Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sex Ed

My job is so strange sometimes. Last week I learned what the euphemism for "tossing a salad" meant. Today I learned how to behave if I encounter a wild bear. Quite a variety of channels at play here. I do so enjoy what I do. Most days anyway.

I bought the new Freakonomics book, SuperFreakonomics, yesterday and it's already as fun and interesting as the first one. I've already finished the chapter on how a prostitute is like a department store Santa. I love books like that, out of the box thinking type books that buck conventional wisdom in favour of a complex yet simplified look at stats and figures.

I want more quiche. This means I will have to make more quiche, as vain though it may be to say it, my quiche that I made this past weekend was the best I've had in my life. In a way, it's probably good I'm a wee lazy in kitchen matters, because that quiche was also loaded in fat. Lots of protein, though. But lots of fat.

I still want another one.

I read an article today that spoke to me about sex ed in schools. I remember my sexual education via the Catholic school system over 10 years ago: Here are the mechanics. Here are the undesirable consequences. DON'T DO IT!!!1! Jesus! Throw in a video of a woman giving birth with some closeups of the crowning head and you're done.

The article was about pleasure-based sex ed, letting girls in particular know that it's supposed to feel good. I can speak for myself that no one ever told me that, and had I known it was supposed to be enjoyable, I don't think I would have allowed certain things to pass when I was a teen. My first boyfriend at 16 would have been dumped promptly for being so inept with his fingers.

I don't think abstinence education makes any sense. Telling people not to do something isn't education. It's issuing orders you don't have the authority to enforce. Parents don't even have the authority to enforce abstinence, not really. A person's sexual autonomy (and age of legal consent) occurs before the age of 18 and there's little that can be done to prevent it.

There's also the creepy idea that teenagers are children. They're not. Teenagers are sexual. Children are not. Teens have pubic hair, sexual urges, developed sex characteristics and an ability to procreate. Children have none of these things. So teens hence are not children. They have differing needs, one of which is a need of information about their sexuality, the type of information that will enable them to act safely in their choices.

I suppose it's hard for parents to be objective about their kids, whom they've diapered and kissed away their boo-boos and taught to ride a bike. I imagine it's hard to acknowledge that your child is not physically a child any longer and has sexual urges and a body that can and wants to act on them. And being unable to view your offspring as sexual may further incline a person to wish to prevent them from having a sex life. It probably feels creepy to even think about.

But that's just not realistic. Parents have a lot of say over what their teen does, but it stops at being able to direct the course of their sex lives. If a teen isn't going to learn from their parents about all things sex, someone's got to tell them, you know, before they get pregnant and infected. As for preventing them from having sex in the first place, if they're not making babies or passing along disease or putting themselves at risk with god knows who, I couldn't be bothered what consenting people do with other consenting people.


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