Monday, September 15, 2008

Speaking of sex ed...

I recently read about a McCain attack ad on Obama, where Obama is criticized for wanting to teach sex ed to kindergardeners. Apparently, the attack is a pretty bogus one, as what Obama called for was "age-appropriate" sex ed that would extend beyond 6-12 and into K-5. By "age-appropriate," we're talking about teaching kids what things like "inappropriate touching" and coming up with a better response than "a stork" if they ask where babies come from. (The stork only being slightly less ridiculous than a magical being who created the world in six days.)

Of course, a lot of people are going to be outraged, and they're going to jump to the conclusion that Obama wants five-year-olds to learn about how to put a condom on a cucumber.

For me though, I really have to wonder - would that be such a horrible thing if they did? You know, if they were taught absolutely everything regarding sex ed? I mean, I don't think that they should, but not so much because it would cause them irreparable damage. The main reason why it should be saved for later is because they simply won't get it. Also, it's just not relevant to teach it to them. But what are we worried about if they're taught how condoms are put on? Five year olds have absolutely no interest in having sex. They don't even have a sex drive.

Again, I don't think that it would be appropriate, but I don't think that it's such an awful scenario either. Want to know what I do think is an awful scenario? Sexually mature teenagers who don't know a damn thing about how their bodies work, that's what. Teenagers having unprotected sex is a far worse thing.

I'm tempted to criticize Sarah Palin here. I'm tempted to wonder how much she talked to her daughter regarding sex. Considering that she's a conservative Christian, chances are decent that the conversation began and ended with, "Don't have sex." Still, that's unfair, because I really don't know. After all, it does happen that there are daughters who get pregnant who have families that are open about sex. Still, I'd bet that the statistics would show that they're the exception rather than the rule.

So, I'd vote no to showing little kids how to use a condom. However, we should be much more outraged at the prospect of an ignorant populace, don't you think?


Ingrid said...

Adding my two cents worth.
I don't believe in sex education in school, just like I don't believe in religion being taught in school.
This is something that should be solely left up to the parents. I would have raised hell if you would have been shown how to put a condom on a cucumber when you were 6 years old. How do you know if the teacher isn't some pervert.
School should teach biology but not personal behaviour in sexual matters. Every child is different and sex is such a personal issue, or at least should be. How come we all learned how even though we had no sex education in school?
What's important is that children learn to respect themselves and others. As you remember, we talked very freely about this subject at home, but I always made sure to tell you that you are not qualified to educate your little friends, because their parents might object, which is their right.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

If they're going to stop teaching sex ed, then prepare for a lot of pregnant teenagers with STDs. Not all parents are willing to talk to their kids. However, the last study I saw showed that most of them are in favor of their kids learning about it in school.

nonmagic said...

I'm 100% for teaching sex ed in schools. For a lot of kids that is the only lace they are going to get the facts.

I would elaborate but I'm swimming in flu germs at the moment and I think I need to go back to bed.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

Sorry, nonmagic, but germs are just a theory.

Ingrid said...

I guess sex education isn't doing what it is supposed to do, or am I not getting something?

In a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in four girls between the ages 14 and 19 were determined to have at least one of four sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) (human papillomavirus (HPV), chlamydia, herpes simplex virus, and trichomoniasis). Infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) was most common, affecting 18% of teenage girls.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

You're right, it isn't doing what it's supposed to be doing. That's because of all the "abstinence-only" education (funded by the Bush administration) that's going around. I wonder how different the averages are when you focus solely on an area that requires a more comprehensive sex education.

I read recently that teenage pregnancy had been steadily declining, but with the rise of these abstinence-only programs, it has taken a slight upturn. Hopefully we can turn that around again.

Ingrid said...

Do you think vacinating 12 year old girls against HPV, which is what they are suggesting here (probably in the US too) is a good idea? Is this what it's come to? I don't have any answers.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

I can think of worse things. You know, like them having HPV.

But we need to stop pretending that this sort of a thing is new. Kirsti and I recently watched a documentary about sex during the Civil War. "A night with Venus, a lifetime with Mercury." Yikes!