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Many Kiwis think sex education in schools has gone too far.

More than 70 per cent of 13,550 Herald readers in an online poll said it was inappropriate for 12-year-olds to be learning in class about oral sex.

Only 29 per cent felt sex education was okay and "giving kids the information they needed".

The unscientific poll followed a Herald report saying that children as young as 12 are being taught about anal and oral sex and told that it is "okay" to play with a girl's clitoris if she consents.

Children as young as 11 are being taught how to put condoms on cucumbers, and in some schools 14-year-old girls are practising on black plastic penises.

In one, a female teacher went as far as to give her class of 15-year-olds a rendition of the noises she makes during orgasm.

Last week, the father of one 12-year-old boy was so appalled by what his son was learning that he pulled him out of the class.

Yesterday, his story generated more than 140 emails to the Herald, the vast majority of them from "shocked", "disgusted" and "horrified" parents and grandparents who say schools are going too far.

Many readers questioned whether such explicit programmes were contributing to the high rate of teenage pregnancy.

"Obviously telling young children that it's okay to have sex early isn't working," said one.

"It's time to go back to what worked better before and that is it's okay to save yourself for that special person. You'd see a drop in unwanted pregnancies and suicides."

Another said: "I most certainly do believe that sex education in schools has gone way too far.

"My children are right now coming to the age at which this rubbish is taught to them in our state schools.

"Their school will most definitely not be given parental consent to indoctrinate my children."

Another parent said even primary school programmes about "how to keep yourself safe" were going too far.

The woman said her 6-year-old daughter recently came home asking what "sexual touch" was, after discussing it in class.

One example they had been given included a babysitter putting their hands down a child's pants. One girl in the class is now scared of babysitters.

The mother said her daughter came home with a friend and turned it into a game in her bedroom.

"They were playing a game where their deputy principal was putting his hands down their pants as punishment," she said.

The woman has complained to the school, saying this is an example of what happens when children are given information they are too young to understand.