s Solitary Masturbation Experiences”, p. 24