In response to a creeping sense of anxiety about low birth rates around the world, but especially in Europe, sex education programs have started to include positive stories about pregnancy.
“For many, many years, we only talked about safe sex, how to prevent getting pregnant,” said Marianne Lomholt, the national director of Sex and Society, a non-profit group that provides sex education in Denmark told The New York Times.
“Suddenly we just thought, maybe we should actually also tell them about how to get pregnant.”
The education programs stem from worldwide concern around declining birth rates in countries in Europe and Japan, and an ageing population.
According to a report in The New York Times, there are an estimated 28 Europeans 65 or older for every 100 residents ages 20 to 64, almost twice the world average, according to the United Nations, and compared with 24.7 for the United States. This figure to expected to double by the end of the century.
The greying population of Japan has called for solutions, according to data from Forbes magazine, in 1989, 11.6 per cent of the population of Japan was over 65. In 2006, it became 20 per cent. In 2055, it is projected to reach 38 per cent.
And indeed according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau, fewer women are having kids. In 2014, 47.6 percent of women between 15 and 44 did not have children – the highest percentage of women without children since the Bureau started collecting data in 1976.
In Australia the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) suggests a downward trend in fertility with the number of children born per woman projected to decline to 1.8 by 2026, down from 1.93 (in 2012).
The implications of declining birth rate and ageing population include stress on pensions, limiting economic growth and a changing work force.
However the Danish program seems to be working – and is being received in a positive way.
Christine Antorini, the Danish education minister released a statement saying that her government will place “a stronger focus on a broad and positive approach to health and sexuality, where sexual health covers both joys and risks associated with sexual behavior.”
So far, new statistics out of Denmark point to a thousand more births last year than the one before.