You’re teaching our kids WHAT? - Macleans.ca
 

You’re teaching our kids WHAT?

The latest buzzword in high school sex ed class is ‘pleasure’—not everyone is pleased


 

You’re teaching our kids WHAT?Good For Her, a woman-focused sex shop in downtown Toronto, is not your average erotic emporium, if only because it serves tea. Tucked away in a cozy converted Victorian, the store features all of the usual adult fare—vibrators, lubricants, flavoured condoms, X-rated books and DVDs—but what’s notably different is the tone of the place, inspired, it would seem, by someone’s zany, free-spirited aunt. Guided by a philosophy of inclusive, non-threatening, pleasure-focused sex education, Good For Her has become well-known for its great-sex workshops, which it offers in-store, on university campuses, and at bridal showers and private parties. The message is always the same: your body is a gift, people. Explore it. Take care of it. Enjoy it.

About a year and a half ago, Good For Her’s founder, Carlyle Jansen, started getting phone calls from an unlikely market niche: local high school teachers, asking if she would come by their classes and talk to the kids about sex. The fact is, the majority of public school teachers are never explicitly trained to teach sexual education. In many cases, it’s the rookies—perhaps trained in math or gym—who get stuck with it. “Sometimes they’d call because they don’t know enough about it themselves,” Jansen says. “Or they’re uncomfortable.” Teachers can find it unpleasant to make the leap from geometry to sexting. “They feel like they have to then talk to the kids the next day and have an ongoing relationship,” she says, “so it’s easier to bring someone in from outside.”

And so, happy to oblige, Jansen and some of her colleagues visited the Toronto classrooms and tried to get a feel for what students knew, what they didn’t know, and moreover, what they wanted to know. The more workshops they conducted—she guesses they’ve done 12 to 15 so far—the more convinced they became that high school students are navigating a huge information gap, and that in many schools, the current sex ed curriculum is woefully inadequate. “Kids are taught to death about all the bad things that can happen to them if they have sex,” she says. “They’ve said, ‘We’ve heard about sexually transmitted infections, we know you can get pregnant, but we want to know about pleasure and we want to know about healthy relationships.’ ”

In her workshops, Jansen urges teens to ask about anything and everything, from masturbation, gender identity and same-sex feelings to sex toys (which they keep on hand in case the subject comes up), why people like oral sex, and why that particular act should go both ways. She encourages them to role play in order to learn how to broach difficult conversations. For instance, how do you raise the subject of condoms in the heat of the moment? And what do you do if a boy says he won’t wear one? To help illustrate the “pleasure centres” portion of the lesson, Jansen and her colleagues bring in visual aids from the store, including a plush pink vulva puppet. “People laugh. They can’t believe it,” she says. “But they don’t know what a vulva looks like. Adult women don’t know what a vulva looks like.” To describe the male anatomy, they bring a dildo. “We usually bring one that is silver-coloured and we say, ‘This is the head of the penis. This is the shaft. These are the sensitive parts.’ ”

Soon, even more teens will be able to take part in the Good for Her version of sex ed. Jansen has helped launch the Sexual Health Education Pleasure Project (SHEPP)—a non-profit organization devoted to providing free, pleasure-based sex ed workshops for youth in schools and community groups in Toronto. Visitors to SHEPP’s newly minted website, Shepptoronto.com, will note that parts of the lesson plan sound more like the table of contents of Cosmopolitan than anything a high-schooler might traditionally learn in class: “The art of dating—in person, online and texting”; “Negotiating what you want—in and out of the bedroom”; “Pleasure centres and anatomy basics (what feels good, what doesn’t, and where to find it)”; and “Cool, safe, and hot sex.” The goal, Jansen assures, is not to urge kids to get out there and do it, but to present them with facts and choices so they can make informed personal decisions.

Now say you’re the parent of a 14-year-old, and your kid comes home one day and tells you that the owner of a sex shop came into her classroom, dildo in hand, and talked to the kids about ways to make their love lives “hot and sexy.” Are you going to breathe a sigh of relief that someone else is telling your kid this stuff, or is your inner Bill O’Reilly going to surface? Maybe you’ll want to know what, pray tell, was wrong with the old euphemistic puberty puns and plastic pelvises?

Like it or not, Jansen isn’t the only person pushing for more “pleasure” in sex ed. The fact is, while parents were looking the other way, and many do prefer to look the other way, a substantial shift has been unfolding in the world of sexual education. The old model of simply mapping out basic anatomy and issuing warnings about diseases is giving way—not only in pockets of Canada, but also in the U.S. and abroad—to a pleasure-focused brand of sex education, which emphasizes the healthy and fun sides of sex. Its growing network of proponents sees pleasure-focused sex ed as an urgent necessity in an age of sexting, Internet porn, and Disney heroines-gone-wild. It’s not about advocating sex, they say. Rather, it’s the belief that radical openness will demystify sex and help give teens the confidence to make smarter choices. “What we have found is, if you talk about how to prevent STIs, youth tune you out,” says Jansen. “If you talk about how things work and what are the different options, they pay attention. There are safer-sex messages implicit in what we say, but it’s within a package that’s more interesting to them.”

Recently, Oprah Winfrey drew attention to the subject when her show’s resident sexpert, Dr. Laura Berman—a staunch pleasure proponent—introduced her audience to the idea of “cradle to grave” sex education. By Grade 2, she said, kids should know the truth about where babies come from. By Grade 5, masturbation, orgasm and the mechanics of sex should be covered, and by Grade 6, kids should know about “safer-sex” options. Perhaps most controversially, Berman told the audience of aghast moms that when their daughters hit 15 or 16, they might want to consider buying them a clitoral vibrator to teach them the joys of exploring their own bodies. The rationale, she says, is that it’s an opportunity to boost self-esteem: “You’re teaching them about pleasuring themselves and taking the reins of their own sexuality so that they don’t ever have to depend on any teenage boy to do it for them.” (As outrageous a birthday gift as it may seem, some parents are listening. In recent years, Jensen has started to notice more mothers coming into Good For Her with their daughters, ages 13 to 16, for precisely this purpose.)

In the U.S., a Washington-based non-profit called the Coalition for Positive Sexuality provides information, resources and an online forum to teens, advising them that access to candid sex information is their right. Its “Just Say Yes” campaign says, “we’re tired of people telling us what we can and can’t do. There’s no preaching. No moralizing. Just the facts.” In addition to all the standard safer-sex information, CPS’s website offers suggestions for safe and fun ways teens can “get off.” The idea being that if you want to steer kids away from the riskiest types of behaviours, you have to provide them with fun, creative alternatives. (Among its suggestions: “suck, kiss, touch, bite, fondle, nibble, squeeze, and lick” and “look at sexy pictures and videos.” The list gets more explicit from there.) One of CPS’s promotional posters features three teenage girls whispering to each other, one of whom is holding an open binder filled with little plastic bottles. “The secret to great sex . . .” the tag line reads: “water-based lube!”

