The Lady is a Tramp: My Adventures Defending Sex Education on Far Right Radio


The other day, I was called a tramp on a national radio show
with 3.5 million listeners.  Contrary to what you might expect, I was not the least bit
offended and only a little outraged. 
In truth, it was the first moment in the hour long live broadcast in
which I relaxed.

I was a guest on the Michael Medved show.  In case you’re not familiar with him,
he guest hosts for Rush Limbaugh on occasion, and the pre-recorded introduction
to his show calls it another afternoon “in this greatest country on God’s green
earth.” I was on to provide a counterpoint to Dr. Miriam Grossman, a
psychiatrist who has written a book called You’re
Teaching My Child What?:  A
Physician Exposes the Lies of Sex Education and How They Harm Your Child
.

We were there to talk about sex education. Ostensibly.  In truth, she was there to promote her
book, in which she mentions SIECUS on just about every other page, and I was
there to give her someone to yell at. 
At the beginning of the interview, our host mentioned that he and his
wife had written a book in the nineties on the loss of innocence of youth and
that in it they discussed the problems with sex ed. So much for any hope of
impartial mediation on this particular subject.

SIECUS has been attacked by the far right for 45 years now.
We’re used it.  Most of the time,
we don’t bother responding to attacks. 
Okay, when Robert Rector wrote a piece in the National Review which claimed SIECUS promoted incest, we responded.  But when the twelfth book this year
comes out claiming we have a radical leftist agenda and want to hand out
condoms to five year olds on the playground, we pass it around the office and
chuckle.  You see, that book was
written for a certain audience—an audience that already believes that sex
educators are liberal intellectuals out to undermine parents and corrupt
children.  An audience of people
whose minds I will not change no matter how charming, smart, or interesting I
am in writing or on the radio.  Moreover,
that book will likely only get noticed by its intended audience; calling it out
risks bringing more attention to it, buying it free media, and ultimately
selling more copies.

This is why we were prepared to let Dr. Grossman’s book slide
by the wayside.  But, because we’re
human, we could not resist the offer of 3.5 million listeners.  She would have the audience with or
without us, and, with numbers like that, the odds were in our favor that one or
two of them would be part of the infamous moveable middle.  So we agreed to debate.

In preparation for the debate, one of my coworkers, a brand
new intern, and I sat down to read the book.  I don’t know where to begin except to say this, like so many
attacks on sexuality and sex education, it has very little to do with sex.  As far as I can tell, Dr. Grossman is
not a big fan of 2009.  She does
not like today’s reality in which sex is part of the popular culture, women
pursue education before families, and premarital sex is no longer verboten.  (This sentence from her website summed
it up best for me: “Women complete their PhDs at 35, and realize the hardest
challenge lies ahead: getting their Mrs., and becoming an Mo.M.”)  In the book, she goes into great detail
about the dangers that lurk around every sexual corner for young women and her
desire to protect them from STDs, infertility, and heartbreak.  And she throws around a lot of blame –
liberal organizations like SIECUS with our post- 1970s feminist agendas are apparently
the cause of the downfall of society. 
(There are so many inaccuracies, misstatements, and downright lies in
her book that it would be difficult, and seems almost pointless, to go through
and try to correct each one.)

What she doesn’t do is offer any solutions. She’s not a
proponent of abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. She claims to want to
provide young people with accurate information, but the only examples of such
information are the scary ones (on the show she chastised SIECUS for not saying
HPV leads to throat cancer in all of our literature), and she doesn’t explain a
forum or format she would use that would be preferable to sex education
classes.  She also says she
realizes young people will have sex regardless of what we tell them.  It is truly hard to know what she
wants.

It gets even harder to figure it out because some of the
exchanges she recommends having with young people sound very much like those we
(the liberal sex educators she’s bashing) would have.  After saying we’re wrong for suggesting kids should use
proper body part names like vulva and penis, she describes a model conversation
with a five year old about where babies come from.  Her suggestions: 
don’t give too much information, ask what he/she thinks, don’t have one
“talk,” provide one new item at a time, and make it a dialogue, not a
lecture.  Gee, where have I heard
this before?  Wait, I think I’ve
written it.   Similarly she
suggests that we tell teens that they alone are responsible for their sexual
health.  I’m all for that—as long
as they’ve been given the tools and information to take on that responsibility,
of course. 

I actually started our hour together saying that I thought
she made a number of good points about young people and that some of her
suggestions sounded just like what I would suggest.  She called me a liar. 
Okay, she didn’t use that word. 
She said I was duplicitous. 
That SIECUS would represent itself as “rational, down-to-earth, and
common sense” in public forums like the radio show but that really we have a
liberal agenda.  She accused us of
this at least four times during the show, including once when she said we would
be common-sense in our publications as well.  (I wanted to ask her, “If we’re rational in the media and in
everything we produce, where is it that we carry out this liberal agenda?”  I didn’t.)

So begun the first segment; she made some points and I
countered them, apparently in a rational way, because that’s when she called me
duplicitous the first time. In the second segment, the two of them ganged up on
me in a discussion on anal sex that I tried (but failed) to talk my way out
of.  Then came the callers, who
all, for some reason, insisted on shouting into their phones as if they were
tin cans on a string.  One
discussed how happy he was to have his daughters in private school if I was in
control of the public school curriculum (if only, I thought).  The second called me a tramp—I believe
the exact words were an “intellectual fool” who “must have been a tramp back in
her day.”

And, as I said, that’s when I calmed down.  Because that’s when I realized who was
listening to me.  Sure, maybe a few
people in the moveable middle were listening and maybe one of my rational
points made it through to them. 
But the people who were glued to their radios and moved to call in were
individuals who were willing—in the same breath in which they accused me of
corrupting their daughters—to call a perfect stranger a slut.  And to do so without realizing how
ironic, hypocritical, and downright uncivilized it was. 

Dr. Grossman’s book didn’t provide any answers because her
audience doesn’t want any.  They
want to be mad.  The world is a daunting
place.  The rules have
changed.  And they are scared and
angry.

I get it.  I
worry about it for my daughter growing up in this world.  That’s why, I, like the rest of the
liberal sex educators I work with, are trying to fix those things that are
clearly problems (like the STD epidemic), and help young people navigate the
rest of today’s reality—without turning back the clock or relying on fear.  The truth is, we really are common
sense and down-to-earth, and we have no hidden agenda. We just want to make
sure that young people will have the information and critical thinking skills
they need to make good decisions throughout their lives.

