Young people and sex. Aside from locking our kids in a bank vault and piping in air to them, how do we keep those teenage hormones under control? It’s a question that most parents have asked themselves more than once, and I’m not sure we ever get it right.
Sitting down and having that birds and bees talk, and explaining to our kids the problems, dangers, and responsibilities of letting those hormones break free has never worked. I think it is even less effective in today’s society, where every television program, every commercial, every movie, and every video game seems to blast them with images of scantily clad bodies and the message that it’s okay to jump from bed to bed faster than a flea jumping from dog to dog at a kennel.
We can preach to our young people that premarital sex is not a good choice, but the reality is that kids are going to do what kids are going to do, and these days they are doing it at an even younger age. I have heard people say that we need to get back to old time values, and that our kids need to spend more time in Sunday School, and less time hanging out with their friends. Take it from someone whose dad was, among other things, an ordained minister and a chaplain to several law enforcement organizations, that never slowed me down a bit. And those stories you’ve heard about the preacher’s daughter? There is a reason for them.
Other parents believe that by treating sex as an everyday, healthy part of life, we take away the mystery and the allure of something forbidden. I’m not sure that works out so great either.
So what do we do about kids and sex? What works? Two news stories this past week illustrate just how different opinions can be on this topic.
In Juneau County, Wisconsin, District Attorney Scott Southworth has informed school teachers that if they tell students in health classes about how to use condoms or birth control pills, they face charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a misdemeanor punishable by up to nine months in jail and a $10,000 fine. Southworth said telling kids about using protection is promoting sex among minors, who are not legally allowed to have sex under Wisconsin law.
Mike Taake, who has taught sex education for 30 years at Mauston High School, says teenagers need all of the information they can get about sex to make intelligent choices. Taake said that teaching just abstinence and telling student to wait until they are married to have sex is not realistic.
Southworth, an evangelical Christian, sent a letter to teachers warning them of the possibilities of prosecution after Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle recently signed a law requiring schools that teach sexual education to adopt a comprehensive approach covering everything from abstinence to birth control. Southworth’s warning has baffled and even enraged school administrators, teachers, and parents alike.
As asinine as Southworth’s position is, the Maine Human Rights Commission has come out with something at least as stupid. The commission has proposed a ban on gender divisions in school sports teams, school organizations, even in school restrooms and locker rooms. These folks claim that forcing a student into a particular restroom or school team because of his or her gender is discrimination.
The proposal was made when the commission ruled that, under the Maine Human Rights Act, a 12 year old transgender boy had been discriminated against when school authorities denied him access to the girls’ bathroom.
Give me a break! What about the rights of the rest of the students, who would not be comfortable sharing a restroom with somebody of the opposite sex? If this flies, every horny high school boy (is there any other kind?) will be demanding his right to shower with the cheerleaders!
Kids and sex. I don’t have an answer. But I know that either one of these extremes is beyond dumb. What do you think?
Tags: abstinence, birds and bees talk, birth control, birth control pills, condoms, evangelical Christian, gender divisions, health classes, Juneau County Wisconsin, law enforcement organizations, premarital sex, school teachers, sex education, Sunday School, teenaged hormones, transgender, Young people and sex