The vast majority of Canadian parents—more than 85 per cent—agree that some type of sex education should be mandatory in schools. But what’s harder to agree on is content—the what, the how and the how much.

In the past two years, a spate of high-profile incidents—creative flourishes of individual educators—has had more parents wondering what actually goes on in the classroom. In Winnipeg, for instance, parents were irate after a public health nurse allegedly introduced 12-year-olds to flavoured condoms. More recently, a teacher in Cambridge, Ont., sent Grade 9 boys to the local drugstore to buy condoms, and then had them race back to be the first to affix one onto a wooden penis. Speed is, after all, of the essence in the real world, too.

But perhaps no one has caused more of a ruckus over pleasure-focused sex ed than the British government. In July, Britain’s National Health Service published a pamphlet for teens called “Pleasure”—featuring the slogan, “An orgasm a day keeps the doctor away”—that made headlines around the world. The pamphlet advised youth that they have the “right” to a pleasurable sex life, and that regular intercourse can be a good cardiovascular activity: “Health promotion experts advocate five portions of fruit and veg a day and 30 minutes’ physical activity three times a week,” it says. “What about sex or masturbation twice a week?” It also said that by experimenting sexually, teens can learn that there is not one “proper” way to have sex. Not surprisingly, the backlash came fast and furious from family and religious groups who called it obscene. Dr. Trevor Stammers of Family and Youth Concern called it “nothing less than encouraging child abuse.”

In fact, the push-back against new “progressive” approaches to sex education is growing almost as quickly as the phenomenon itself. Among those leading the charge is Dr. Miriam Grossman, a former UCLA campus psychiatrist and the author of the new book You’re Teaching My Child What?: A Physician Exposes the Lies of Sex Education and How They Harm Your Child. Grossman believes sex education in North America has become so “steeped in liberal ideology” that it has created a reckless atmosphere of sexual permissiveness among youth, evidenced by climbing rates of STIs. “If [sex educators’] priority is our children’s health, they must focus on fighting herpes and syphilis, not sexism and homophobia,” Grossman writes. “They must grow up, shed their 1960s mentality, and enter the 21st century. Then they must respond to this catastrophe by declaring war on teen sexual behaviour—yes, war, just as we’ve declared war on smoking, drinking, and trans fats.”

Whether they’re advocating pleasure or military action, most sex educators have the same goal in mind—to get teens to have less sex. That’s no small task. The reality is, according to Planned Parenthood Toronto’s Teen Survey Report, released in June, that roughly a quarter of youth have already had sex by the age of 16; a quarter of all teens say they have given or received oral sex; and seven per cent have had anal sex. The report also found that young people themselves are the ones who feel they’re not armed with enough information. According to Lyba Spring, a Toronto Public Health nurse who has been teaching sexual education in schools for almost three decades, many of them are venturing online to get it, and what they’re seeing would blow parents’ minds. “Before they saw the odd porn video the older brother had in the house, or whatever,” she says. “Now, they’re messed up because of their exposure to graphic, frightening images. The questions that they ask reflect the fact that they have seen stuff they shouldn’t be seeing.” So the dilemma becomes, how do we properly equip them for the world they live in without, you know, equipping them?

Sex education has always been a twisted, highly politicized jumble of moral, cultural, religious, and medical perspectives—and as always, teachers bear much of the responsibilty for helping kids wade through it. In Canada, while every province and territory teaches some form of sex education, overall the lessons are uneven at best. In 2007, the Canadian Federation for Sexual Health (CFSH) released Sexual Health in Canada, the first ever comprehensive statistical portrait of Canadians’ sexual health. According to the report, students received on average only three to eight hours a year of instruction in sexual health issues. Public health nurses are available to schools for five hours a month on average, with just one hour allocated to sexual health.

Schools are meant to follow national guidelines for sex ed, broad recommendations set by the Public Health Agency of Canada in 2008 for creating sex-positive, inclusive, non-judgmental, comprehensive sex ed programs, which provinces follow to varying degrees. However, many schools and school districts don’t fully implement the curricula. “What one grade may get, another may not, and what one school gets, another may not,” says Stephanie Mitelman, a certified sexuality educator and McGill University instructor who travels the country training nurses and teachers on how to teach a comprehensive sex ed program. “It really comes down to the teacher.”

In 2005, Quebec took the controversial step of eliminating discrete sex ed classes in all of its schools. Instead, the province offers a “holistic” and integrative approach, meaning that teachers of all subjects are now asked to integrate some sex education into their lessons, whether they be math or chemistry or geography—a tricky thing for teachers to do even if they wanted to. According to Mitelman, many don’t. Coincidentally, a study by the public health department found that the rate of gonorrhea in Montreal has surged to 44 cases per 100,000 in the youth population—a 100 per cent increase between 2004 and 2008.

Kim Mitchell teaches physical education at a Toronto inner-city high school to Grade 9 and 10 girls. When it comes to the sex ed component of her classes, she faces layer upon layer of challenges: conflicting parental values, students of different cultures, socio-economic backgrounds, sexual orientations, and a range of sexual experience. One thing she has implemented in her class is the “secret question box” where girls can ask anonymous questions about sex in order to get the conversation rolling.

“When you have a class of 30, you get a pretty wide range of experience,” she says. “Sometimes the questions are exploratory to fill in the blanks of what they’ve heard from their friends or from the media. Then we get some kids who are embarrassed that they don’t know anything at all. Especially those who haven’t been in the country for a long time. They may come from a place where genital mutilation is still occurring and the idea of a woman masturbating would be very upsetting to the parents, so you just have to navigate these land mines as a teacher.”

One thing Mitchell can safely say is that she’s never had a student ask her about basic biology. “I’ve never had a kid ask me about a fallopian tube or the vas deferens,” she says. Instead, the questions run the gamut from myth-dispelling (“If I think my friend is pretty, does this mean I’m gay?) to wanting something they heard about online or from their friends spelled out. (“What’s fisting?” “What’s S&M?” “What’s a strap-on?”)

“I don’t think answering the questions means they will go out and engage in these acts,” she says. Often, the kids simply have no context for what they’re seeing, and no safe, reliable forum (depending on their situation at home) to ask the very candid questions they need to ask. “The questions typically are the means by which we go on to discuss other important social issues of sexuality, power relations, gender, religious and moral beliefs. I really think it’s better to have the kids talking about it. If we silence them, what are they going to do?”

