Sunday, December 04, 2016

A Better Kind of Sex Education?

A friend posted this to Facebook today. I shared it it with the caption "Today's sex-ed for the 21st Century prepubescent?" This is what I wrote as a comment on my friend's initial sharing of it:
The video reminds me of a German sex-ed book that came out decades ago titled "Show Me." It featured very explicit and controversial, at least in prudish domains such as ours, photos and descriptions of male and female anatomy of children and adults and of human sexual behavior. I think the book, which was available here when it came out, would probably now be regarded as kiddie porn and a person could possibly be imprisoned just for possessing it.
Speaking for myself, I think there's nothing inherently wrong with the video (and the book). In fact, I think it would be great if our society were open to such explicit and thoroughgoing sex-ed for kids, and I wish I'd had it when I was young. I think societies would be far better off if human sexuality were treated so matter-of-factly at an early age instead of being regarded as some magical mystery function and attached to profound and pathologizing feelings of shame and guilt.

But I don't think that's likely to happen anytime soon in our fucked-up country teeming with Orange Menace-worshiping Christian and other prudes."
Maybe I was a little harsh on "Christian[s] and other prudes," but sometimes I can scarcely help myself, especially in the wake of the recent presidential election whose results I blame, to no small degree, on the overwhelming support of religious fundamentalists and evangelicals for Donald Trump. But I do believe that we as adults would have healthier attitudes about sex and better sex lives if we gave children the kind of sex education depicted in the video, and I do wish I'd gotten it when I was an impressionable kid.

We, of course, did receive sex-ed in school, but I think it came later than it needed to, and it definitely left a lot more to our imagination than the video does. And the imagination can conjure up all kinds of crazy ideas. Moreover, the hushed and expurgated way sex education was rendered and the way sex was and is treated by society then and even now turned it into something not only alluringly mysterious to the point of arousing obsession, but it had connotations of nastiness, naughtiness, or worse that caused many of us to feel embarrassed and even ashamed about our bodies and our sexuality, and this creates, it seems to me, a breeding ground for the warping of sexuality into paraphillias--dangerously and even destructively abnormal sexual desires and behaviors--of all kinds and other sexual problems.

Yes I know that kids today can and do go online and see the full range of pornography. But if they could be given the kind of matter-of-fact presentation of basic sexual information when they're really young and before they see those porno videos, they might not even care that much about viewing pornos, and if they did view them anyway, they might be less adversely affected by them.

Contrary to what many adults might fear, I don't think kids would either be traumatized by the sex-ed video above or be prematurely sexualized by it, making them more vulnerable to sexual experimentation or to being molested by adults. On the contrary, I suspect that if they had good, solid sex education when young, they would be less likely to experiment in damaging ways and less vulnerable to exploitation by adults, and, if molested, I think they would be less damaged by it psychologically. It's arguably the kids irresistibly curious about the forbidden mystery of sexuality who are most likely to get into trouble having sex, and those who are taught to regard it as nasty, embarrassing, and shameful who are most likely to be emotionally scarred by having it forced upon them by adults, although I suspect that fewer adults would be forcing it upon children if they had seen videos like the one above when they were young.

I realize that I'm not citing scientific research to corroborate my opinions about all of this but am largely just talking off the top of my head because I want to finish this blog and eat dinner and watch a bowling tournament coming up in a few minutes. Yet, I hope to research all of this over time and possibly have more to say about it and more to back up what I say later on.

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