Sex ed in schools is a big topic here right now. The government has introduced a new curriculum, one that is way overdue given current events…Kaitlin Jenner’s transgender status, teens engaging in risky sexual activities at a younger age than ever (oral sex under the bleachers?!!) and the fact that parents are, in many instances still shy and embarrassed about having The Talk with their kids.
I remember, when I was a teen, my parents handing me a book (in a plain brown wrapper), and saying, without making eye contact, “Read this!” They added, as an afterthought when they left my room, “If you have any questions, ask us.” Right…this from the people who were filled with platitudes such as: “If you give away the milk free, nobody will buy the cow.” It took me a while to figure THAT one out!
Why, even after my divorce, when I was in my fifties, my mom gave me the stink eye when I was going to visit the Man in My Life for an evening. “Will you be staying overnight?” she asked, scorn and disapproval oozing from every pore. To yank her chain, I flippantly replied, “Not tonight….” She knew damned well it was only because she was at my house and I didn’t have the strength to deal with her in the wee small hours when I was doing ‘The Walk of Shame’, sneaking into the house.
So I’m all for the new sex ed curriculum. I just know that, while sex talks have improved between kids and parents and are better now than they were fifty years ago, we still have a long way to go. Each generation improves a bit but it takes time. I think I did a better job than my parents and Gill, Crazy D and L’il Sis and I have very open conversations on the topic. But I concede I could have done better.
Gill was recently having terrible period cramps and abnormal bleeding. I commiserated with her and told her that I had gone through the same thing (back when I still had periods.) “Nobody ever said having periods was easy or fun,” I commented innocently. “It’s part of the burden of being a woman.”
“Au contraire,” Gill said snarkily. “I recall, when you explained the facts of life to me, you couched my period in terms of ‘how wonderful, you’re a woman now’. It was a crock then and it’s still a crock now.”
“I didn’t!…Did I really say that? OMG, I swore I’d never say that to my daughters. I apologize profusely! While we’re on the subject, childbirth is horrible and so is menopause. You’ll want to go directly, run, do not pass go, to your doc for hormone replacement therapy. Words of wisdom. Trust me.”
“You couldn’t have told me sooner? Not that I plan on giving birth, but a little transparency would have been nice.”
Sex really is the Third Rail of life. In North America, we get upset when films and television shows are too explicit (we still watch) but we have no problem with violence and gore. We find the topic shameful, we profess to be good, upstanding people valuing the marriage vows …and then Ashley Madison rears its ugly head.
Even seniors can’t escape the issue. In retirement homes, dishes of, not candies or nuts, but condoms are in plain sight on the coffee tables. It seems STDs are on the rise in these homes and management feels it must do something. I never thought I’d see the day when retirement homes are a hotbed of sexuality!
I guess it was the next logical step, however. With all the ads for Viagra and Cialis on television, something was bound to happen. Perhaps life made more sense when kids made a bad face and went ‘Eeew…” when confronted with the fact that older folks (particularly their parents) still ‘do the nasty’.
Maybe we could solve the whole sex ed problem by holding sex ed classes for kids in the old folks’ homes. I’m sure the old folks could use a few pointers as well and we’d kill two birds with one stone. And it’s also possible that the old folks have some experience and wisdom to pass on to the kids.