Nov 24 2007
10:10 am

Sexually transmitted diseases are a big problem in Tennessee. (link...)
Could this be because sex education in the schools or even good sex education by parents is lacking here?

There's always an uproar about teaching kids about sex. You could even say a total denial that many children are doing it long before their parents could even imagine. Obviously these statistics point to a failure on the part of teachers and parents in Tenn. to teach kids what the dangers are and how to protect themselves.

The current government insists that funding goes only to abstinence based sex eduction in the schools, though many school systems choose to teach comprehensive sex education, even without government funding. There is also concern that some of the government funded abstinence programs are conveying misinformation about abortion, gays, ways diseaes are transmitted, and teen pregnancy. (link...)

"The report finds that over 80 percent of the abstinence-only curricula, used by over two thirds of abstinence grantees in 2003, contain false, misleading, or distorted information about reproductive health. For example one program tells young people that "you can get AIDS through sweat and tears" and "you have to perform 10 different steps to put on a condom." Students in these programs were also less likely to use contraception when they did have sex and were less likely to seek STD testing."

It's natural that parents feel a lot of conflict about what their kids should know and when they should know it. This well-balanced statistical NPR report explores some of the concerns parents feel about sex education.

I think abstinence is a noble goal, but promoting that instead of making sure kids don't get pregnant or infected with dreadful diseases makes no sense at all. Kids experiment. If they are protected when they decide to have sex, even if it's only one time to see what the hubub is all about, they will just have an experience. If they are not protected it can become a life-altering event.

Anne Onamus's picture


Using the underlying topic of this article as an argument for common sense, I pose a question:

HOW in the world can it be SO hard (pardon the pun) for parents to explain the birds and the bees to their children?

I mean, like, how did them kids get there in the first place?

I attribute this behavior to a concept I call post-fun- remorse.

I can never understand why people, when they are young, are so busy fucking, drinking, smoking, dancing, screaming, what have you. The next thing you know, they are listening to Barry Manilow, going to church, and totally ashamed of what they did in their past right up to the moment of birth of their first born. Note that I did not say "conception". Then all of a sudden, they become paralyzed, start voting Republican and ruin the lives of their kids by denying they ever did anything "bad". And unlike my progeny, they wind up with a shitpile of a family involved in bad relationships, addicted, neurotic, ashamed, fat, sick and divorced. All things that seem to define Tennessee lately.

We are here to eat, fuck, and die. Everything else is a distraction to the aforementioned truths.

Carole Borges's picture

They still think sex is dirty. Not everyone finds it "fun"

Shame is a terrible thing. It prohibits people from forgiving and loving themselves and learning from negative experiences. It seldom prevents anything sordid from happening, when the chips are down people tend to do what they feel compelled to do anyway.

While I agree that the pursuits you mentioned are our most basic biological function. Some biologists insist our ONLY reason for being here is to make babies in order to keep the species going, but I don't think that's all there is to life. I think we also have a built-in need to evolve and grow, so that the next generation will be wiser, safer, and perhaps even happier. A mandate we sadly ignore in favor of other things.

Being human entails doing things that don't always match up to the perfect images our parents want us to reflect. It's too bad being human isn't taught as a good thing. We do after all learn a lot from our so-called erroneous ways. They can teach us understanding, where are real moral limits are, and they increase our empathy towards others who are not perfect.

Too many parents think discussion equals permission. They prefer to pretend things like sex, drugs. teen pregnancy and hatred will never touch their children if they are never discussed. Unfortunately, this approach just leaves children vulnerable when they leave home and discover reality.

I'm all for fun and have had plenty of it. I appreciate the taste of good food and the warmth of a human body. I like stroking my dog and smelling the grass after it's cut, but fun doesn't always come through the senses, and what is fun anyway? Fun is temporary while wisdom and self-knowledge last a long time. To be forced to shut-down your senuality because of a fear of pleasure is very damaging, but so is the concept that fun is all there is. I disagree with that premise. Though I find it preferable to being uptight and miserable.

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