But if Dr. Grossman and her followers seem content to just
yell about it, so be it, and, if, for one hour, they want to yell at me; I’ll
take it.     

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  • ahunt

    Brave woman. Speaking truth to dogma is invariably a dicey call. That the focus was  on "you" and not about "solutions" is telling. Hat tip for your grace under fire. I could not claim such restraint.

  • anonymous99

    “They want to be mad. The world is a daunting place. The rules have changed. And they are scared and angry.” Yes. Really though I’m not sure why or how everyone got SO scared. Sometimes I just think people feel it’s the right and safe thing to be. My 6th grade daughter went to a high school football game with a neighbor’s family a couple weeks ago. The Dad (a good friend of mine) told me the girls would not be able to walk around the stadium complex on their own because the “6th grade boys’ hormones are raging”. I said “OK” and then my wife and I had a pretty good chuckle after I hung up. What the hell he thought was going to happen in a stadium full of thousands of people is beyond me. Anyway, if you don’t buy into this type of hysteria you have to wonder what the other parents will think of you.

  • heather-corinna

    Martha, I so appreciate your willingness to have done this. 

     

    Dr. Grossman has targeted my work as well, and I’m so glad you were able to both call her out (even if the folks listening were not going to hear it or think critucally) and advocate for sound, comprehensive sex education, the kind young people — especially those whose communities or parents object to factually and compassionately informing them — continue to ask for.

  • anonymous99

    "even if the folks listening were not going to hear it…"  I know it might seem like noone was going to hear it, but don’t believe that.  You’ll never know what the audience was thinking during this type of show.  Note that Martha is a professional and well equipped to handle attacks.  The average listener who was sympathetic to Martha’s message would certainly think twice before calling in for fear they might get ganged-up on too.  No doubt the callers were screened as well and only those siding with the host may be put through to the air.  Regardless, this is important work so just keep talking even when you think noone may be listening.

  • cmarie

    Funny that you admit the show has 3.5 million listeners then convince yourself they’re all far right radicals. My guess is that the vast majority of these parents couldn’t care less what your own personal value system is (certainly I don’t) But presenting it as factual and teaching YOUR beliefs to MY children? This is why 3.5 million people have a problem with you. Here’s a quote from a pamphlet (ALL ABOOUT SEX) on SIECUS’s website. It’s the first resource kids are directed to when they log on and was co-authored by Ms. Kempler. It’s also distributed to kids in schools in grade nine and up. “At every point in your life, you can choose if and how to express your sexuality.” Later: “It is up to you to determine how much risk you are willing to take.” And: “Many teens choose to be sexually active and many choose not to. You have the right to decide exactly what behaviors, if any you are comfortable participating in” wtf! This is her advice to MY fourteen year old? Martha, you might be comfortable with your fourteen year old deciding how much risk she wants to take with her life, health and future but I believe my children need my guidence at that age. That doesn’t make me a far right radical. It makes me a responsible parent.

  • frolicnaked

    Definitely, most 14-year-olds can benefit from advice and guidance (parental and otherwise) in determining when and how to become sexually active. However, offering up guidance isn’t the same as negating somene’s right to choose particular sexual activities or to choose to abstain from them.

     

    There’s a difference between saying, "Here are some things to consider when making your choice" and saying, "You do not have a choice." 

  • cmarie

    Sorry, nobody has the right to “offer up guidence” to my fourteen year old that its fine to play Russian Roulette with her life and health. And as I said, that is EXACTLY what SIECUS is telling these kids. You might be fine with your kids being taught that taking these risks is a valid decision they are equipted to make alone, but don’t assume its a message I (or most parents) want their kids to be given. To most of us, their lives, health and futures are too important.

  • frolicnaked

    To most of us, their lives, health and futures are too important.

    And don’t assume that because some people want to offer young people comprehensive information about their sexual choices — which is different from suggesting they’re equipped to make the choice alone — that we don’t care about their lives, their health, or their futures. In fact, it is because we care so much that we believe they have the right to access all the information and guidance they need in order to make informed choices about their own lives.

     

    • cmarie

      I don’t "assume" she doesn’t care about their futures.  I know she doesn’t because she said so.  Again I refer you to the phamplet co authored by the author of this essay "All About Sex"    "It is up to you to determine how much risk you are willing to take".   And what if I decide because I care so much, that your kids need my comprehensive information and guidence to make informed decisions about sex, values, religion or anything else.  I’m going to go way out on a limb and guess you’d want me and my advice away from your kids, especially if it involves advice like that quoted above. 

  • anonymous99

    cmarie, unless you’re jailing your 14-year-old in your home it is, in fact, her choice to be or not to be sexually active.  It’s her choice to decide how much risk she will take (not just with sex BTW).  Or will you be out with her at all times and make decisions for her?  Noone is suggesting you can’t talk to your daughter, give her your guidance, and teach her your values. Please do that.  But if your discussion leaves her with the impression that sex is a game of Russian Roulette (you have a very good chance of dieing) then that’s unfortunate.  Comparing sex to Russian Roulette does sound radical to me.

    • cmarie

      As you know I never compared having sex to Russian Roulette.  I compared taking any risks you want to Russian Roulette and again according to the author, kids have every right to decide for themselves if they want to take reckless risks with their lives, safty and health. You are pretending that there are two choices in parenting: "jail" your kids or allow Martha to tell them they and only they are absolutely qualified to decide if they want to risk their lives.  Just imagine me telling your kids they are qualified to decide for themselves how much risk they are willing to take when it comes to combining alcohol and driving.  Perhaps you may protest?  Does that make you a jailer too?  After all you can’t follow them around every second.

  • katwa

    Wow what kind of sex are you having?? Sounds to me like your daughter isn’t the only one in need of sexual education.

    • cmarie

      Again, I never compared sex to Russian Roulette.  You are pretending to be confused about my comment so you can make fun of me.   When a young person is told "you can decide how much risk you are willing to take" he or she is being told to take as much or as little risk as he or she wants.  And if, guided by this steller logic he/she decides to take a lot of risk they are playing Russian Roulette.

