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?

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11 Comments on One Extreme To The Other

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nick Russell. Nick Russell said: A new Bad Nick Blog post titled One Extreme To The Other at […]

  2. Redbear says:

    One thing that might work, and maybe the only thing that will work at that age, is something I’ve observed. Tell them, once they are intimate, they can’t be friends anymore. Friends are about the most important thing to them, above anything else.

    Sure, they can be close while they remain intimate, and some kids do spend the rest of their lives with their high school or college sweetheart. But over the years I’ve observed that after a couple breaks it off, if they don’t start totally avoiding each other, the best they can seem to manage is an awkward politeness. Point out kids they know that used to be an ‘item,’ and now don’t want to be in the same subset of the crowd anymore.

    I’ve heard a lot of people in the public eye say “we’re still friends” after a divorce, but I’ll bet if you see them interacting, “acquaintances” might be a more appropriate term.

  3. Pat and Jim says:

    Does sex education encourage sex????

  4. Kenneth says:

    I suggest that those who want “the way it use to be” just don’t remember how it really was.
    If someone teaches sex ed in school they should teach the approved course as defined by the state education board. The DA should butt out.
    Discrimination toward anyone is wrong and I am sure the boys will feel this sting if they are not allowed to shower with the girls…THAT would be real sex education.

  5. Connie Braidh says:

    When the hormones get turned on there is no controlling it!!!!!!!!
    One of male teacher friends told me when I lamented about not having the attention of the boys in my biology class that “They are thinking with their little head not their big head and they do it about every 10 minutes.”
    Being a female naturally I don’t understand that. We only thought about the boys every 12 minutes. Seriously, the best you can do is give them a good upbringing, parents who are good role models, information about sex, consequences, protection, etc. As they grow up they are separate people from you. They will make their own decisions. You just hope they make the right choices.
    The two examples you have given Nick belong in the Dumb A$$ Report.

  6. MichaelG says:

    The Saudis have it right. Cover the women from head to toe and separate the sexes. If you want virtue, it’s the only way…

    I think I’ll stick with all the sin, thanks.

  7. Linda Sand says:

    I really like the one about not being friends after but I’m not sure kids will buy it unless they see it happening to people they know.

    Here’s what my pastor suggested: When talking about car accidents teach your kids about the exchange principle. The one where each car leaves part of itself on the other. Then when talking about sex tell them the exchange principle applies there, too. Every time they intimately touch another person they leave part of themselves behind. Will they have enough left when they finally meet the right person? Wouldn’t it be better to have all of themselves to present to that special person?

    Then you have to keep talking. Don’t think that having had “the conversation” is enough. If you can keep the lines of communication open you increase the odds you will know who they are hanging out with and how that is going.

  8. Orv Schinke says:

    Call me old fashioned, but “boys will be boys” and “girls will be girls” does not cut it. There is such a thing as self control and saving yourself for the one you ultimately marry. I detest the fact that so many, who probably have no self control themselves will say that “teenagers are going to do it anyway.” Not if they’re taught right.

  9. Richard Saams says:

    Is there a point to any of this? I keep reading this blog wondering what you are trying to accomplish but it escapes me. You write about all kinds of things from health care to immigration reform to sex education now, but it never goes anywhere. Are these just mental gyrations? These are all issues that have no solutions, so why waste time writing about them? Then again, why do I waste time reading it? What does that say about me?

  10. Allan W says:

    It would be so much better if sex education would come from parents and church before being presented in the classroom. I am not oppossed to it being discussed in school but it should not be done in a way that encourages them to have sex. Handing out condoms indiscriminately suggests that “everyone is doing it and if you aren’t then you are not normal” There are some kids that really do save themselves for the right person. I believe most teachers that teach sex education in school are probably very responsible but there are others that would imply to students that it is OK to have sex as long as they use a condom and if they get pregnant then it is OK to have an abortion. This has happened many times and that is why many people don’t want this delegated to teachers in a public school. The teenagers are not the only ones affected by an unplanned pregnancy. The parents and even the grandparents sometimes end up raising a child, not the teachers.
    It is best for parents to keep the lines of communication open, as Linda described it, and try watch who the kids are around and what they are doing. Some kids are reponsible and some are not.

  11. Tim says:

    Hey Nick,
    In a previous lifetime I used to call on high schools. Heard lots of great stories that I am sure the principal didn’t want passed around. Your comment reminded me of a school I used to call on (Powers H.S., Powers, Oregon – small logging town near the coast). Recently, in the last couple of years, one of the cheerleaders was showering with the football team. What a way to boost their spirits!

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