You know what has more views than any other post? The one about me not shaving. So. This post is about sex. It really is. But I thought that title might help me out. ;)
S.E.X. You mean… sex? Ahhhhh!
That was a conversation between my grandmother and me when I was about 9.
I think our culture’s fear of sex is both amusing and terrifying. I think sex is a natural part of life and suppression is both unhealthy and unwarranted. In the early days of religion, sex was strongly encouraged. “Be fruitful and multiply.” These kinds of messages were necessary evolutionarily to continue our race. HAVE SEX AND HAVE LOTS OF IT Genesis told us. So men have a whole bunch of wives because 9 months is just too long to wait to make another child. Monogamous relationships would have been counterproductive to the continuation of humankind. And because of our ability to communicate these ideas, specifically as instructions directly from a higher power that has control over our afterlife, humans thrived. WE HAVE SO MANY! Whoa. But let’s get real. If we don’t believe in polygamy anymore, then we shouldn’t view sex as sinful anymore, either.
We don’t need to have so many people, because we’re using and abusing the world’s resources. For that reason, we have contraceptive devises. ßGenius stuff really. And at puberty, when kids start to have urges to reproduce, they may or may not choose to wait for a number of reasons. I think these reasons can be narrowed down to a lack of education, religious beliefs, fear of judgment from peers or family, fear of disease, or fear of pregnancy.
Those are all well-founded reasons to wait. But regardless, those urges are there. And some people aren’t going to wait, especially those who have been raised with really unhealthy ideas of what sex means. I think it’s our public school system’s job to educate kids on what sex is, the role it plays in relationships as defined by our society, and how to prevent pregnancy and STDs and STIs. I think it’s our public school system’s job to counsel kids on when they’re ready for sex, ideas of sex based on experiences with sexual abuse, and which decision is best for them if they have contracted an STD or STI or have become pregnant.
I don’t think someone is ready for sex unless they are comfortable with their bodies, comfortable with their sexuality, are well-educated, and have found a partner with mutual expectations. Those are difficult standards to define, which is why I wish sex wasn’t such a taboo topic. Then those would have clearer definitions, and kids wouldn’t feel as scared to approach someone to really discuss where they stand. And personally I think in our society you aren’t ready to have a child until you’ve reached adulthood, which should be redefined as 21 (and sometimes not then really). And I only say this because of judgments our society makes concerning young parents and the structure of our educational system.
Educating kids on sex isn’t going to make them want to have sex. Likely, the same reasons kids don’t have sex will remain firm, and more kids who do have sex with use protection or know better what it means to be ready for sex. And I find that the same people that are against sex education are against abortion, health care, and supporting social welfare programs. A lack of sex education leads to diseases, unwanted pregnancies, and eventually uncared-for children. (Extreme generalization, I’m aware. But these are ideas put in kids’ heads that they’ll take into adulthood about readiness and protection.) So if you support this lack of education, then you should be supporting programs to deal with the backlash of these unwanted pregnancies, unwanted babies, and unwanted STwhatevers. You can’t just put kids into a pit of lions and ditch them without helping them when things go badly. That may have worked with Daniel, but he was the good guy in that story… and how many other people make it out of a pit of freaking hungry lions?
This all comes down to our ridiculous fear of sex. There are ways to protect your children from unhealthy ideas of sex and to encourage waiting until marriage (if that is something you care about), but pretending sex doesn’t exist isn’t all that effective. If you don’t educate your kids first, then the kids who have been exposed to sex (sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, exposure to sexual behavior and images at home) will do the talking for you. Do you see how this can be problematic? We’re so scared of sex, that the least healthy messages around sex are what circulate among our youth.
I can attest to this! I’m barely an adult. My mom did a great job of educating me, but I still heard what kids had to say. And the naïve kids soaked it all up because they didn’t want to look dumb. Sex seemed like a big kid thing, and the bad kids knew all about it (because they were forced to grow up too quickly). I remember thinking it was kind of creepy (I don’t use that word lightly here) the way kids saw sex when I was in middle school and high school. I hadn’t taken enough time to think about why. It all comes down to fear. And it’s starting to piss me off. Tell me what you think. Please?