  • eyesopen

    As parents, we have become so overwhelmed with our day to day existance that we lose sight of who is responsible for teaching our kids. The SCHOOL SYSTEM is NO place for the kind of sex education that I’ve been seeing more and more of. If you want to teach them about sex organs and how the body works, fine. If you want to teach about pregnancy and childbirth, fine. But keep your opinions about having sex out of the classroom!! Those are other people’s opinions. If “educating” our kids to these things earlier is supposed to be a prevantive measure, you’re failing miserably. The only thing it does is open their eyes to the subject earlier than is necessary. Has anyone of you ever been raped/molested? Psychologists will tell you that the experience exposed you to sex far sooner than a child should have been. Teaching a 5 year old ANYTHING about sex is not age appropriate…nor is it the school’s responsibility. It’s a slap in the face to all parents. I’m quite capable of teaching my child….or does the school system think otherwise? Sending the message that they’re going to have sex pretty much gives them the “green light.” I find it interesting that the Government feels they have the right to teach things that many parents don’t agree with and yet there’s still no room for teaching about our Creator. Interesting and quite frankly, I’ve just about had it with the “Seperation of Church & State” excuse. I know, I know…teaching our kids about something as positive as a Creator who loves us is a terrible thing.

  • heather-corinna

    Has anyone of you ever been raped/molested? Psychologists will tell you
    that the experience exposed you to sex far sooner than a child should
    have been. Teaching a 5 year old ANYTHING about sex is not age
    appropriate…nor is it the school’s responsibility. It’s a slap in the
    face to all parents.

     

    1. Rape and sexual abuse isn’t sex.  Calling either sex shows a very critical misunderstanding of the difference between sex and abuse on your part.

     

    2. You are aware that in public schools when 5-year-olds receive sex education it’s not about SEX, right?  Rather, the current educational standards for those who do are to be informed about their body parts (as you say you feel is fine), their right to personal boundaries and what kind of touch is and is not okay to help PREVENT sexual abuse… something you seem to care about.  And as someone who was victimized in that way, I very much wish I had had that education as ayoung child, because I would have known far sooner that what hapened to me was not okay. I think you’ll find most survivors agree.

     

    3. Separation of church and state isn’t an excuse: it’s the foundation of this nation, and in public schools it needs to be upheld.  Parents here who want their children to get a specific religious education, rather than an education which can serve all children, not just those of certain religions (we don’t all share the same belief system, after all), may either provide that on their own as an addition to secular education, or send them to private religious schools.

  • eyesopen

    to keep God out of things such as schools. The founding fathers meant separation of Church & State for religious FREEDOM, not against it. Thomas Jefferson attended church INSIDE Congress.

    While I do not know this day & age of curriculum being taught, I am trying to educate myself and I am not liking what I see. I want to know exactly what is being taught my child and I want to have a SAY in weather I feel it is appropriate or not.

    You are correct in saying that Rape/Molestation is not about sex, but rather control. I know this and did not state it in my post. But, as someone who was also molested at age 8 (and later), my eyes were open to sexuality much sooner than it should have been. Therefore, it is my belief that speaking on the subject past educating for anatomy purporses as well as good touch/bad touch is not the school’s responsibility. Don’t teach my pre-teen or teen for that matter about different type’s of sex. Don’t provide my child with condoms and don’t tell my child that if she gets pregnant, that she can get an abortion without my knowledge. It’s something that the family should be involved in. The family unit is what our kids need for the largest part of their support system. Too many people are running around bringing their kids to one sporting event to the other…working full-time trying to make enough money just to hand it over to the Government and then, they’re so physically wiped out…they sit in front of the tv. That’s not quality time and that’s not what our kids need….they need us….our time, even if it’s a small amount. If they feel loved at home, they won’t go searching elsewhere to fill that void. And yes, God fills that void unlike anything else this world has to offer. I disagree 100% that it’s ok to teach on Darwin’s THEORY of how this world came into existance and yet the one thing that makes perfect sense (for those with open minds/hearts) is brushed aside. It’s so simple and yet we make it so complicated.

  • jayn

    “The founding fathers meant separation of Church & State for religious FREEDOM, not against it.”

    How does this work if religion is taught in secular schools, though? School is a place that children rely on for accurate information, but no religious teachings are objectively accurate. How do you think the Muslim kids would feel, or the Jewish ones, being taught about the Christian version of God? Or for that matter, being encouraged to say a Christian prayer before lunch, as I was? What about atheists or Hindus, to be told that they’re heathens for not worshiping the ‘one true God’, from people they trust to tell them the objective truth?

    You complain about schools teaching sex values, but how is your idea of religion in school any different? How can there be true religious freedom if children are taught not only in Church, but in school, that there is only one correct religion? That’s not freedom, that’s indoctrination.

  • eyesopen

    to teach our kids about sex values or the parents?  Has society become so busy or lazy that we hand over our jobs to strangers?  I’m truly curious.

    With regards to teaching religion in school….I understand the matter is complicated….my point is don’t teach a "theory" if you are not going to teach the other belief that God created this world.  No, I’m not saying to teach kids (in school) additional religious-based beliefs that they learn in church…simply the alternative to Darwin’s theory. 

    Congress is attempting to reinstate the "Fairness Doctrine."  How is it that the government can regulate/force Broadcasters to afford "reasonable" opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views of public importance, by reinstating this Doctrine and yet we can’t teach our kids that there’s a different/conflicting point of view regarding creation?  I consider it a matter of public importance…we are, after all, talking about the creation of the world.  Yes, they could (and do) get taught the matter in the home or church, but I believe, like the "Fairness Doctrine" that it should be taught/discussed simultaneously in school if they are going to take the time to speak of Darwin. 

    I can’t speak for anyone else….but I do not believe that just because a person does not think like me, that they are a "heathen."  Everyone is entitled to their beliefs.  I believe there is one God…period.  I believe He created the Earth and man.  There are too many things that simply do not add up when you really look into Darwin’s theory.   

     

  • jayn

    To your first point–while I don’t disagree with parents being the ones to teach values, the complication comes in figuring out where fact ends and values begin.  Many people would have critical information withheld from students on the basis of ‘values’.  You yourself said ‘don’t hand my kid condoms and tell them they can get an abortion without my permission’.  The line between facts and values gets rather blurry in there–plus of course there’s the issue of the kids making their own choices.  Saying ‘here’s where you can get free condoms’ isn’t going to make students more eager to have sex, but it does allow them more oportunity to make their own, informed choices.