One thing that Mitchell and other educators agree on is that the assumption that this generation is necessarily more sophisticated because of their heightened media exposure is entirely wrong. “Kids don’t know more,” says Mitelman. “What they know more of are buzzwords. They tell you about the clitoris or blow-up dolls or whips and chains—the stuff they see in media. But they know very little concrete information.”

The CFSH survey confirmed that Canadian youth are plagued by misinformation: “They do not consider themselves to be at risk for HIV/AIDS and their overall knowledge base about the disease has declined since 1989,” the authors concluded. “Youth, particularly under 16, are now more likely than in 1989 to believe there is a cure for AIDS, that birth control pills protect against HIV, to be confused about how to use condoms correctly.” Other urban legends remain pervasive—that anal sex is “safe” because it won’t get a girl pregnant, and that Mountain Dew can be used as a spermicide.

In fact, misinformation may be one reason that, although teen pregnancy rates are down nationwide, STI rates among teenagers in Canada are surging. In the CFSH survey, young people 15 to 24, although they represent about 14 per cent of the population, reported over two-thirds of chlamydia infections between 1997 and 2004. Also on the rise are incidents of gonorrhea and syphilis. The report found a clear link between the rise of all STIs and the non-use of condoms. Older teenagers, they determined, concerned primarily about pregnancy, prefer to rely on the pill. A 2006 survey by the Canadian Association for Adolescent Health found a quarter of sexually active youth between 14 and 17 did not use a condom the last time they had sex.

This, Grossman says, is the very reason pushing pleasure is a disaster. Overcoming the fear of pleasure is not teens’ problem, she says. “People are going to discover on their own what feels good,” she says. In expending so much time “normalizing” everyone’s sexual proclivities, Grossman believes that sex educators are prioritizing the wrong kind of information, not to mention downplaying the emotional and psychological ramifications of casual sex. “I think a lot of fear is a good thing,” she says. “There are life and death infections involved here.”

What we need to present, she believes, is an ideal—one based on health and not pleasure—and that ideal is abstinence. “Is everyone going to follow that ideal? Of course not,” she says. “That’s ridiculous. I’m looking at the obligation to present an ideal and tell kids that the closer you can get to that ideal, the better for you.”

In some places, parents, horrified by what schools are teaching—or what they think schools might be teaching—have introduced an exit clause. In June, after much debate, Alberta’s Tory government passed Bill 44, a highly controversial amendment to the province’s Human Rights Act, so that Alberta parents can pull their children out of class during planned discussions on religion, sexuality and sexual orientation. (The bill has been viewed by many to be less about health and safety concerns than keeping kids away from lessons on same-sex relationships.)

Amid the pedagogical warfare, inevitably teenagers are going to do what they’re going to do. And what information they don’t find in the classroom, they will seek elsewhere. Helping to fill the info gap are popular websites like Columbia University’s website Go Ask Alice!, gURL.com, and Scarleteen.com (dubbed “Sex ed for the real world”), where teens are invited to ask anonymous questions and solicit advice. Often, untrained peer counsellors are the ones answering their questions, and they’re doing it in stunning detail. In addition to safer-sex advice, these sites offer info on the joys of oral sex, how to use “safe words” in S&M play, and even how to fake an orgasm. Or there’s the Midwest Teen Sex Show, an infotainment webcast for teens ages 13 to 18 that uses raunchy, teen-friendly humour to cover everything from fetishes and “backdoor business” to “how to make your own dental dam.”

And that, of course, is the good, clean stuff. No matter how distasteful frank sexual conversations seem to some adults, having them needs to be our No. 1 priority, says Lyba Spring. When you combine all of the misinformation out there with rampant Internet porn and a sex-crazed popular culture, you have a recipe for disaster. “They’re so messed up,” says Spring. “We have to make an effort to turn it around.”


 

You’re teaching our kids WHAT?

  1. Parents are pissed because somebody brings up "pleasure" when discussing (and teaching about) sex? Did I read that right? What the bloody H are these parents teaching their kids?

    OK, maybe it does take a village after all.

  2. Everyone is in agreement that young adults should be taught about healthy, happy sex.

    The disagreement concerns what comprises healthy, happy sex. For example, is pleasure the same as happiness? Aristotle debunked that canard rigorously 2300 years ago. Most adults have debunked it by personal experience (and error) by the time they reach 40. Therefore is pleasurable sex the same as happy sex? Or healthy sex?

    Someone has to figure these things out. I'd wager that Ms. Jansen has never even thought about them. Young adults need to figure them out too, but they can avoid a lot of misery later in life if someone gives them a little guidance. Someone with their best interest in mind and a wealth of life experience. That someone is their parent, not (in general) the local sex-shop owner.

  3. Everyone is in agreement that young adults should be taught about healthy, happy sex.

    The disagreement concerns what comprises healthy, happy sex. For example, is pleasure the same as happiness? Aristotle debunked that canard rigorously 2300 years ago. Most adults have debunked it by personal experience (and error) by the time they reach 40. Therefore is pleasurable sex the same as happy sex? Or healthy sex?

    Someone has to figure these things out. I'd wager that Ms. Jansen has never even thought about them. Young adults need to figure them out too, but they can avoid a lot of misery later in life if someone gives them a little guidance – someone with their best interest in mind and a wealth of life experience. That someone is their parent, not (in general) the local sex-shop owner.

  4. This article ain't gonna help Macleans spread to the under 30 demographic anytime soon.

  5. In fact, misinformation may be one reason that, although teen pregnancy rates are down nationwide, STI rates among teenagers in Canada are surging"

    Teen pregancy rates are not down. High rates of teen abortion mask high teen pregnancy rates.

    I think the lesson of this post is "teach it at home". That way, your child has a base of knowledge when confronted with these school activities.

    • Karen, pregnancy rates already include abortion, miscarriage and live birth rates. If you think teen pregnancy rates in Canada are on the rise, I suggest you re-check your sources. Teen pregnancy rates have

  6. From the article….
    "Whether they're advocating pleasure or military action, most sex educators have the same goal in mind—to get teens to have less sex.".
    Talk about a mixed message!! How in heaven's name do they think they are going to be discouraging teen sex when they are concurrently giving teens the "how to" lesson on how to make it really, reeeeally fun!!!!?? Why do you think STI's are on the increase? Because kids haven't been encouraged to NOT have sex. They've been given the green light.

    • Yeah, that's been working for 1000s of years.

      Seriously, does everyone who has a child immediately forget what it was to be a teenager?

    • The green light is in our DNA. The only effective means of encouraging abstenance beyond a certain age is the threat of unpleasant consequence…disease, pregnancy, or wrath of God.

      If SHEPP, CPS, and like programs can help produce self-confident, informed people who are comfortable with their sexuality, have all the information they need to protect themselves, and have high expectations of their relationships. Isn't that desireable?

