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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sex Education is Not a How To Class

My lovely state has been in a bit of a crisis the past few years.  I live in Nevada.  I love Nevada.  I moved here 20 years ago and absolutely love the climate, the diversity, the landscape.  Love, love, love it.

With that said, when things were good, it certainly was fantastic.  Schools were built.  Money fell from the sky.  People held hands and sang Kum Ba Ya.

Awesome.

Okay, I may be exaggerating.

But now that things are tough- we're still recovering from the economic crisis- people seem to be finding everything to fight about it.  Even the common sense stuff.

My state allows prostitution.

When you think of Las Vegas (and prostitution is NOT legal in Clark County, by the way), I don't think puritanical images come to mind.

So brothels, scantily clad dancers and servers... but wait-- no updates to our sex ed curriculum since the 1980s?

Nope

So the legislature was trying to pass a bill to require age appropriate sexual education be taught and updated on a regular basis.

Now my first thought was "what really needs to be updated... he puts his willy..." 

But honestly a lot of things have changed.  The internet. Sexting.  Date rape drug use.  Posting pictures of having sex with a drunk girl who is passed out.

Maybe a refresher to the course is needed.

Wow.  What a shitstorm that caused.

And here's the thing-- most people (not all) weren't arguing that the state shouldn't mandate sex ed, it should be done by local school boards-- that was the real debate-- the NOISE and I mean NOISE was about if sexual education should be taught at all.

Because kids don't have sex.

We have the 4th highest rate of teen pregnancy in the nation. 

See the disconnect?

But apparently, if we teach them about it, they will only have more.

What a load of crap.

Okay, here's the deal people-- folks have sex.  Every single one of us is here because someone had sex.

Period.

(Oh- and that's something girls get and need to know about.  According to the film strip I watched -yes, I'm dating myself- there should also be butterflies and a glow of womanhood.  I got cramps and zits.  But more than one girl has started her period with no information.  Not even the film strip.  Talk about terrifying.)

Some people, based on our existence, get pregnant when they have sex.  If you don't want to have children, it might be good to know about how to prevent that.

Some people get diseases when they have sex.  It also might be good to know how to prevent that. Makes you itch just thinking about it, doesn't it?

And Sex Ed is NOT A HOW TO CLASS.  It's a HOW THINGS WORK.  Because you need to know.  I have adult female friends who only learn about ovulation when they can't pregnant.

Seriously.

And these aren't stupid women.

I did not enjoy having our football coach try to explain sex in a 2 week class.  Based on how red his face was-- well technically his whole head because he was bald- he did not enjoy it either.  But I got the basics.  His uncomfortable descriptions of vaginas and penises in my freshman health class did not inspire me to go get it on. Honestly, it freaked me out.

And, while this will probably piss off my liberal friends, the BEST thing I saw on sexual behavior was an abstinence presentation.  No joke.  We had a fantastic speaker who came in and gave a 90 minute or so presentation on the benefits of waiting.  It wasn't a preachy religious "your penis will fall off if you touch it" thing.  It was a very good movie, interactive presentation on how, as a kid, you have enough to worry about.  Having sex at an early age can put you in a lot of bad situations that you're not ready for- having a child, choosing not to have a child, getting a disease- and the thing that really stuck-- having the person that you had sex with spread it all over the school and then deal with being labeled as slutty.  Because as a teenager I had seen that happen to more than one girl (and be honest, it didn't hurt guys).  That seemed scarier and more likely than getting knocked up.  Because you can tell me that having sex is natural, etc., but what if the person you chose to have sex with turns out to be a big mouth jerk?  Imagine the break up, they said.  What then?   

You're a kid.  Why add complexity to your life right now?

I still remember it.  It was about respecting yourself and making good decisions.  It wasn't just about abstinence, but the main idea was "if you wait to have sex, it takes a lot off your plate."

It should be part of a comprehensive sexual education program.

As should how things work.

And different types of birth control.  How they don't always work.  How they really don't work if you don't use them properly.

Because at some point, someone is probably going to have sex.

The morality of it-- that's a whole different discussion.  That's a values thing.

But the mechanics- it needs to be taught.  And parents are not necessarily the best teachers on that part....

Because what really made my eyes bug out was the debate against teaching people about sex.  The sad misinformation after more than one "concerned citizen" took the floor was a testament as to WHY we need.  Abortions cause breast cancer.  HIV is God's way of eliminating homosexuals.  Sex education makes kids have sex.  You shouldn't teach about birth control because the only thing 100% effective is abstinence, so why teach it at all.

What?

The supporters just want to update the curriculum to talk about new forms of birth control since the 80's, that having sex on the internet is bad, and the VD is not a good thing to get.

They do not want to take your children and place them in brothels as learning centers.

Since when did keeping people ignorant work for a society?

So I don't get it.  At all.

It's information.  It's biology.

Absolutely parents should discuss the issue with their children.  My sex talk came while I was watching "Love Boat' with my dad. One man was bedhopping.  My dad said "I hope you know that's not what you're supposed to do.  That's wrong."

That was it.

Thank goodness for the football coach.  And Judy Blume.  Because honestly, "Forever" played a pretty big role in my education....

But seriously, someone needs to talk to kids about it.  It's just sex.  It's gonna happen. 

I want my kids to know the details.  They are not going to listen to me about it or ask me about it when it's time.  They aren't.  I would like to think they will, but they won't.  They will get the abstinence speech from me as the best plan for high school.  Absolutely.  Because I think it's a good plan.  But if they choose not to or find themselves in a position where that's just not going to happen, well, here's the basic info. 

Then I will throw up.

But you would have had to hear the comments that these ignorant fools made.  It would have been funny if they hadn't really believed them.  The more they spoke, the more apparent it became that we need to teach people the basics.  My friends' tweets and posts while they were at the public hearing were sadly funny.  There is a lot of bad information out there from people who talk more than they think.

Don't leave it to movies and friends and the internet for kids to learn about sex.  Let's update what we have.  Let's make them think before they do it.  Let's equip them with information so they can make good, healthy decisions.

Let's try to at least acknowledge the facts and base our decisions on them.


Let's try to do something.

It certainly would be refreshing.




2 comments:

Elisa said...

Great post! Just to let you know ... the proposed law would ADD abstinence to the topics that would have to be taught.

Mama Bean said...

Love it! I think it should be promoted to wait until you graduate (hey that rhymes...) a practical choice, not that you'll burn in hell.

I was dumbfounded by the moronic commentary on the state site. Dumbfounded. It's not either or. But the information needs to be presented.