The importance of #SexEducation: Story about Indonesian girl tricked by boyfriend to help him release ‘white blood cells’ goes viral

White blood cells vs sperm cells. Hope you know which is which.
White blood cells vs sperm cells. Hope you know which is which.

A story about a girl’s sexual naiveté prompted a discussion about the importance of sex education in Indonesia recently, because apparently she didn’t know what semen was.

A tweet by user @CatGoldwynMyr showed screenshots of a WhatsApp chat between a doctor and an acquaintance. In the chat, the doctor tells the story about a female teenage patient who admitted to have had sexual relations with her boyfriend. 

However, these aren’t sexual relations in the usual sense. According to the girl, her boyfriend told her that he suffers from having an excess of white blood cells, and the only way to get them out was through his penis. Oblivious to the fact that it was actually semen, the girl said she helped her boyfriend in any way she can because he would appear like “he was dying, really pale because of the excess white blood cells.”

As viral as this tweet became, it’s not clear if the story actually happened. But the post prompted the hashtag #SexEducation to trend on Friday and over the weekend in Indonesia, with many netizens saying the story highlights the importance of teaching the country’s youth about sex.

Sex education was introduced into the national curriculum in 2013 after years of lobbying by child welfare groups, who argued that children have the right to sexual knowledge to recognize its potential harms and to protect themselves from sexual violence. 

Since then the topic of reproduction has been taught to high school students in biology class, while elementary school students are taught basic concepts about sex.

But if the current education system has produced someone as naive as the girl in the viral post, then there’s reason to believe that the curriculum needs some evaluating in regards to sex education. Some netizens have pinned their hopes on the progressive mind of newly-appointed Education Minister Nadiem Makarim to bring about some much-needed change.

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