      • I regret that I can give but one thumbs-up to Darden's comment. Intense Debate will not let me click more than once. Shame, that. If only more parents shared this common-sense wisdom…

  7. Here's a letter I wrote to the Canadian Press about misleading reporting of Teen abortion statistics. I would urge Maclean's to uphold standards of journalistic integrity when reporting healthcare statistics to Canadians.
    http://groups.google.com/group/abortion-in-canada

  8. This is a test.

  9. Everyone agrees that young adults should be taught about healthy, happy sex.

    The disagreement concerns what exactly comprises healthy, happy sex. For example, is pleasure the same as happiness? Aristotle debunked that canard rigorously 2300 years ago. Most adults have debunked it by personal experience (and error) by the time they reach 40. Therefore is pleasurable sex the same as happy sex? Or healthy sex?

    I'd wager that Ms. Jansen has never even thought about these considerations rather than taking pleasure and physical health as the ultimate goals. Young adults need to figure these questions out too, but they can avoid a lot of misery later in life if someone gives them a little guidance – someone with their best interest in mind and a wealth of life experience. That someone is their parent, not (in general) the local sex-shop owner.

    • I don't think Ms Jansen ever says that pleasure and physical health are the ultimate goals. Saying so is constructing a straw man. She talks about healthy relationships and subjects like same-sex feelings and gender identity too, and she never says which topic is most important.

  10. Sex education is definitely in need of reform. Having someone to actually talk about sex and relationships would have been amazingly helpful. Teens should not learn about sex from porn and Cosmo or from their terribly awkward gym teacher.

    • Thinking back to grade six, I would not have objected at all to sex ed from my gym teacher. Why, I would have been quite cool with some practical sessions to complement the theor– *slaps self* — …

      • since I don't know what your gym teacher was like, I can only envision mine. Gross.

  11. Teacher Kim Mitchell is to be applauded for her frank and honest approach to teaching sexuality in her classroom. Her statement about students from other cultures though, "They may come from a place where genital mutilation is still occurring…" suggests that our culture is one of genital integrity, and that is false.

    Indeed we live in a culture that still routinely cuts off the most sexually sensate part of many infant boys penises. Denial has many gasping, "How can you call male circumcision mutilation?" If we wish to raise sexually healthy young adults and claim to offer frank discussion of sex and their bodies then male circumcision forced upon infants and children must also be understood for what it is.

    • I don't feel mutilated, violated, victimized or in any way deprived by the loss of my foreskin. While I am unable to say what it is I may be missing, given I have never had any other reality than the one in which I find myself now, I'm right as rain, so don't go making any claims on my behalf, pal.

      As for "the most sexually sensate part of many infant boys penises", I'm no doctor, but I think the glans might be just a little more important, don't you?

      • Of course you don't feel mutilated, victimized or in any way deprived by the loss of your foreskin. Societies that cut children reinforce the dogma needed to convince those who are cut that they are better off without the part that was remove. Are you willing to give up any more of your penis skin?

        As for sensation it should come as no surprise that the distal end of a body part contains the most sensation. The fingertips lips and foreskin are all unique, they contain Meissner's corpuscles, a type of nerve endings in the skin that are responsible for sensitivity to light touch. They are distributed throughout the skin, but concentrated in areas especially sensitive to light touch, such as the fingertips, palms, soles, lips, tongue, face and the male and female prepuce.

        Actually doctors Morris J. Sorrells, James Snyder and Mark D. Reiss did an extensive penile sensitivity test, Fine-Touch Pressure Thresholds in the Adult Penis, published in British Journal of Urology, Oct 2006 they concluded: The glans of the circumcised penis is less sensitive to fine touch than the glans of the uncircumcised penis. The transitional region from the external to the internal prepuce is the most sensitive region of the uncircumcised penis and more sensitive than the most sensitive region of the circumcised penis. Circumcision ablates the most sensitive parts of the penis.

        • Arguments in favour of circumcision include the reduction in urinary tract infections and, therefore, lower infant mortality rates, especially in developing countries; chances of cancer; assorted inflammations due to different causes; and is far safer for the owner of the penis and his partners with respect to STDs.

          This decision, made by parents on a regular basis, balancing your arguments and those of protagonists of circumcision, including some of the considerations I just cited, are not made invariably because social, religious or other sources pressure them into doing so. In North America, I feel relatively safe in asserting that our "society" does not expect this of us as parents, since we come from a disparate range of racial, religious and cultural backgrounds, covering the full gamut. Our doctor did not advocate one decision over another. We made our decision, for good or for bad, on our best understanding of what we were doing.

          • Anyone who cuts off part of a child's healthy genitals needs to look a bit more deeply at the "best understanding" that led to that choice, and also to understand how society can coerce us to the most inhumane and barbaric actions. Circumcision is going the way of the lobotomy, though a few opportunistic "doctors" fight to preserve an easy source of revenue, despite the fact that circumcision of children breaks the Hippocratic Oath.

      • But by using the same logic; if it would be normal to remove the toes of babies, not having experienced anything different, it's unlikely you would consider this a big deal either… but it's still a form of mutilation.

        There is two important points on this:
        1- Circumcision is made (mostly) on babies and not at an age when the person concerned could clearly tell the "before/after" difference, making the procedure not only completely unnecessary but also unethical as well (ie, the baby's life and health is not threatened in any way, in fact while very low, the procedure, like any procedure, has risk).
        2- Lacking the foreskin means that the skin of the glans get thicker from rubbing directly against the pant/underwear (in the same way that someone who always walk around barefoot has a much thicker foot skin than someone always walk in comfortable shoes). As a consequence of this the sensibility is reduced.

        So basically, I don't see why people should be forced in that situation.

      • Actually, there are more nerves per square inch in the foreskin.

    • Funny, I'm having difficulty finding the replies I have made to you, or yours to mine. This post shows 4 total replies before I add this one, but only shows my initial reply to your post. I wonder why that is?

    • Zeph,

      I'm sorry, but using exaggerated comparisons is ridiculous. Every time I fell on my face, I would be reminded of the loss of my toes. Using the risk bugaboo in point #1 is also nonsense. You simply tote the complications reports from the procedure against all of the known health risks of maintaining the foreskin and make your decision. I am happy enough with the decison my parents made that, after considering the evidence, I made the same decision.

      On point #2, you are using armchair logic, not empirical evidence. Again, I would weigh the health risks against the fact that I experience tremendous pleasure form my sex life and come to the same conclusion as above.

      If you make a decision I don't agree with, I feel that's your call. I don't villify you or imply barbarity, even though I feel you are exposing your son to unnecessary risk. Please respect my right to make the same call counter to your opinion.

