Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Shagging Real Early?

No, not that lunch time nookie you had planned with a naughty lover.


This article in the NYTimes paved the way to debunking the myth of teenage shagdom. In Malaysia, the biggest obstacle to a reasonable sex education is the fear that teenagers, upon learning the "right way" to do "it" will be hell bent for leather for the bedroom Olympics.

Never mind that sex education is also about respecting your body and your partner. Never mind that research shows that young individuals who are armed with knowledge are less likely to engage in risky behaviours. Never mind that simply telling teenagers that premarital sex will send them straight to hell has never worked as method of prevention.

The accessibility of pornography (via Internet and pirated media) means that children are exposed to sex at a much younger age. Relentless exposure leads to desensitisation; sex are no longer taboo and may even be a normal recreational activities. The thing is, when adults are reluctant to be honest to children about something so important, it doesn't mean that children are not keen to experiment.

They do not understand that watching pornography can be akin to watching a superhero movie. There are special effects and that the characters are played by actors who are paid to do certain things according to a specific storyline. The activities perpertrated in pornography may be unhealthy and dangerous. Issues of consent is commonly pushed aside in pornography; in fact, some porn cater to non-consensual acts as a draw. This means that children may not understand that full consent is very important when engaging in sexual activity. That when someone screams "NO!" it really means no. Hence, the increasing number of young people being charged with rape; some of them barely in their teens.

Porn is not the way for them to learn that sex is an expression of emotional intimacy and that it is the best thing that two people who love each other can share. Porn does not tell you that sexual activity is something that should only be shared when the body and mind is mature in tandem. Porn does not tell you what to do when you are pregnant and your boyfriend (of the day, week) disappears. Porn does not tell you that you are responsible for your genetic element and fathering a child should be done responsibly.

Anyone who remembers their teenage years with any kind of clarity recalls what a roiling cauldron of hormones you were then. It was the time of exploring curiosity and what is more curious than this body that is changing daily with all this new sensations? How do you deal with these urges? A lot of people have experienced or heard of boarding school shenanigans (or even day school shenanigans, at that); how did that affect their future sexuality or sex life? How did you process all the information? Who told you what? Was the information correct? I had a classmate in secondary school who claimed that babies come out of their mummy's navel. I also had classmates who frenched same-sex classmates and were making plans to go further (in the interest of being better lovers to the opposite sex).

We should, no, we must, teach our children to treat their body with respect and to educate them to make responsible decisions that will affect their future.

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