     

    On evolution….okay, what’s the alternate theory?  That doesn’t devolve into religious dogma, that is.  From a scientific standpoint, I’m not aware of any.  Darwin’s theory is the best there is–it may have holes, but it has a lot more evidence supporting it than intelligent design does.

  • eyesopen

    that this is just the way kids are today (sexually active earlier). Kids are this way today because we, the parents, allow them to be. We give up our rights to the government who thinks they know how to raise our individual kids better than we do. They didn’t teach all this extra “crap” in school when I was growing up. Now that they teach it, our kids tend to be sexually active earlier. I sense a link there.

    Darwin’s theory is FULL of holes and yet you would rather believe that rather than God creating the planet and man?
    Why? Can’t you simply look around you at the order of things and see that it makes sense; how the plants provide the seeds to replenish the plants that provide our food? How DNA works and the miracle of a baby growing inside it’s mother….I mean come on….if man started from a blob of mud, how is it that that blob just so happened to form a man and a woman who can pro-create as well as every other life form on the planet? Until you open your heart to God, your mind will be clouded. You cannot know what I’m speaking of until you do so. It all begins to make sense and you see things you never saw before.

  • jayn

    Prove it.  Prove that kids are more sexually active today than in the past.  Prove that God created the world.  Until you have objective proof, you might as well be reading fairy tales–your ‘truth’ has no rational basis.

  • heather-corinna

    Besides the fact that many, many parents (more than not) have stated in several broad studies that they DO want comprehansive sex education tought in schools; besides the fact that that in no way keeps parents from ALSO providing information for their children and teens, which they can make anything they want, I want to remind you of something important.

     

    It’s particularly pertinent to me today: on Mondays, I head over to do sex education for our secure shelter for teens here in Seattle.  For teens who parents have literally thrown away, who are homeless, who are without homes or in the foster care system.  They do not have parents who will give them ANY information, of any kind, and many of their foster guardians will not either.  Suffice it to say, this population is particularly endangered when it comes to STIs and unwanted pregnancy.

     

    These kids?  They’re in the schools sometimes, as are many other kids whose situation is not as dire, but whose parents will not give them ANY information.  Some are in abusive homes where what’s being taught not only isn’t helpful, but overtly or covertly includes object lessons like that they have no right to their own bodies if someone else wants to use and abuse it.

     

    So, is it just too-bad/so-sad for these kids?  Should they, in your book, just get nothing at all so that your kids don’t get information you don’t want them to have, information you always have the chance and the right to discuss with them at home?  If so, how exactly do you justify that?  The point is, while I’m entirely supportive of — and encourage –  family sexuality education, you a) always have the right as a parent to opt your child out or choose a different school and b) can still do that while accurate, basic se education is provided for all the kids and teens who DO need it and who do not have other adults to provide it for them.

     

    P.S. We don’t talk about darwin in sex ed, so I have no idea why you’ve brought that up here.  In fact, we probably don’t talk about most of the things in sex ed you think we do.  Additionally, it’s not an educators job, nor is it in our control, to manage parents and how well or poorly parents parent.  That’s out of our hands.  It’s simply our job to educate the kids and teens put in our charge BY those parents, who, if they don’t want their children to get a secular, public school education, have other options they can choose.

     

    Lastly?  I’m not going to try and sell you on my spiritual belief system.  Please don’t try and sell me on yours.  Neither is relevant here.

  • eyesopen

    First off, if kids are no more sexually active than they were 20, 30, 40 years ago, why do we need to hand out condoms? All you have to do is listen to kids and they will tell you themselves.

    Also, with regards to “Creation” – I have 2 words for you;
    The Bible. Think it’s just a compilation of individual books written by man? Yes, written by men through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It was written over a period of 2000 years by Kings, Physicians, Shepherds, Fishermen, etc. There are no contradictions in the Bible. Everything about our past, present and future is in there. If you understand what it says, then you will see that everything going on now is in the Bible. I realize that it’s difficult for those people who need to “See” something before they believe it….but some things are true weather you believe it or not. Try asking God to open your heart and give you discernment/understanding. Until you do…you remain blind. It’s called Faith.

  • heather-corinna

    First off, if kids are no more sexually active than they were 20, 30,
    40 years ago, why do we need to hand out condoms? All you have to do is
    listen to kids and they will tell you themselves.

     

    Does the baby boom sound familiar?  Guess what?  Many of the parents of ALL those kids were teens or in their very early twenties.

     

    Youth today can’t tell you much about the youth of yesteryear: that’d be a very silly thing to ask them.  They weren’t alive, and they also don’t tend to study that data.  As well, adults who do tel them about their own teenage sex lives are often dishonest.  But we, looking at the sound data we have and also being of an older generation can better address this and we know that overall teen sexual activity/pregnancy has NOT increased: it had been on a downturn since the apex of comprehensive sex ed in the states in the 70′s, and was on a downturn even from the 50′s. During the years of the first Bush we saw another spike up, but it has never been at the level it was 50 years ago since.

     

    As someone who likely both talks to far more youth than you do about their sexual lives, and also has worked in the field for long enough to have looked over all this data more than once, I can assure you the rates are not higher (and if you go WAY back in history, past the last century, you’ll notice that ages of marriage were far younger than they have been in this one worldwide, and thus, ages of sex).  Rather, teens are simply keeping it in less secrecy than in some previous generations, and we have a greater cultural awareness (or panic, depending on one’s view) around it.

     

    So, why hand out condoms to teens who want them now when we didn’t before?  Lessons learned: when we didn’t, we wound up with high YA birth rates and with major STI epidemics, and I’m not just talking about the last few decades, but about both World Wars as well.  Since we started these kinds of focused outreach over 30 years ago, this is one of the reasons why — sparing some recent sparks back upward which have been tracked to the lock of funding for many such efforts during the Bush admin: take a look at Texas’ birth/STI rates for instance, where abstinence-only efforts have been greatest, resulting in increases  — we have seen teen birth rates decrease, decreasing rates of rape, been able to do a better job at managing and decreasing STI rates including HIV, etc.  When we have had contraception and safer sex tools available, and education around those things and sex in general, we have netted better results.  When we haven’t, we have not.

  • cmarie

    "Parents here who want their children to get a specific religious education… may either provide that on their own as an addition to secular education or send them to private religious schools."