    • Zeph,

      I'm sorry, but using exaggerated comparisons is ridiculous. Every time I fell on my face, I would be reminded of the loss of my toes. Using the risk bugaboo in point #1 is also nonsense. You simply tote the complications reports from the procedure against all of the known health risks of maintaining the foreskin and make your decision. I am happy enough with the decison my parents made that, after considering the evidence, I made the same decision.

      On point #2, you are using armchair logic, not empirical evidence. Again, I would weigh the health risks against the fact that I experience tremendous pleasure from my sex life and come to the same conclusion as above.

      If you make a decision I don't agree with, I feel that's your call. I don't villify you or imply barbarity, even though I feel you are exposing your son to unnecessary risk. Please respect my right to make the same call counter to your opinion.

    • "Anyone who cuts off part of a child's healthy genitals needs to look a bit more deeply at the "best understanding" that led to that choice, and also to understand how society can coerce us to the most inhumane and barbaric actions. Circumcision is going the way of the lobotomy, though a few opportunistic "doctors" fight to preserve an easy source of revenue, despite the fact that circumcision of children breaks the Hippocratic Oath."

      Clearly I am corresponding with an evangelical zealot. Once the initial onslought of their strong assertions is rebuffed, air quotes and ad hominems break out.

  12. Reasons same sex-sex or homosexuality is wrong are: Their are two human genders not just one thus males and females are naturally intended for each other. It's because of heterosexuality not homosexuality the human race has become. All kids whenever possible deserve both a dad and a mom not two or three moms.

    • Larry not 2 people give a care about what you are saying here. This article isn't saying its right or wrong. Please read the damn thing before posting something as controvercial as thing.

    • Go back under your bridge.

    • You are a genius. Why has no one thought of this before?

  13. Silly me, I thought pleasure happened when you met the right person and fell in love and grew together in closeness and understanding. If I were in school or had children still in school, I would be resentful of having porn and gadgets and the word "fun" foisted upon me. How cheap.

    • It is because of people like you that teens and indeed many adults have such a poor understanding of sexual issues. Same as the homophobe Larry does not help teens come to terms with what is happening to their bodies or their minds.
      There is no difference between teaching about sex than there is about drugs. Teens are smart and if you lie to them about a little thing they will not believe you when it comes to something really important. Having someone who will encourage teens to ask questions and answer them honestly is an invaluable asset.

      • You have read things into my two and a half lines that weren't there, perhaps reflecting your own prejudice against people who look for more depth and meaning and quality than one finds in plastic toys and sexual acts depicted on film. Of course I am favour of high-quality sex education. When it comes to the values of sex shop vendors and the film industry, I would want the choice to listen to them or ignore them. Don't worry, any annoyance at having words put in my mouth is more than allayed by the hilarity of being lumped in with the homophobe Larry, whoever that is. I think anyone who knows me and my passionate views on equality for all people would find that quite amazing! I'm out of here. Go and rail against someone else for things they didn't say.

    • for YOU, that's what pleasure is. And sure, lots of people find sex with someone they're in love the way THEY want to experience sex.

      But not everyone thinks there is a "right" person, and plenty of people are totally comfortable and enjoy — and feel that it is RIGHT for them for whatever reason — with having fun sex. With WHOEVER they want, be it with someone they're in love with or not. The problem with what you, and many other people against this type of sex ed, are saying, is that you assume everyone feels the same way you do. Sorry, but that's just not the reality.

      Instead of quashing everyone else's feelings and opinions, embrace it; let this kind of sex ed happen. Because kids aren't going to go "oh this sounds amazing!" and run out there and have sex. Because some teens also feel like they only want to have sex with someone they love (even if that someone they love is in their life at that moment, that doesn't make it any less legitimate than you having sex with someone you're in love with right now, at your age).

      And those who DO feel comfortable with more casual sex, will then be able to do it SAFELY, for heart, mind, and body, knowing what they want, knowing how to learn what the other person (or people) wants, how their body works, and how the OTHER person's (or people's) body works.

      NOT telling teens this stuff about pleasure won't stop them from being curious, it won't stop them from going out and experiencing it. But telling them can make them either less curious (because some of that curiosity might come from it being so taboo), and/or a whole lot more safe physically and emotionally when they DO start with sexual activity.

      • I didn't say anything about "quashing everyone else's feelings and opinions." I expressed my feelings and opinions and you don't have to agree. I would choose not to take part in a presentation by a sex shop owner and would be upset if if were compulsory because my own personal values don't condone the crime-ridden porn business, for one thing. I didn't say that people shouldn't learn about sexual health. I would be the last to say that because I was young during the decade and a half when there was great pressure to have casual sex, using the Pill or an IUD and not condoms. I even remember reading the article in Cosmopolitan magazine that women are unlikely to contract the HIV virus from a man. I wonder how many tragedies resulted from that stupid and shallow treatment of the subject.

        Also, this is probably answering someone else's comment, but I am not a homophobe and I don't know who "Larry the homophobe" is. I have always believed that people should be true to themselves and was in favour of equal rights for gays and lesbians, including same-sex marriage, long before any laws were enacted.

  14. Personally I think promoting safe sex is important to young adults, however I also believe promoting pleasurable sex is important. Being a 20 year old Male from Wasaga Beach Ontario I can tell you the sex education in my area of Ontario is severly lacking. From videos from 20-30 years ago to hilariously poor lesson plans the education on sex needs to be brought to attention in High Schools and stat.

    When I was in high school the amount I knew about the dangers of sex was immense, but did it sto pme from having sex? Simple answer, no. Young adults (esp. males) in high school are not scared of STIs in general because they are usually in the mind set of "that won't happen to me." or "I'm young I can't get a disease", foolish as it might be it's true. I believe teaching kids the how, why and when to have sex the most pleasurable why isn't a bad thing! If I had of known these things I might not have been nearly as promiscuous in high school. Many times I would be with a girl and think to myself, "Yeah she's decent in bed but I think I can find a girl who is better." I wasn't always looking for better either.

  15. -Continued-

    If I had been taught more of the things suggested in this article (i.e. fetishes) I wouldn't have been so nervous about them that I started to second guess myself on them.

    For those of you who just want to quell the thoughts of opening up sex to young people, you are too late. Kids will learn about sex and young adults will be having it. I suggest we try and get the message of safe sex out with the message of pleasurable sex. Personally I would have paid much more attention if half the class was based on pleasure and half on safety.

  16. I’m 19, just finished high school, and I think this stuff is inappropriate. Sex is promoted enough! Everyone knows it can be great! And Cosmopolitan, etc finish off everyone’s questions about that. it downplays the gravity of the scary stuff. I’m so grateful that I learned about condoms and STIs in health class.
    I do think the stuff about self-esteem and relationships is a good idea. I’ve had to tell a guy not to continue without a condom and I still don’t know how! That was after years of experience – I can’t imagine how scary (and unsuccessful) it might be for a kid.

