Let’s Talk About Sex
This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to have some one-on-one time with a lovely 13 year old young lady. We had a two hour long talk about sex, puberty, and relationships. I was able to answer all of the questions she had regarding these topics, and to give some information that she couldn’t get through school, and was too embarrassed to ask her family members.
I had mixed reactions to our conversation. On one hand, I was incredibly thankful that I could be there as a resource for her, to dispel myths and explain some of the most basic sexual concepts in a non-judgemental fashion. On the other hand, I was horrified that she hadn’t learned any of this through the sexual education at her school. When you consider that the teenage birth rate in the US is the highest among developed countries, and California has the distinction of having the highest teenage birth rate in the country, this lack of information is shocking.
I ended up explaining things that I honestly thought would be covered in the basics of sex ed in public schools. She knew about how men reached climax, but not how a woman would, as she had no idea what a clitoris or a female orgasm was. She thought that oral sex only involved talking to a partner, but she understood the concept of anal sex. She only had basic information about condoms and I was definitely under the impression that she didn’t know much about any other form of contraception.
For the record, she lives in a relatively wealthy area, and she goes to one of the top schools in the area. In fact, she goes to a California Distinguished School that specializes in high-achieving and gifted students. How is it that this young lady has not learned more about sexual health in school?
It all seems to boil down to the “abstinence only” education that has become so prevalent in schools today. Even though studies have shown that teenagers who take an “abstinence pledge” are no less likely than their peers to engage in sexual activity (in fact, they have exactly the same rates as those who do not), these programs remain in place in most of the US. These same teenagers, due to lack of information or a sense of embarrassment or shame, are less likely to use contraception and are more likely to become pregnant or to contract an STI. They are also more likely to engage in oral or anal sex, under the mistaken impression that these types of sexual behaviors don’t “count” as sex.
This conversation is the entire reason that I started this blog. I have been the impartial informational resource for the young women in my life for years now. Although I felt good about sharing all of this information with this particular young lady, my disappointment in the health education in the US has deepened.
With that in mind, I would love some questions from my readers. The question can be about anything: sex, relationships, contraception, or a personal question for me. You can ask them in the comments below, or if you’d prefer not to have your name associated, please email me at email@example.com. I will do a follow-up post later this week with answers to all of your questions.
Posted on April 9, 2012, in Abstinence Education, Contraception, Dating, Personal Stories, Sex Positive and tagged dating, emotional intimacy, health, politics, relationships, safer sex, Sex, sexual feelings, society, women. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.