Putting heads in the sand

By: Dustyn Burt

As children in the dark when our minds would tell us there was a monster under the bed or in the closet, many of us would pretend it’s not there and eventually we would fall asleep believing the monster wasn’t there. This same metaphor could be said about the topic of sex education here in the United States. It is no surprise that sex is a very hush hush subject in America and could even be said more so in this state of Utah.

Condom demonstrations and consent lessons are nonexistent in lesson plans today. It takes two to have intercourse, not just a “yes” but a “hell yes”; without both consenting then that is rape. With so many more rape accusation and convictions most would think change and discussion on how to lead change in order to educate to keep rape from happening in the future. However, efforts are aimed at dismantling resource centers (Planned Parenthood) and telling students not to have sex but rather these have nothing to do with educating or preparing students.

Education systems used to talk about contraceptives such as birth control and condom use as well as giving the information on how to use the products to stay safe and healthy, in order for students to be prepared. Such as STIs (sexually transmitted infections), relationships and pregnancy as well as the options with pregnancy (abortions, adoptions and child care) are all good things to have a little background knowledge on.

There is a popular belief that if a child isn’t asking about sex and not exposed to the topic of sex they will not have sex. There is the unspoken thought among more conservative people that their kids wouldn’t have sex, or talk about sex. With that the minimal Sexual Education in the late 90s was explicitly telling students to abstain until marriage but still nothing about having a healthy sexual relationship with someone. There are more efforts put into scaring students and the public about sex rather that teach how to be healthily if one chooses to have sex.

This thought has been argued many times that teenagers and young adults are going to have sex if they want to or not despite if their parents agree or not. A 2010 national survey showed that more than 7 out of 10 teens hide what they do the internet from their parents.

Professionals in family psychology, sociology and resources such as Planned Parenthood that talking to their kids about sex is the best choice. This way teens aren’t turning to strangers on the internet, relying on the pornography industry as the basis to answer sex questions; even if awkward at least it is awkward with someone they trust.

The rise in pornography usage has been attributed to adolescent children looking up the sex questions they have online because their parents won’t talk to them and they don’t know who to ask at home or school. This is not shocking if we step back and look at it, that if a child can’t go to their parents in this era anyone turns to the internet to find the answers. What can start as a simple question that could be answered in a blog, the same question could pop up a link to porn videos, sexual photos or chat rooms.

Porn is like any other drug really and is addictive like any drug. Sex releases hormones that make us feel good; that’s why people have sex. It’s easy to see how an early to mid-teen going through puberty that already has huge amounts of hormones, can get addicted easily to something exciting.

When I asked a fellow millennial classmate and roommate of mine if he ever turned to the internet for sex questions. Parker Gibbons now 19 years old gave a slight chuckle at his response of “I googled how pregnancy works and how birth works when I was 12. I didn’t want a kid or to have sex I just wanted to know how the process worked”.

As I mentioned earlier it is just human nature to be curious and find answers. Which adds to concern with older generations because the younger generations are very good with technology. The best advice most professionals give is to be an open family by talking to each other judgement free and willing to listen to each other.