    First, the parents in question are not asking for any kind of religious training.  They are asking that the public schools stop forcing their fourteen year olds to listen to people like Ms. Kempler who tell them to "take as much risk as they want". 

    This is really an unrelated topic but its probably worth pointing out that not everyone has an extra $4 k per year per kid to educate privately. 

    As for parents who do want their children to be instructed by the author, they can direct their children to the website and any included materials.  Its a lot less to ask than having everyone else cough up thousands each year to avoid her and her advice.

  • cmarie

    Regarding the young people who are homeless and have no responsible adults to advise them; the last thing they need to be told is that engaging in high risk behavior is just another way to demonstrate their independence.  Again, obviously I refer to the same quote, same phamplet, co written by the author.  If I were advising those young people I would tell them never to take risks with their health or lives at all.  Always use a condom.  Always use a back up method of birth control as well, just in case.  Never make any exceptions because it could kill you.  Maybe (I hope) this is exactly what you tell them Heather, but unfortunately it is not what the author tells the students.  That’s the reason for all the controversy.

  • ahunt

    One more time…sex education participation in our public schools is entirely voluntary. Parents who do not want their children exposed to the the local sex ed curriculum are absolutely free to exempt their kids.

  • heather-corinna

    I absolutely understand that not everyone has that kind of money, but I also hold everyone responsible for thinking about their own resources when making reproductive choices when it comes to the way they feel they want and need to parent.  I don’t have enough money to have kids, period, which is one of the primary reasons I did not choose to reproduce.

     

    I also don’t believe anyone is being forced to take part in sex education in public schools: I don’t know of a public school where it is not optional.  And I do feel the poster I was talking to here expressed pretty clearly she WAS asking for religion to be taught.  You may not be, but she seemed to be stating that she was.

     

    We’re obviously going to disagree that sex education has a place in public schooling, so I don’t see any need to start in a circle on that.  I do feel young people benefit from sex education in a classroom, with sexuality educators to interact directly with and ask questions of, and again, I think we need to bear in mind that this simply is not an arena all parents will engage in at all with their teens: leaving teens without important information on sexuality because parents or guardians blow it off, don’t think about it, are nervous about it, or feel their teens don’t need that information just doesn’t seem like a sound solution to me, not for the teens (most of whom express they DO want and need this information), not for the public health.

  • heather-corinna

    Hopefully I don’t need to say that when I do presentations, they are not pat, and include very in-depth information on consent, on methods of contraception and how to use them, on STIs, on safer sex, the works.  What I say is probably a lot like what you say you would say, cmarie.  Save that while I mention that yes, one specific STI can cause death and several others can cause serious health problems if untreated, I don’t talk about sex killing young people a lot because a) it doesn’t and b) particularly for young people who are homeless, the fact of the matter is that the way many of their lives are, full-stop, could kill them, and that’s got little to do with sex.

     

    I don’t know what Martha does in any teen presentations she does, but I’d be willing to bet it’s a lot like what I do.  Pamphlets are often pat: they shouldn’t be confused with presentations where all the information doesn’t have to fit on a tri-fold page.  But I’d also disagree with your perception of some of the statements you’re talking about as well as the way you think teens perceive them, especially assuming that it’s the "Talk About Sex" pamphlet you’re discussing (which is actually quite extensive and has a lot of context that seems to be being left out). 

     

    If that’s not the pamphlet you’re discussing, I’d be glad to talk about this more (if you want) if you’d toss me a link to the one you are talking about? I don’t think there is actually a pamphlet with the title you’re using published by SIECUS. (I know Mona Charen says there is, but she often makes very silly mistakes — if they are mistakes, since she often doesn’t tend to outlink to what she’s going on about so readers can’t look for themselves — like this in the midst of her hysteria.)

  • frolicnaked

    I know she doesn’t because she said so.

    Can you back this up with a quote or proof of any kind? 

     

    Saying that people have the right to weigh risks and benefits and make decisions for themselves does not equal a lack of caring. 

  • paul-bradford

    Dr. Grossman’s book didn’t provide any answers because her audience doesn’t want any. They want to be mad. The world is a daunting place. The rules have changed. And they are scared and angry.

     

    Martha,

     

    Grossman’s audience wants answers, and they’d be interested in having you help them get those answers — but you have to be patient with them.  You can’t move people along faster than they’re ready to go.

     

    The fact that you and she had some common ground around the issue of how to talk to young children about ‘where babies come from’ is encouraging.  Even scared and angry people want what’s best for their children.  Even through their shouts they were sharing some information about the way they want their children to be protected.

     

    You can’t win people’s trust if you give up on them, or if you decide that they’re not worth saving.  Everyone deserves accurate information about the way her/his body functions.  The fact that some people put up resistance shouldn’t disqualify them from learning. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • grayduck

    "why hand out condoms to teens who want them now when we didn’t before? … Since we started these kinds of focused outreach over 30 years ago, this is one of the reasons why…we have seen…decreasing rates of rape…"

     

    How did you arrive at the conclusion that rates of rape have decreased in the past thirty years? How did you link such a decrease to handing out condoms to teens?

     

    "The most recent and methodologically rigorous studies show that sexual assault still occurs at rates that approximate those first identified more than 20 years ago…"

     

    http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/topics/crime/rape-sexual-violence/welcome.htm

     

    "A 2007 Department of Justice-funded trend analysis of rape studies over time revealed that rates of rape haven’t declined in the past 15 years — in fact, they may be increasing."

     

    http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=combating_the_campus_rape_crisis

     

    Here is another germane quote from that article.

     

    "…in his 2002 landmark study of 1,882 male college students in the Boston area, Dr. David Lisak demonstrated that most campus rapes are perpetrated not by well-meaning boys confused about consent but by repeat-offender sociopaths who know exactly what they’re doing. Treating rape like an unfortunate but understandable miscommunication doesn’t just deny victims justice and downplay the traumatic nature of the experience — it allows rapists to remain free to rape again and again."

     

    http://www.abortiondiscussion.com

  • heather-corinna

    Here’s a good piece that talks about decreasing rape rates in the U.S. over the last 30+ years. RAINN has also reported decreases in several areas of their site/organizational information.  You may also want to look at this from the DOJ.

