Friday, July 16, 2010

When Did You Learn About Sex?

Being in my middle 60's now, I grew up in a relatively innocent era. I remember whispering with my two cousins, when we were around 7 or 8, trying to figure what sex was all about. We knew vaguely that men had penises and that they put them in the Mom when they wanted to make a baby. The actual visuals were sort of blurry though. Then came that day when we found a tiny booklet belonging to their older brother hidden in an encyclopedia. It was a book of cartoons about sex, more or less correct, except that the men were endowed with grossly enlarged members. (In this particular one, the "hero" was Popeye). The expression on the faces of the female partners may have been supposed to represent ecstasy but to us, it looked more like terror. Scared the hell out of us and we vowed then and there to swear off what the pamphlet so delicately referred to as "'fucking" and "blow jobs".

Would it have been healthier for us to have gotten our sex education somewhat more gently in school? Well, yeah, probably although I don't think the 7-page bible (I do believe that's what these little books were called) did us any lasting harm either.

Helena, Montana is proposing to do just that. Their new curriculum introduces different aspects of sex at different ages. For instance, students learn the proper terminology for body parts in kindergarten (penis, vagina, breast, nipples, testicles, scrotum, uterus), first-graders are taught about homosexuality, fifth-graders about the different types of intercourse (vaginal, oral, anal) and high schoolers discover erotic art (hopefully of the more anatomically correct variety than our friend, Popeye).

Well, of course, as you might expect, a substantial number of parents are incensed, horrified, offended, etc, etc. and, as always, the enraged ones make the most noise.  These are the parents who believe that it is possible to keep their children bound in a mummy wrap of ignorance. Much like my cousins' and my own parents, as a matter of fact, until they were confounded by a pre-teen boy's penchant for pornographic comics. (And actually, he probably wasn't seeking titillation so much as enlightenment himself.)

What always amazes me is what hypocrites we are as a society. Parents are worried about their kids being introduced to erotic art when they idolize and imitate the flamboyantly sexual Lady GaGa? Seriously? They are concerned about their children hearing the scientific terms for body parts instead of the lyrics in much of popular music (ho's and bitches and cunts)? Are you kidding? They are opposed to fifth-graders being informed about types of intercourse when they've probably seen them illustrated in any number of websites and YouTube videos and movies? Get real! And learning about homosexuality? Do you honestly think Bubbie and Sissie haven't heard about the Rosie's and Ellen's who came proudly out of the closet or the senators and governors who were outed involuntarily?

And don't tell me you shield your offspring from all that - not unless you have them caged on a desert island somewhere. If my parents couldn't do it in the 50's, you sure can't in the new century. Children these days live in a world of satellite dishes and cell phones and computers where they can see and hear it all. If not on their own cell phone and satellite dish and computer, then on those of their friends and neighbors.

Denial doesn't work, People. Teenage pregnancy, abortion, divorce and suicide - the rates are higher for all in red states that try to ban education, contraception, abortion and homosexuality.  Fact is, honest information always trumps misguided ignorance.