Friday, July 30, 2010

Let's talk about sex

A comic strip in a national daily said it all. The first frame mentioned the government’s messed up plan to include sex education at certain grade levels in public schools. The next frame showed the other character saying that when he wanted to know about that double insertion issue involving Manny Villar and searched for those keywords on the internet, he ended up in a porn site.

The Department of Education (DepEd) launched a United Nations-backed sex education program last month that aims to “promote safe sex, limit the spread of HIV-AIDS and prevent unwanted pregnancies,” according to an online new report. Expectedly, the Catholic Church is once again at the forefront of the opposition to the program, their position buoyed by self-righteous conservatives. It is primarily the duty of the parents to educate their children about sex, they say, a prerogative, actually. That’s true, too. And while the program envisions an informed youth educated in responsible sex, the opposition sees it as merely a ploy to promote promiscuity. Now, that’s a lot of bull.

Let’s take the side of the opposition. Let’s agree for a moment that the DepEd’s program is flawed. Let’s keep the status quo – sex won’t be talked about in schools, we’ll leave it to the parents to educate their children about it. And if they don't, that's ok too.

So, let’s leave it to those parents who themselves were not educated about responsible sex. Let’s leave it to 20-something parents who themselves had their children when they were 15 or 16. Let’s leave it to parents whose sex education consisted mainly of their own parents not saying anything about it, or merely saying, “don’t do it.”

Let’s leave it to fathers who believe that getting a vasectomy means castration, or coming out empty at the end of a sexual encounter, or is simply just “un-manly.” Let’s leave it to most Filipino fathers who believe that having several sexual partners means being a real man. Let’s leave it to most pinoys who believe that “coitus interruptus” is an effective way to prevent pregnancy.

Or let’s leave it to mothers who believe those fathers mentioned above. Let’s leave it to the young mother who got pregnant because her boyfriend told her that if she loved him, she’d have sex with him. Let’s leave it to mothers who believe that if they stood up or jumped up and down after sex, or if they only had sex “5-days before or after” having their menstruation, they won’t get pregnant.

How about those youngsters entering puberty with raging hormones whose parents prefer not to talk about it and leave them to discover and learn about sex on their own? With the internet as the most common information tool these days, especially for the young ones who wouldn't be caught dead in a library reading a book, let’s allow them to “Google” the word “sex,” and just hope that the websites that would be listed would be ones where they can get responsible and sensible information about the topic. But no, unfortunately, what Google offers are sites that attract the most traffic, or the ones who pay them good money to be placed at the top of the list. To wit, here are the headlines of the top 5 websites that Google tells your children to visit when they type the word “sex”:

1. Free Sex Videos For Free - Enter Now!
2. Free Porn Videos & P***y Movies- Sex Videos, Porno, Porn Tube, XXX
3. Free Porn, Sex Videos, P***y Movies, Porn Tube, Free XXX Porno
5. Pinoy Scandal And Pinay Scandal - Philippines & Asian Sex Scandals

Times have changed. While in the years B.I. (before the internet), adventurous youngsters who want to be introduced to sex would have to look under their parent's bed for their father’s dirty magazines or Betamax tapes, and if there’s none, ask an older friend who can pass for an 18 year-old to pick up a Playboy or a Tik-tik from the newsstand. Or giggle and blush at the occasional sensual scene in a Saturday blockbuster movie on TV, or if they’re in Baguio, stay up late for the occasional porn shown on that Japanese channel that used to be carried by that now-defunct local cable company.

We need responsible sex education. We need it not because there’s hardly any information out there. On the contrary, we need it because there’s too much information out there – not all of which is the kind that we would like our youth to absorb. During the FIFA World Cup late night marathons last month, there was this one beer commercial that I found rather distasteful. They had a promo wherein with 45 bottle caps, you can win a chance to spend a weekend with a starlet. One of the commercials showed images of young men elbowing each other infront of a starlet's apartment, intercutting with images of the near-naked woman taking a shower, who later walks towards and opens the door wearing very provocative, very revealing lingerie. The other version shows a close-up of a man lustfully massaging the back of the same scantily clad starlet. That version ends with the man lifting up the starlet’s bikini top to his face to wipe his tears of carnal joy. I believe these same commercials were shown on regular TV too. The promo’s tagline? “Real man promo!”

So while you want your sons to be sexually responsible, last month they were told that real men collect 45 beer bottle caps for a chance to be intimate with a woman. And your daughters? Well, the commercial just told them that there's nothing wrong with girls being raffled off in a beer promo.

You’re against the government’s sex education program? Then enroll your child in a Catholic School, or home-school them. As for the rest of the Filipinos who are non-Catholics, or non-practicing ones, or practicing ones who differ with their church’s position on the issue… let’s talk about sex. Responsibly. I believe it’s a way better alternative to a beer commercial or internet porn doing it for us.


Mads C. said...

What I like about this post is that besides discussing the general consequences of becoming sexually active without responsibility is that you take a look at the prevalent attitudes about sex and how it is perpetuated in the media. I think it is

I definitely think that in this day and age, sexual education should address not only the general risks: STDs and teen pregnancy, but also such things as the 'Sexting' phenomena, facing peer pressure when it comes to sex etc...

Sex education should not be also about the mechanics and consequences of engaging in sex, but also about having a healthy attitude about it-- meaning not hiding behind taboo, and dogma, but facing that it is a reality of life, and knowing that one must have respect and dignity for their own bodies and (the other person) before engaging in it.

Mads C. said...

I think this might be an interesting link and video that you might be interested in reposting also, it talks about how the Catholic dogma affects the access of contraceptives in poor areas...

Anonymous said...