     

    FYI, I certainly would agree that rape isn’t about anyone just misunderstanding consent. I personally would never — especially as a survivor, but also as an advocate and educator — present rape as "an unfortunate but understandable miscommunication."  That’s an abhorrent notion to me.

     

    When I talked about "these kinds of outreach" I was not simply talking about the distribution of condoms, but about comprehensive sex education efforts as a whole.  In those efforts, talking about the right to bodily autonomy, what consent is and is not, and explaining what rape and sexual abuse is are core.

  • emma

    EyesOpen, the word ‘theory’ is not used the same way in science as it is in the vernacular. In science, a theory is used to explained existing facts and data obtained through experimentation and observation, and to make predictions. Most importantly, scientific theories must be empirically testable/verifiable. There is a great deal of data available to support evolution, which you’d find if you read books by evolutionary theorists rather than by creationists attempting to refute it. That’s why evolution is taught in science classes.

     

    Creationism is not a scientific theory, mainly because it can’t be tested, replicated or empirically observed. It’s fine to teach creationism in church or in literature or comparative religion classes, but not in science, because it isn’t science. And I know creationists like to say that evolution is a religion, but it isn’t – it’s based on data obtained through observation and experimentation; it isn’t based on ‘faith’. If evidence that refuted evolution became available through scientific enquiry, scientists would be all over it, since it would make history. The Bible is not a scientific enquiry; it’s a religious document.

     

    As for teaching religion in schools – well, you’re proposing that your religion, specifically, should be taught, right? I’m guessing you don’t want your kids to be taught Islamic or Buddhist teachings, correct? Teaching Christianity in schools imposes one particular religion on all students, regardless of whether they or their families subscribe to that particular religion. In that respect, it restricts the religious freedom of non-Christians. What you’re actually wanting is to have *more* rights than everyone else – i.e. you want the right to impose your religion on everyone else’s kids.

     

    Most of the founders were Deists, btw, not Christians. Historical revisionism is a dangerous thing.

     

    This is really off topic; apologies to the OP.

  • cmarie

    Here it is again:

    "It is up to you to determine how much risk you are willing to take."

    from: All About Sex

    coauthored by the author

    She’s not telling them to "weigh risks and benefits".  She’s telling them IF they are prepared to take tremendous risks with their health and lives they are simply excercising one option and no one (certainly not their parents) should interfere.  Anyone who gave a shit would be saying "Just as you are NEVER to drink and drive and NEVER to hichhike, NEVER engage in high risk sexual activity.

  • cmarie

    It is true that parents can opt out of sex ed.  Mine didn’t and most don’t because they think its a review of human reproduction and in the older grades information on safe sex.  Unfortunately, once the author becomes involved the message is not "how to practice safe sex" but "take whatever risks you decide to"

  • frolicnaked

    You’re drawing conclusions from a statement that doesn’t support them. If you’d like to continue projecting your own biases and issues onto someone else’s words, I certainly can’t stop you. However, I’m going to continue to trust my own sound reading comprehension and reasoning regarding this.

  • heather-corinna

    Again, where are you getting that title?  You say this is the first thing SIECUS links to, so can we all have a link to what you’re looking at so we can look at the whole context of that statement?  Because in my book, context matters quite a bit, especially in this case when and if it includes talking about what those risks and benefits are, and what those choices can result in.

    I agree, anyone realy invested in youth would not just say that one statement and jet or infer what you are inferring.  

    The thing is, I don’t think anyone, including Martha, actually did.

     

    I also think perhaps you need to recognize — the context of that stement set aside for now — that teens hear a lot of adults making very black and white statements to them, saying a lot of "NEVERS."  And what it tends to do is shut their minds off completely, especially when they know that a) adults have made their own choices and b) teens make them, too. Making clear that you are giving them the information you are so that they can make their own choices, and that you want the choices they make to be those most in alignment with their happiness and health is the kind of statement that tends to make them much more receptive to information, and which tends to make them feel more empowered to make sound choices, than barking big no’s in their face or telling them they are constantly standing at death’s door.

  • eyesopen

    I am FOR sex education….to a certain extent. There are some areas that should be left up to the parents as far as when and how much information should be given to their kids. As far as those unfortunate children who do not have parents in their lives or parents who are absent in one form or another (mentally, emotionally)….yes, Heather Corinna, they do not caring adults to teach them. I understand what you are saying with regards to teaching about it being their body and no one has the right to touch them….that’s different. I’m speaking of demonstrating how to use a condom…passing condoms out…teaching the different types of sex and sexual orientation. Those things can be taught at home. I believe the schools can use their time focusing/improving on things like improving reading, writing and math skills. To address another statement of yours, Heather, the topic of Darwin’s theory came up because it seems like the schools are delving more and more into just about everything else….I simply stated that there appeared to be no place for the teaching of “Creationism” as people are now calling it. That’s the point I was making on that subject. With regard to Paul Bradford’s comments about “Angry” people….I’m sorry but do you know the people personally that you speak of? I’m not an angry person….just concerned and trying to be involved in my child’s life in ALL areas. If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t be subjecting myself to the opposing views on the posting sight. I appreciate any insight. As I said previously, my child is not in school yet. There’s alot of conflicting information out there. I simply want the truth…..and a say in what my child is taught.

  • eyesopen

    You sound like a very caring person who took something negative/invasive that happened to you and turned it into something positive. I am of the mindset that when something like abuse (all kinds) happens to you…you can either lay down in defeat and feel sorry for yourself….or you can pick yourself up, deal with it and take the experience and hopefully/perhaps help others in dealing with similar situations they went through. It helps tremendously to know that we’re not alone in our situations. I do not know the exact age of when children are taught what in school. I am in the process of trying to obtain the curriculum that my child would be exposed to in the future. I believe, as a parent, I need to KNOW what my child will be taught. We all have different views on what we feel is moral/immoral. That doesn’t mean that when we disagree that it is based on a racist attitude. By the way, since when did disagreeing with someone = racism? It simply means we disagree….period. My brother is gay….I love him VERY much….despite my belief that you are not born that way….it’s a choice. Do I feel that I’m better than him? Absolutly not. It means we have different beliefs. That’s human nature. I mean after all, we’re not clones. It also doesn’t mean that there is a disregard for people as human beings…we all matter. We have become the people we are today based on our past experiences as well as what we are exposed to. However, we ALL have the ability to change ourselves despite those things. I see how the breakdown in the family unit (mostly inner city) affects the children and how, many times, they continue the cycle of what their parents exposed them to. They need to understand that they have the POWER to break that cycle.

