Dr J's Sex Facts

Fun sex facts and accurate information from a clinical sexologist for a hotter and more fulfilling sex life.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Teach Your Children Well

“The foundation of every state is the education of its youth.”

You Who Are on the Road

As everyone knows, we’ve just finished going through the major political conventions here in the U.S.; and during the past week, if you were paying even the slightest attention, you were bombarded with reminders of the abject failure of an “abstinence-only” education. Watching a 17-year-old victim of this policy being paraded before us as if she were some sort of cultural icon of ignorance got me thinking that there’s the distinct possibility that, depending on the outcome of the upcoming presidential election, this horrible injustice may actually slink away when the present administration leaves office—or it may just continue with its reactionary, business-as-usual party line. Can you tell which political party can’t even buy a clue when it comes to sex? Actually, that’s probably erroneous, seems like one party CAN buy a clue when it comes to manipulating peoples’ fears to its own advantage.

Don’t You Ever Ask Them Why

American teens continue to get pregnant and/or contract STDs at jaw-dropping rates, AND they’re doing so at increasingly younger ages in spite of—or more likely because of—federally funded “abstinence education,” which is really just another way of saying no education at all.

Here’s what my college students tell me they learned in high school: In gender-separate (!!) classes, they watched cartoons about reproduction and puberty, and that was that. This is what’s deemed a “well-rounded” education. So where did they get ACTUAL sex information? Some went to the Internet, where, if they were lucky, they stumbled upon some terrific sites with accurate, non-judgmental information, like

The unlucky ones found sites with hidden agendas to keep them ignorant. You know: the ones that reinforce that sex is bad and sinful and preach that you can get AIDS from looking at erotica on a computer, etc.

So what kind of job are the schools doing to educate kids? Below is a brief sampling of some of the questions I’ve received from my 18- and 19-year-old students in just the past year.

Does it hurt to have sex with a boy who’s uncircumcised?
Do Asian women have sideways vaginas?
Does masturbation stunt your penis?
Can a woman get pregnant through oral sex?
Is there an herb/pill I can take to make my penis grow?
Will masturbating prevent me from having an orgasm during p-v sex?

There are endless variations on the above, but you get the picture. Especially sad are the endless myths about self-pleasuring, which is NEVER discussed in these alleged “sex ed.” classes, because if nobody is talking about it, then nobody could possibly be doing it, right?

And Feed Them on Your Dreams

These kids get absolutely no accurate information about sex, and yet they’re expected to ignore all the signals their bodies are giving them and remain sexless “until marriage.” Now in addition to being totally illogical and just plain mean, this policy also assumes that a) everyone will marry at some point, and b) no one has the right to be sexual UNLESS they’re married! Did someone turn the thermostat down to the 19th century? Brrr!

The Ones They Pick

Now here’s a radical thought: How about ACTUALLY ASKING teens what they need from their sex ed. programs? Why does no one ask kids what they're experiencing and what information they could use to help navigate decision-making in sexual situations?

The Ones You Know By

And here’s another: How about soliciting research from actual sexologists when developing the curriculum? Think of it: the people in the trenches who actually work with these kids! Do you suppose they might have some valuable insights?

The important and most effective step to take at this juncture would be to determine what does work, and strive to understand how we know that it works. Let’s look into the prospects of developing a new approach, one that would treat our children as the empowered, sexual individuals they are and then work to make that approach one of our top priorities.
Tune in next week for answers—and more questions.

With Pleasure,

Dr. J


  • At 7:12 PM, Blogger Christine said…

    Well put, niece. Great post!
    BTW: even though I don't comment, I often read your posts. Just so you know... :)

  • At 5:00 PM, Blogger Dr J said…

    Aww. Great to hear from you--and thanks to my favorite aunt for the support. See you soon. Love J


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