    Abstinence should not be the only option.
    But mind-blowing orgasms shouldn’t be the only way to be happy either.
    What about mature, loving and safe sex in a mature, loving and safe relationship?

    I think the most important thing is for teens to do what is right for them, not their peers or parents, and so to achieve this, different options should be available, but no particular philosophy (be created by God for sex vs. sex only to create for God) should be crammed down their throats.

    Wow, essay.

    • Sadly, Cosmo isn't a very good resource. And guys don't read it. Most guys get their sex ed from porn which is absolutely terrible, especially from the point of view of a woman.

  17. Whatever happened to teaching responsibility and character regarding sexual behaviour? More than toys and anatomy lessons, this should be the focus of sex education

    • I agree! There are no morals being taught anymore by parents. Most parents are just handing over their parenting responsibilities over to the teachers. And this is what happens. It all comes down to proper parenting and teaching values in the family. But we are becoming so lazy. Our values in America are plummeting downhill. Everyone makes fun of the older generation, but I tell you, I really wish I lived back then when family values meant everything and children were taught proper manners, respect, politeness. Those days are gone now. I totally disagree that kids should be taught the pleasures of sex. They should be taught by their parents and have the "birds and the bees" talk. 10 yr. olds don't need to know about pleasuring themselves & others. That's way too young! We would have less abortions, sex diseases, promiscuity, etc if the PARENTS would take on the responsibility of teaching THEIR OWN KIDS and establishing guidelines, values and rules.

  18. Dear children:

    Here are the basics of sex. Here are a number of useful answers about emotions, relationships and the kinds of trouble this can get you into.

    Just remember: Sex isn't fun. Ever.

    Yours Truly,
    Macleans.ca

  19. Does this just seem like more marketing to teenagers? A sex shop owner goes around high schools talking about how pleasurable sex is, and before you know it mothers and daughter are going out to buy vibrators.

  20. Teens already know sex is pleasurable. They need to understand the consequences, especially life wrecking consequences. When I was in high school I knew two girls that got pregnant and it ruined their lives. The message to teens has to be, no matter what, don't do it and the primary mission for parents has to be to make sure it does not happen. Parents absolutely have to protect their teen kids from themselves.

    • Sealing children in plastic might be your best bet. Likely more effective than repeating "No" over and over.

      • Sealing them in plastic? Really funny ha, ha. AIDS, syphilis and gonorrhea are no joke. Neither is pregnancy or life as a single teen mom. What I'm saying is that parents have to know where their kids are and what they are doing and they can't be afraid to use words like "no". We've forgotten the meaning of the word. I know the word "no" sounds terribly unhip and retrograde but I think we all need to re-discovery our inner scold. There's hardly a worse mess than a pregnant kid or a kid that's sick or dying from an entirely preventable disease.

        • You can say "no" until you lose your voice. It doesn't mean it works. You can scold the kids all day, but it doesn't stop them from having sex.

          So, if, despite all your attempts to prevent it, they do have sex, would you pfrefer they use a condom or take a chance? Like you said, AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhea and pregnancy are no joke.

          Believing your kids won't have sex because you said "no", is.

          • But if you don't say "no" the implication is a green light to go ahead and do it. The societal message is "it's ok, everybody's doing it". But parents have a responsibility to protect their kid. You know in your gut it's not ok. You can't always control everything a kid does but you can control what you do. One of those things has to be to use the word that sounds absolutely alien in our culture. "NO". There also has to be limits on what a teen kid is allowed to do and where they are allowed to go with consequences for transgression. "Scold" was the wrong term. We have to re-discover our inner disciplinarian. Kids cannot be allowed to bloody do whatever they feel like. Plus condoms are one really leaky boat to risk your life on. They are better than nothing but I would not bet a kid's life on them. If your kid is having sex with another kid that has Hepatitis C would it make you feel secure if they use condoms? You'd have to be severely deluded.

          • Balance. Cash is right that parents in general are too permissive overall in their responsible duties with their kids. Yes to more candy, games, toys, etc.. leads to difficulty saying no later on to going to an unsuupervised party, "staying over" at a "friends'" house. Governing your children in the 12-17 yrs old stage is the toughest thing you will do as a parent and the most importnat.

            But M_A_N is right that all the 'messaging' in the world is not going to overcome hormones if the circumstances are right. Just ask Gramma Palin. Finding an effective communications strategy that leaves our children with a healthy self-regard, healthy sexual life and healthy life period is the most importnat combination. It isn't one thing, it's all things.

          • Balance. Cash is right that parents in general are too permissive overall in their responsible duties with their kids. Yes to more candy, games, toys, etc.. leads to difficulty saying no later on to going to an unsuupervised party, "staying over" at a "friends'" house, and so on. Governing your children in the 12-17 yrs old stage is the toughest thing you will do as a parent and the most important.

            But M_A_N is right that all the 'messaging' in the world is not going to overcome hormones if the circumstances are right. Just ask Gramma Palin. Finding an effective communications strategy that leaves our children with a healthy self-regard, healthy sexual life and healthy life period is the most important combination. It isn't one thing, it's all things.

          • condoms, when used correctly (and fancy that, it takes education to learn how to use them correctly) are 98% effective. And kids will have sex one way or another, no matter how intimidating your "no" sounds, or how much you ground them. So 0% safe versus 98% safe? Hell yes I would feel secure with my teenager (if I had one) using a condom.

            Because I know they'd have sex anyway; or at least I know, from experience and the results of many, many studies, that they're a hell of a lot more likely to have sex than to listen to a "no". So weighing giving them safe sex education against hoping they'll listen to "no, don't do it ever", I would go for safe sex education 100% of the time. And 98% effective is a HELL of a lot better than 0%, as everybody knows. So no, you wouldn't have to be deluded to trust a condom.

            And by the by, it's not exactly risking the kid's LIFE. They're not going to drop down dead, are they? Yes, some STDs can be deadly, but definitely not all of them are. Not even the majority of them. Yes, they can make lives a lot more complicated and horrible (especially in our society where people with STDs are so stigmatized), and may cause permanent damage or put them through some not-fun medical treatments, but their LIFE is not necessarily at risk. Their health, for sure, is. Just mentioning, because I don't like that "if you get an STD you will DIE/your life will be OVER" attitude; yes it's a big deal, but no, your life is not necessarily over. I find that unfair to the people who DO have STDs and are still living happy, fulfilled lives.