  • frolicnaked

    Where are you drawing the logical conclusion that this is what the author is advocating? She specifically says that teaching about agency also necessarily includes giving young people "the tools and information to take on that responsibility,
    of course."  

     

    That is, flat-out, not at all comparable to "take whatever risks you decide to."

  • heather-corinna

    I said bigotry, not racism.  By all means, racism is one kind of bigotry.  So is homophobia.  Bigotry is not only racism, it is also homophobia, sexism, xenophobia, classism, the works.

     

    I don’t personally engage in conversations about how some people — more specifically, some heterosexual people — feel sexual orientation is 100% optional, for a whole handful of reasons, the least of which is knowing very personally as well as professionally, that it is not.  So, I’m not going to go there with you.  It’s just not something I want to invest any of my time or energy in: I have better, more positive places to put both.  I’m also not going to engage in conversations about how those of us who grew up inner-city or  raise families in urban areas had/have "breakdowns" in our family units because we were/are urban or that "family breakdown" has anything to do with GLBT families, particularly since there’s no sound data to support those beliefs.

     

    By all means, I encourage all parents to inform themselves on their choldren’s curricula in school on al subjects.  You’ll never hear me objecting to that.  And you can find out what curricula, in sex ed or any other subject, you child will receive when they are school-aged simply by asking the school to give you that information.

     

    And at this point, it sounds like that’s the best place for you and I to end our conversation.

  • frolicnaked

    We just want to make
    sure that young people will have the information and critical thinking skills
    they need to make good decisions throughout their lives.

    Giving young people information and teaching them how to think critically about that information is a far cry from advocating sexual risk taking. 

  • eyesopen

    It’s very difficult to have a “conversation” via e-mail with someone with whom you’ve never met. It appears that what I have said at times is not worded accurately….Yes, bigotry is the correct word. However, the word can often be misused or applied, much like racism. The term bigot is often misused to pejoratively label those who MERELY oppose or disagree with the devotion/beliefs of another. The correct use of the term, however, requires the elements of obstinacy, irrationality, and animosity toward those of differing devotion/beliefs. Yes, there are those whom the word applies, but I believe many people are unfairly labeled both…much like what we see today with the President. Broken families come in all backgrounds and geographic locals. Not just inner-city and I was not implying that. However, common sense dictates that due to the larger population, there is bound to be more instances of it. Good luck to you.

  • katwa

    Teaching a 5 year old ANYTHING about sex is not age
    appropriate…

    This is just not true. Kids can learn things about sex that are age appropiate. When I was 5 I asked my mom where babies came from and she gave me an honest answer. I don’t think I was traumatized by it. No need to lie to kids and pretend babies come from storks. And comparing learning about how our bodies naturally work to being raped is compeletely absurd. I know people who were raped at that age and it affects them for life, whereas I knew about sex since 5 and I have no effects from that at all. In fact, I’m thankful for my mother for giving me the truth, and I feel it’s one of the reasons I have a healthy sex life.

     

    Sending the message that they’re going to have sex

     Are you under the impression that humans DON’T have sex? Maybe you still believe the stork myth? I’m pretty sure most people actually DO have sex at some point.

     

    And frankly i’m offended by all your "creator" talk. Not everyone shares your beliefs. Keep it in your own home.

  • katwa

    How about this?

    Sorry, nobody has the right to "offer up guidence" to my fourteen year
    old that its fine to play Russian Roulette with her life and health.

    Since the "risks" being referred to are the risks of sex… how are you not comparing sex with Russian Roulette?

     

    I’m pretty sure the statement that the risks you take are up to you is to let young people know it is THEIR responsibility to request a condom, or say no, etc. If they don’t KNOW about the risks then it really isn’t up to them, is it? Education is always better than lying in my opinion, and even if you wait til marraige you still should know how to have safe sex!

  • crowepps

    There are no contradictions in the Bible. Everything about our past, present and future is in there.

    I must have missed the parts where it explains electricity, germ theory and plate tectonics. And been confused by the obvious contradictions between the Gospel stories. THey couldn’t even agree on Jesus’ last words.

    Faith – “Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.”

    So there’s no evidence and it doesn’t make sense but people are sure it’s true anyway – that actually sounds pretty blind to me.

     

    This really isn’t a great place to push your religious beliefs, but if you’re going to try, you need to do a much, MUCH better job of it than this.

  • crowepps

    The term bigot is often misused to pejoratively label those who MERELY oppose or disagree with the devotion/beliefs of another.

    Do you mean ‘oppose’ or ‘disagree’? There’s nothing bigoted about disagreeing with someone else. It is pretty irrational to ‘oppose’ either the religion or beliefs of other people, however, and that does sound pretty bigoted to me. On what grounds could one ‘oppose’ someone else having an equal right to freedom of religion or freedom of thought as oneself besides bigotry?

  • crowepps

    Anyone who gave a shit would be saying “Just as you are NEVER to drink and drive and NEVER to hichhike, NEVER engage in high risk sexual activity.

    Oh, sure, because that works SO WELL with drinking and driving, and smoking, and taking drugs, and hitchhiking. Your assumption that people who are dealing with reality ‘don’t care’ is pretty funny considering that you seem to wish to hide from teenagers the accurate information which just might keep them from doing those things that you think are so terrible.

  • heather-corinna

    Yes, Heather Corinna, they do not caring adults to teach them. I
    understand what you are saying with regards to teaching about it being
    their body and no one has the right to touch them….that’s different.
    I’m speaking of demonstrating how to use a condom…passing condoms
    out…teaching the different types of sex and sexual orientation. Those
    things can be taught at home. I believe the schools can use their time
    focusing/improving on things like improving reading, writing and math
    skills.

     

    I believe you were talking about early childhood sexuality education. 

    If so, I know of NO program, anywhere, which hands out condoms to five year-olds, or talks to them about types of sexual activities.  None.  Some programs do include simple statements relating to sexual orientation for young children that families can look any number of ways: in other words, that they aren’t all male/female, but I’m not going to get into any discussion about how that is somehow sexual or that that is inapprorpiate, unless you can show me how children aren’t given SCADS of messages in many areas of their education at school that male/female families is what a family looks like.  Without being inclusive there, not only are you making children with other kinds of families feel like outcasts — as well as giving some children who may, as heterosexual children sometimes do, have some sense that their orientation is something other than heterosexual, the message they aren’t okay — you’re missing a really valuable window to help children keep from developing bigoted attitudes.These kids of bias, like most, are understood to often be learned in early childhood.

