Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Kids today

We've all heard the small town joke, right? "My town was so small, the local high school had sex ed and drivers' ed in the same car". Ha ha ha. Actually we all thought it was pretty funny and told it a lot. That is until we came back to school on one Monday and there was a used condom in the drivers' ed car. Ick. At least they were having safe sex?

Teenage pregnancy was very common when I was in High School. I don't remember a single class where there wasn't a pregnant girl somewhere in the room. Small town = nothing to do = lots of drinking and sex. And apparently not safe sex.

Judging from the kids I see today, if they are having sex, they're having safe sex. It's a rare thing for to see a pregnant girl and this town is really small with nothing to do - just like my hometown.

There's a lot of discussion among certain politicians about what kind of sex ed should be taught in school. That kids should receive abstinence only education. That teaching them about contraception will make them more likely to engage in risky behavior and more sex. I have no idea if this is true. Teenagers are notoriously shy about admitting when they are having sex - especially if they know they are going to be harshly judged for not being a virgin. How do you know if they are telling the truth about having sex or not? If they don't get pregnant or have a disease, you can't tell. Well, I guess you can give a girl a gyn test and get an idea, but um yeah ...

Let's examine the difference between the town I grew up in and the town I live in now. In my hometown, "good girls didn't" and that was our sex ed until AIDS came on the scene. After AIDS we were told that condoms don't work that effectively and the only thing you should do is abstain. In my current town, the sex ed is very progressive and comprehensive. Boys and girls in this town can tell you everything you could ever want to know about safe sex. They aren't ashamed to go to the health department for condoms (including flavored condoms - yes for oral sex, they even understand the importance of safe oral sex). They will tell you that sex is sex is sex and the presence of a hymen does not make you a virgin if you've had oral or anal sex. They are shocked when they hear a girl say she's saving her virginity for marriage when they know that she's had oral sex.

When I was in jr high (it wasn't called middle school then) Brannon James showed me a condom in his wallet. He was bragging. It was a huge thing. I laughed at the thought of 12yo Brannon James having sex with anyone. Yeah, that pissed him off. Now, I'm told, everyone has condoms. There are, apparently, kids who take bags of them to parties and hand them out to everyone. I think that's a great attitude, myself. And I can tell you, if someone is going to have sex, they will do it with or without a condom. The presence of a condom isn't going to make someone more likely to have sex or not.

Do I want my boys having sex when they're teenagers? Not really. I don't think most teenagers are ready to deal with the emotional fallout of sex. But I'm not going to freak out if they do - unless, of course, they are not using protection and I find out they are pressuring girls to have sex with them.

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