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Coming home from school with strawberry condoms

Mandatory sex education classes for 14-year-olds anger Muslim immigrants in Sweden.

Although paternal protectiveness can be viewed as noble and admirable, Swedish medical experts think it's counterproductive and potentially harmful for young women.

The classes are designed to educate students about sex before they reach 15, the age of consent in Sweden.

“The purpose of the sex education is to provide good information about how the body works, to make the students feel secure in their sexuality and to prevent sexual diseases and unwanted pregnancies," said Ann-Cristine Jonsson of the Swedish National Institute of Public Health.

Students learn about HIV/AIDS, chlamydia, herpes and hepatitis, as well as other sexually transmitted diseases. Condoms with different flavors, such as strawberry and orange, are handed out to the students. “We want to prevent both diseases and unwanted pregnancies,” Jonsson said.

The students are also taught that it is normal to have intercourse with people of the same sex and that it is unacceptable to tease or bully classmates who are gay.

Sweden has required sex education be taught in its schools since 1955 and has earned a reputation as a sexually liberal country. The 1967 landmark movie "I Am Curious (Yellow)," which American author Norman Mailer called "one of the most important movies I have seen in my entire life," helped solidify that reputation.

Last year, Sweden’s state-run pharmaceuticals retailing stores launched a line of sex toys aimed at women. The initiative was financed by taxes and within a few days the products became the chain’s bestsellers.

Some members of the left-wing opposition expressed concern that some Muslim families would be so upset by the proposed change that they would pull their children out of public schools, thus increasing segregation in Sweden. But for the most part, support for the law exists throughout the political spectrum.

The paragraph in question was designed decades ago to allow students to opt out of Christian education, which was erased in Swedish schools in 1969 and replaced by the broader subject of religious education.

Forty years later, amid an influx of Muslim immigrants, it is that paragraph that is set to be abolished.

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