Talking to our children about sex is hard to do. At times, it’s more than just a little awkward. Our traditional approach has been to look the other way and hope for the best. In the process, we only ensure that succeeding generations would never receive the best possible sex education.
For too long, we have fought against providing our youth with proper sex education. The price we pay is a rape rhetoric that has needlessly infiltrated the political sphere.
Conservatives are right when they say we need to protect children from sex, which is true — a conservative version of sex education has made the sexual world an extremely dangerous place.
When we have congressmen who are so ignorant of sex they blame rape on women or make facetious distinctions between legitimate rape and illegitimate kinds, it is clear that we need to reverse our course of action.
We cannot continue to keep our youth ignorant of sex and simply hope for the best when they come of age. Waiting to teach someone about sex when he or she is already sexually active is like throwing someone who has never seen a car in the front seat. Putting a seatbelt on said driver is no more an example of safe-driving than handing a teenager a condom as an example of safe-sex.
And let’s stop pretending that sexual education is the same thing as introducing our youth to sex. Sexual education isn’t dirty; it doesn’t have to be graphic or obscene. We don’t have to stab someone to teach our kids not to fight — we talk to them.
Early sex education is not about sexualizing our youth. It’s about giving them the skills and resources they will need when they begin their sexual lives. For those who have had an early sexual life forced upon them by predators, proper and sensitive sex education can provide help and support. Otherwise, these children have to deal with abuses they do not understand all by themselves.
If we don’t properly readdress sexual education, we will continue to breed a society that is forced to learn devastating lessons about sex all on its own. We will continue to raise boys who think saying “no” is just playing hard to get. We will continue to raise lovers who lack the skills to communicate about sex with their partners.
We spend more time shaming girls for dressing scandalously than we do teaching boys not to rape.
It’s time we start teaching our kids appropriate lessons about sex so that they will be prepared for adulthood. It may be awkward, but they can handle it — and so can we.
Reach the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at @jacobevansSP