The Collegian
Friday, June 21, 2024

Let's -- talk -- about -- sex -- baby

My freshman-year roommates used to joke that I dressed like a middle-aged woman. I agree that I often looked like I had been raped by a Talbots kids magazine and frankly, it wasn't pretty.

I partially blame my mom, but more than that I blame uniforms. I blame the uniforms that I was forced to wear from the tender age of six all the way until my senior year of high school when I was 18.

I think uniforms are one of the things that give Catholic schools a bad rap. Not to mention the misconception that Catholic schools (or any other type of parochial school, for that matter) are home to creationism-loving, Jesus freaks where the nuns run wild with the fury of the Holy Spirit wielding yard sticks and beating everyone who can't spell transubstantiation.

I think one of the issues that is a more realistic concern for some is that a large majority of parochial schools teach an abstinence-only-until-marriage perspective on romantic relationships.

For as long as I've been wearing uniforms, I've also been learning about sex. Whether it was in kindergarten when my human sexuality teacher (yes I had one in kindergarten and yes this was at a Catholic school) asked me what a vulva was and I said, "I'm not sure, but I think my mom drives one," all the way until senior year when that same teacher explained to us how saving sex for marriage is like giving a shiny gumball to your husband or wife and that having sex before marriage is like offering your husband or wife a piece of gum that has already been chewed.

Even as I write this, I'm laughing to myself because the analogy is just as ridiculous now as it was then.

My sex education throughout the years has been, although at times ridiculous, thorough and enlightening. Aside from the gumball analogy and the endless skits that my classmates and I were made to perform - Lynn, you play the girl that's sleeping around at school. And Alli, you can play the girl that spreads vicious rumors about her exploits - I was extremely lucky in that although my grade and high schools promoted abstinence, they were also aware of the reality that people (regardless of what you tell them) are going to have sex. Maybe not in high school. Hopefully not in grade school. But most likely as an adult. So I was fortunate to have a teacher that although encouraged abstaining, still talked about what contraception was and how STDs and other things of that nature were transmitted.

I think a grave error that many schools make is that they don't teach kids anything about sexuality, sex or gender issues at a young age. And if they do, by teaching abstinence-only practices, schools are denying kids the knowledge that could prevent them from thinking things like "you can't get pregnant the first time you have sex" or that STDs are only $9.99 a bucket at Kentucky Fried Chicken.

I'm not saying we should be putting condom vending machines in every high school cafeteria, but I truly do think it's startling to know that there are girls out there who don't know what their period is. Imagine being an eighth grader in your middle school bathroom thinking you're dying because there's blood in your underwear.

You may cringe, God forbid I mention the word period, right? But things like this happen. Or from a male side of the coin, imagine being a young boy who spends half the school day trying to cover up his little boner, only to be told that masturbating will send him on a one-way train to hell.

Some of you probably think that it isn't the responsibility of the school to teach kids about sex, but rather that it is the job of the parents to teach their children what they feel is appropriate for them to know. But, I think it's safe to assume that the reality of parents who feel comfortable enough talking to their kids about those things is probably on the same level of parents who encourage their kids to eat healthy and play outside ...

What young people need is comprehensive sex education that teaches them the facts about their bodies, other peoples' bodies and what happens when those two bodies come together.

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I think Coach Carr from "Mean Girls" said it best in the line, "Don't have sex, because you will get pregnant and die! Don't have sex in the missionary position, don't have sex standing up, just don't do it, OK, promise? OK, now everybody take some rubbers."

In a word, no matter how much you scare kids into thinking sex is evil, some are still going to have it. Period.

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