    • So if you deny the "pleasure" truth about sex, guess how much credibility you have with your audience. Better yet, guess how much credibility you have earned…

    • That's funny, I could have sworn that's been the practice for ages now. And how effective is it? We all KNOW the consequences. You've bashed that into our heads enough already. Herpes, Syphilis, Gonorrhea, HPV, Chlamydia, we KNOW. And the "don't do it, no matter what" has been repeated again and again. Why do you think the girls still did it? Because teenagers will have sex NO MATTER WHAT. Even if you tell them not to, no matter what. It is what happens.

      Instead of plugging your ears and going "lalala, no, don't, you'll get sick and die", accept that teenage sexuality exists, and tell them everything they could possibly want to know about sex, sexuality, etc… and at the very least, they'll go about it more safely; and you might just find that they're not as interested in doing it right away. If you KNOW about it, and on top of that know how to get those feelings for yourself (masturbation ftw), you're less likely to want to try it just to see what it feels like. Because you KNOW what it feels like!

      • Thou shalt not commit adultery. All those Christians that teach there kids the ten commandments, God's Law, have their kids going off to school and then the teachers teaching that adultery is okay. These teachings are deliberately against God. Satan does this work. Fornication is a sin against God. Adultery is a form of fornication. Thou shalt not commit adultery is one of God's laws. Breaking God's Law's may land you in an eternal life way worse than herpes, syphilis, AIDS, or any other disease. Diseases don't even come close to even be mentioned as a comparison to what happens as a real consequence of breaking God's Law's. Those teachings go against biblical teaching and should be banned from the American classrooms because we have a freedom of religion and if we can't teach the ten commandments in schools then we shouldn't be able to teach the kids to break those commandments. The people teaching this crap in schools are the ones that are really going to pay for all those sins that they taught the kids is okay and everyone does it and they believed it and went out and sinned, right along with their own sins. It's a double whammy for them. I pray for those who believe it's good to teach our youth to betray God. It's a sad story.

  21. As a sexual health educator, curriculum specialist and trainer (http://www.sexloveintelligence.com) I can tell you for sure that this article is a exaggeration of what is currently being taught in schools across Canada. I am also concerned about Dr. Miriam Grossman's new book as it is full of misinformation and is off-base on several points. She, unfortunately, has a M.D. (and so has clout) and may be effective in swinging parents and school decision makers over to a more abstinence-and-fear-based Sex Ed – which doesn't work and actually makes matters worse.

    This article also makes no mention of what is happening in BC, Alberta and the Yukon. If you do just a little research in these provinces you will quickly see the effective, comprehensive and well balanced Sex Ed that is available and happening in many schools, as well as the training available for educators who are slotted to cover Sex Ed in their classrooms.

    Be in touch if you want to know more.

    • I think I love you :'D

  22. Finally someone is helping to dispel the teenage myth that sex is no fun

  23. Wow this is really different. And of course I would freak out if my kids came home from school telling me there was a women from the sex shop teaching them about sex and pleasure and stuff. But when you start thinking about it, kids do grow up being told by adults that sex is bad and they can get STD's and get pregnant and stuff. Thats all they hear so when they get in their teenage years where they just almost do everything they can't or whatever adults told them was wrong, they'l try sex! And then they realize it's not what we told them…AT ALL. Because they expect something so bad. Whats so bad about sex. Its bad when you have it with different people every weekend or whatever but we do put it up as if it's the worst thing in the world. Maybe if we teach them the other side they wont be so hurried to try it cause it wont be such a mystery…. Maybe its just another way to put it… But it is kind of disturbing though….

  24. As for point 2, armchair logic? Seriously? It's not logic it's a fact. Skin that gets thicker also become less sensible (it's really biologie 101 here). I wouldn't walk around all day with my foreskin retracted, yet you do. So at some point you will have to realize that you feeling less at that level than I do.

    Quote:"2002 review by Boyle et al. stated that "the genitally intact male has thousands of fine touch receptors and other highly erogenous nerve endings—many of which are lost to circumcision, with an inevitable reduction in sexual sensation experienced by circumcised males." They concluded, "Evidence has also started to accumulate that male circumcision may result in lifelong physical, sexual, and sometimes psychological harm as well."

    Also, the fact that you "experience tremendous pleasure from my sex life" is irrelevant, in the same way that an old person can really enjoy music even if his hearing is no longer as good as when he was 10. In your case, you simply can't tell the difference.
    1- You are like my friend who play guitars and has a missing finger, you have adapted to your situation but that doesn't make your situation "desirable". 2- Not being able to tell the difference is perhaps the most important point of my post (which you conveniently ignored). The fact that you can't tell how much pleasure you could get in your sex life if you had an intact foreskin is the sole reason that circumcision is done (mostly) on babies and not later on at the age of 10 (for example).

    BTW: Cut the crap about "you are exposing your son to unnecessary risk". If you have no logical argument to support your point, just say it, but don't resort to emotional BS about my non-existent son (emphasis added on the non existent). Beside, there is no risk with a intact foreskin if you use your head because if you seriously think that a slight reduction in some STD transmission is equivalent to a condom, then you are perhaps pushing an agenda so hard that you are willing to disregard reason.

    • First, I'd like to know how an unregistered poster gets acres of reply space while I find 3 short paragraphs usually put me over. But that's a beef with Intensedebate, not you.

      I did not ignore your point in /1, I addressed it head on – no pun intended. You and I simply disagree on fundamental interpretation of the medical factors and you throw in a few aesthetic subjective assertions to boot.

      On point # 2, I will simply repeat: fabulous sex life, no hangups, love the look of my penis, works great, no smegma.

      On my crap, sorry you don't have a son to make decisions about: I have no doubt you would do your best to make an informed decision as I did. No doubt you would resent evangelical enthusiasts implying you took an uninformed, barbaric decision, as your response to my opinion would suggest. I granted you your right to make that decision – apparently sometime in the future?- and was not the first to come on the post casting stones about those decsisions – that belongs to JL and, to a degree, you.

  25. Parents should teach their children about respecting themselves, their hearts, their minds and their bodies as well as respecting others. Schools should teach their students the facts about STDs, fetal development and the pros & cons of "birth control"… or they should teach the parents how to talk to their children about these issues. School is a place to learn material that will help you become successful in life and earn a living. It disturbs me to think that a sex shop owner (who is profiting financially from this) is teaching children about things that are beyond their level of understanding, their brains aren't developed enough to fully understand the consequences of sex. Adults with her mindset are going to create a sex obssessed society.

  26. Sex becomes pleasurable when you are in a mature and loving relationship because that's when you are comfortable with yourself, your partner and your sexuality. You are able to discuss your likes and dislikes and are having sex for the right reasons… not because of peer pressure or are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

  27. Umm, how about teaching children not to engage in sex until they are married? There's a novel idea!

    • Because even the kids who do buy that idea are likely to have sex before marriage anyway, especially with the average age of marriage rising quite steadily? Abstinence is like communism – great on paper, terrible in practice.

