Archive for March, 2010

Oral Sex: The New Goodnight Kiss?

Is oral sex the new goodnight kiss?

Well according to a Canadian filmmaker Sharlene Azam’s new documentary, it is. This documentary aims to “shed light” on the secretive, immensely sexual lives of American teenagers. Starting with the explicit title “Oral Sex is the New Goodnight Kiss,” the film uses little censorship when describing the sexuality of girls as young as eleven. An article written by Claire Shipman and Cole Kazdin titled “Teens: Oral Sex and Casual Prostitution No Biggie” gave a brief overview of the film. According to the article, these young girls are seen and heard talking about sex, sex parties, and even “crossing into prostitution by exchanging sexual favors for money, clothes or even homework and then still arriving home in time for dinner with the family.”

Casual prostitution in Azam’s terms is “being paid at parties to strip, giving sexual favors or having sex” for money and material things. Oral sex hasn’t been considered sex in the eyes of teens for a while. In fact, it’s not even a “big deal” to most of them. According to the documentary, over half of the teens from ages 15 to 19 have had oral sex.

Some quotes from the documentary are as follows, and I got them from the same source as I used above.

  • “Five minutes and I got $100,” one girl said. “If I’m going to sleep with them, anyway, because they’re good-looking, might as well get paid for it, right?”
  • “[Parents] don’t want to know because they really don’t know what to do. I mean, you might be prepared to learn that, at age 12, your daughter has had sex, but what are you supposed to do when your daughter has traded her virginity for $1,000 or a new bag?”
  • “I ended up having sex with more than one person that night and then in the morning I was trying to get morning-after pills,” one of the girls said. “I was, like, 14 at the time.”

I feel there is nothing else needed to say. The point is evident: sexuality is escalating to extreme levels. How does our education, relationship with parents, and morality contribute to the demoralization of society? Here’s a clip to check out about the documentary.

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Sex, Etc.

I stumbled upon something that I found to be rather interesting during my research. First, I started looking at a site called “Rethinking Schools,” and an article titled “Sex Etc.” After reading, I learned that “Sex Etc.” is a magazine on sexuality written for teens and by teens. According to rethinkingschools.org, “The only publication of its kind, “Sex, etc.” is a frank, sexually explicit newsletter published three times a year by the Network for Family Life Education, a coalition of public, private, and nonprofit agencies that supports family life education — including comprehensive sexuality education — in school and community settings.” The article continued to say that the 8 page magazine is distributed for free widely across the United States and addresses topics that may be unheard of in sexual education programs. These include but are not limited to: “abstinence, contraception, teen parenthood, sexually transmitted disease, AIDS, gay and lesbian teens, sexual harassment and violence, abortion, substance abuse, and child sexual abuse.”

I proceeded to check out the magazine’s web site. There was more available than I originally could have imagined, including a large glossary of “Sex Terms” that teens can look up the definitions to. I mean, this glossary literally has everything you can imagine, things some people would go red in the face simply thinking about. Along with this is a list of frequently asked questions, information on how to get tested for Sexually Transmitted Infections, and direct answers to what you can do in a “Crisis” (i.e. rape, unprotected sex).

A few more interesting things that the site offered were quotes and stories from people about their thoughts and feelings about sex. They are encouraged to be extremely open, even if that means using a different name if they aren’t comfortable using their own. People can create profiles, and something I took interest in was on a girl named Brittany, a 16-year-old from Illinois’ profile. There was a chart of what she was taught in sex education class, and what her class skipped over that the website deemed important. The list of the things that she learned is as follows (I copied and pasted this directly from the website):

 • Masturbation • Menstruation • Different kinds of sex • Issues faced by gay, lesbian, bisexual, Trans, or questioning people • Pregnancy options • Abstinence • Abstinence as the only acceptable choice for teens • STDs • How to talk to your partner about sex • Rape and sexual assault

And the list of important things that her class failed to discuss is also as follows, and is once again copied and pasted directly from the website.

• Wet dreams • Fingering and hand jobs • How to decide if you’re ready for sex • How to talk to your parents about sex • How to talk to your partner about birth control or safer sex • How to figure out if your relationship is healthy or not • How to manage online flirting and dating • How to know if your body is developing in a normal way • How to find a clinic

I found this particularly shocking because half of these things were undoubtedly left out of my own Sex-Ed experience. I think that this magazine should be distributed nation wide in health classes and even the educators might need a training course to teach them how to teach us. Abstinence only isn’t a realistic approach anymore. They need to be discussing issues that they don’t want us to have to deal with, but they are important, and unfortunately, with the way things are going, many of us will have to deal with. Sex needs to stop being the forbidden subject! Teens and tweens need to feel comfortable with at least one adult to ask questions without feeling ashamed and embarrassed. Like Mr. Coffee says, one only learns from being uncomfortable, so we need to make ourselves uncomfortable and get the awkward subjects out there if we really want to change the way things are going.

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Sexual Education

With the provocative media and a society that’s quickly becoming demoralized, Sex Education Programs have been called into question. The concern has shifted from whether or not Sex Ed. is appropriate to what kind of approach editors should take. Should they still preach abstinence? Or should they take a more realistic, but also more traditional approach by educating on the correct use of contraceptives? How does the environment in which this class is taught influence the overall effectiveness of the message?

Frequently this class is taught separately, girls with girls, boys with boys. However, in the occasion that the two are mixed, the environment suddenly changes. With giggles at the word “genitals” and the clapping and whistling when speaking of self breast exams, it makes you wonder if sexual health and maintenance cannot be both taken seriously or delivered appropriately, should we even bother trying to deliver the message. To me this question is really not worth asking. I mean honestly, have you looked at a magazine, television, or even book lately? The Twilight series, a popular book and movie among teenaged girls, has even been criticized for presenting abstinence in the wrong way. Who knew that you could propose abstinence in the wrong way?

The point is that educating the younger generations, at even younger ages, is important. Sexual activity is no longer solely an act adults or even young adults indulge in, it’s preteens, middle schooler’s, kids who haven’t even reached puberty. It’s a rapidly growing sexual revolution, and although children may be able to distinguish what is okay to do in a show or what is okay to do in real life, it still gets their minds on the topic of sex, something it shouldn’t be on at such young ages. The opposite sex sure doesn’t seem to have cooties anymore.

So as a “necessary and legitimate course of study,” what is the right approach to take? It’s hard to say. However, by separating boys and girls, I think that it leaves an opportunity for them to miss an important aspect of the course. They should be coed so that they realize the potential awkwardness of exploring their sexuality at young ages. They need to know the facts, both boys and girls, before they get “caught up in the moment.” We’ve all heard that story one too many times, rarely with a happy ending. One website even suggested taking a more scientific approach to the course with hopes of making children realize that sex is a “serious part of their human development rather than a recreational activity.” The possibilities are endless, but it is necessary that we start taking the object of the course seriously and take a more responsible approach to delivering the message. It’s important and if we don’t take the time to educate we’ll suffer the consequences.    

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