  28. Hedonism period. We live in a sex saturated society. Since the inception of sex education in schools, the STI rate amoung teens and young adults has risen 500% and teen pregnancy and abortion, depending on what report you get your statistics from has more than tripled. The proof is in the pudding. Has sex ed worked? Absolutely not.

    • this is a completely ridiculous and very inaccurate statement. Check your stats "common sense" and have a bigger look around at what is working and not working regarding the connections between sex ed and teens STI rates and pregnancy.

      Bear in mind, readers, that statistics are skewed but more importantly, evidence is being gathered more and more so there is more information about more people.

      Sex Ed is very helpful, if done comprehensively and in line with recommended guidelines such as what is provided for by the Federal Government of Canada. If Sex Ed is done well, it works. http://www.sexloveintelligence.com

  29. Sex Ed is very helpful, if done comprehensively and in line with recommended guidelines such as what is provided for by the Federal Government of Canada. If Sex Ed is done well, it works. http://www.sexloveintelligence.com

  30. How is emphasizing the pleasures of sex going to make teens not want to have sex? Their hormones are already fired up at the thought of it; showing them erotica can only add fuel to the fire. I am scratching my head at this one. Every teen knows that sex feels good; that is why it is so hard NOT to engage in it. And why stop at one partner when having multiples can only be so much more pleasurable?

    This kind of sex education is a sure-fire method of spreading HIV into the general population to the point where it will be hard to control, just as in Africa. Then what fun and pleasure we'll have then, trying to contain the damage.

    • Here's the thing: as other commenters have pointed out, teens are GOING to have sex, no matter how much adults scream and cry and bitch and threaten to ground them. Period. Paragraph.

      Then, without any source for reliable information, what kind of scenarios are teens going to get into? Girls–whose pleasure is NOT widely covered except as a sort of thumbs-up to virulent male watchers–will not know themselves, what makes them feel good, and will not understand when they are being taken advantage of. Meanwhile, boys, who are told that there is a certain picture of masculinity that they must fulfill to be a real man will imitate what they've seen in pornography, in the media, and what they've been told by equally uninformed peers.

      Kids won't know what to say when a partner refuses to use a condom, or get an HIV test. They won't understand when they're in an abusive relationship. And they sure as hell won't understand when their sex life is completely abysmal, and misinformed teens will go on to become utterly miserable adults. The lesser of two evils, by far, is the pleasure option.

  31. Reading some of your responses, I realized just how little adults know about us. OMFG! Why not ask a teenagers opinion? God forbid! I know in my class one girl has admitted, no, bragged about having sex. Now your probably thinking that its not as bad as you thought, well I am in grade 8. 13 years old people. We're all going to hear about the pleasures of sex anyways so why not having parents know just how much kids know? In my class some kids are embarrassed to be virgins. That's right some 13 year old's are embarrassed to be virgins. So why not have someone teach us how to roll on a condom? It would be safer. If your thinking that your kid has never considered having sex, than your an idiot. Every kid has thought about it and considered sex. So why not have someone teach the pleasures of sex? We're going to find out anyways.

  32. I think this article is just being realistic; its trying to keep up with the fact that kids and teens are already very sexualized. the importance being stressed is safety, responsibility and that the experience should be pleasurable and not demeaning. Its unrealistic to tell people not to do something they're gonna do anyway we might as well give them the tools and information to use rather than scrutiny.

  33. As a teenager in high school myself, i do indeed believe that sexual education should be a mandatory course in health or physical education classes. As someone who does not believe in sex before marriage, i know that others do, and many of my friends are not virgins, and i know some girls in my school are either pregnant, or have had an abortion. If they knew better and were educated more clearly, it could help prevent this. We were not offered sex-ed up until this year and I do know some girls who have stopped being sexual active with their boyfriends because now they know the cold hard facts. So all in all, i do think that sexual education should be in all school across america.

    • Thanks Christa. You are right. Nevertheless, this article is not about the present sex ed program, or wether or not it should be in schools at all. It is about taking it to the next level: that is, teaching what some might consider the art of perversion – and it being mandatory.

  34. I thought this was a great article, and really touched on a lot of good points. Giving teenagers all of the information would allow them to make informed and educated decisions. Sex is a serious matter, and complicates life whether it is being had or not. There are consequences to both the action, and abstaining from sex on a relationship. Whether being sexually active is appropriate for a teenager or not should be treated as a case by case scenario. Not everyone is the same, and it is impossible to generalize everybody into the same category. What works for one person does not always go for another. Regardless, teenagers are entitled and have the write to ALL of the information. It is a serious subject affecting them and their bodies. It is irresponsible of adults to keep them from becoming sexually aware, how else are they suppose to become mature and responsibl adults?

  35. So, just so we have things right, we are not allowed to sing "Silent Night" in our schools but we can teach kids "why people like oral sex, and why that particular act should go both ways."

    Hmmmmmm…… no one finds this……..wrong?

    • Not a bit. Your religion is yours. Sex is a culture-wide phenomenon.

      • Not a bit. Sex as taught in schools counters many family's cultures.

  36. i applaud this article. i'm a nursing student and am using this article for one of my assignments. i too believe a change needs to be made, because I don't remember learning anything about the female orgasm in my highschool or public school sex ed classes. lets not forget that no one is abolishing the idea of teaching about STDs or about unplanned pregnancies, they are simply updating the old material, and showing the whole picture. Knowlege is power, and the more kids know, the better they can protect themselves, not just from STDs and unwanted pregnancies, but from abusive relationships and dangerous situations as well.

    • Well, I managed to protect my daughter from STDs as well as abusive relationships by explaining the whole picture too, just in the context of maturity, waiting, and moderation – That's right, moderation. Not a bad thing to teach kids. Better yet, why not teach teen girls, in particular, to just say NO to everyone so that they can avoid becoming victims of peer pressure and exploitation throughout their teen years. Then maybe they can just have fun being young, and not having to worry about all the expectations and responsibilities that come with having sex (ya, expectations, as in "you did it once, so why not again/with me/all the time/…) Poor kids, can't just learn what needs to be learned and avoid all the other (uh, more private and adult, they'll learn it later anyway) stuff that goes with it now even if they wanted to.

  37. "Grossman believes sex education in North America has become so “steeped in liberal ideology” that it has created a reckless atmosphere of sexual permissiveness among youth"

    Because we all know liberal ideology is really just porn.

  38. Well, in my country, Russia banned promote perverts! And if someone tries to do it, then his people lynched on the spot, regardless of nationality, religion, age and sexual orientatsii.Rossiyskie gays opposed to a Russian bear “geyropeskie” tsennosti.Geyropa not need Rossii.My Russian, and hence win!