     

    Please understand that these kinds of standards are generally created by a large pool of educators, not just sexuality educators.  Before I was a sexuality educator, I was an ECE Montessori educator, and from that standpoint alone, I absolutely would have supported my young students being told about personal boundaries and having ALL of their family models represented, especially since you often wind up having to give that education anyway, just after the fact of something happening, like a group of children ostracizing a child with gay or lesbian parents, or a child inappropriately touching another.

     

    As well, sexuality education for any age is not a barrier to every other aspect of education.  Not only are these programs often short in terms of the amount of time they take, just like any other area of education, they don’t somehow avoid drawing upon other areas of learning, like science, and social studies (both of which have great interconnectivity with sexuality education), reading and writing.

     

    Lastly, as has been said here plenty, in schools ALL of these programs are opt-in or opt-out for parents.  If you don’t want your child to attend, you have the right as a parent to choose for them not to.  That set-up both respects your wishes and rights as a parent AND still allows other parents and children/teens who want and need this education to have it.

  • sexstudent

    "Religions are all alike-founded upon fables and mythologies." Thomas Jefferson

    I am terrified these parents who refuse to believe that their children are thinking beings capable of making their own decisions. Sex education is for the greater good of education the young about what is in store for the rest of their lives. Should we leave them in the dark like we have for centuries and centuries and okay married teen parents again? Because that has been the way up until now. How long do you you expect your “children” to remain children? Till their 16, 19, 22? The average age of first intercourse is 16 and 17 respectively. Would you prefer your “children” to have no idea about contraception when they become sexually active and get pregnant like the majority of teens that received Abstinence-Only education? Look at the facts…teens that receive comp. sex education have much lower rates of pregnancy and STI’s than religious/Abstinence only educated teens? What do you prefer for your “child” if you truly are a caring and loving parent?

  • eyesopen

    You can either “disagree” with someone, meaning you simply have a differing opinion or “oppose” them which means be resistant to…have contrasting or opposite beliefs. For example; The United Nations is recommending a universal lesson plan be put into place that requires children as young as five receive mandatory sexual education that would teach even pre-kindergarteners about masturbation. I’m sorry, but I STRONGLY Oppose that…not just disagree, but oppose. Is it really necessary to teach kids that young about masturbation? Seriously, does it have to be included in their studies at all and if so, why? And no, “sex student” I do not want Teens and young adults in the dark…my point has been that I feel there are some topics that the schools do not need to touch on….that can be left up to the parents.

  • frolicnaked

    Is it really necessary to teach kids that young about masturbation?

    Given that it’s not at all abnormal or even usual for five-year-olds (or even younger children) to masturbate, students this young may *need* to know age-appropriate information about masturbation. Things like, "Touching yourself there is something that’s done in private; it’s not polite to touch yourself there in the classroom."

  • crowepps

    Certainly you have a right to keep your own children ignorant about anything whatsoever you find offensive, but I certainly don’t see where you have any right to ‘oppose’ other parents agreeing to have their own children taught what those parents feel is appropriate. Every baby I’ve ever been around discovered ‘masturbation’ as soon as they were coordinated enough to get their hand near their genitals. If you personally have a problem with the idea that teaching the correct vocabulary — ‘masturbation is touching your genitals because it feels good’ — that’s your personal hangup that shouldn’t be inflicted on the children of others.
    Just as an aside, if parents are to have an absolute power to decide what topics their children are exposed to, I have a real problem with the idea of Vacation Bible Schools that use candy, fun and treats to entice children in to hear about a religion that their parents have not chosen to expose them to. That sort of thing should be restricted to those parents who belong to the church and everyone else’s children should be left alone.

  • eyesopen

    if they haven’t been taught about masturbation (or other sexual-related topics) by a certain age? 

    I NEVER said one word about trying to keep kids "ignorant" about things that are human nature or about teaching them the correct vocabulary.   But there’s a time and a place.  If my child asks me what a body part is….I tell him.  I have repeatedly stated in this post that there are some things that can be taught in the home.  If the parents are embarrassed, ignorant themselves or simply not involved…then by all means, sign your child up to have someone else do it.  The parents should be the primary authority figure in their childs’ life and therefore, their job to raise their kids up in the way they should go…to prepare them for adulthood. Studies have shown that kids today are sexually active at a younger age.  I wonder why that could be….hmmmmm?  Could it have anything to do with the worthless crap bombarding them on the tv or the video games?   You do your kids NO favors by allowing them to sit in front of the tv or computer absorbing stuff that has no value.  So, because our kids learn this earlier based on what they are exposed to…do we have to further expose them at the schools?  It’s one thing to educate them on anatomy as well as teaching them that NO ONE has the right to touch them sexually. 

    Childhood is a most precious time. To introduce five and six year olds into a world of adult emotions and relationships takes some of the magic away.  Some times it’s ok for our kids to be kids and remain innocent and for that I’m considered someone with a "hangup?"  Please.  I will be the judge of when my child is ready to deal with age appropriate and/or adult issues. Not some stranger. 

     

    With regards to the Vacation Bible School and how children are allegedly "enticed/lured" in with treats, fun and then are taught a religion their parents didn’t choose to expose them to….I guess I would ask the question….where are the parents?  Are their kids kidnapped…are they taken right out from under their parents’ noses?   I would hope that the parents have done their homework BEFORE allowing their kids to attend a Bible School.  I would also hope they would attend the 1st couple sessions to get an up close and personal exposure to what is being taught their kids. 

     

    I also do agree with the other poster that if a child has been "exposed" to masturbation already and, for whatever reason, decides to do it in the classroom, of course it’s the teacher/authority figure’s job to pull them aside and explain that it’s not appropriate to do in public.

  • crowepps

    So you choose to label someone as “ignorant” …. if they haven’t been taught about masturbation (or other sexual-related topics) by a certain age?

    Did I misunderstand you? I certainly thought you were saying that the parents could chose to NOT supply that information. To not have information is to be ignorant of that information. That is the definition of ‘ignorant’.

    I NEVER said one word about trying to keep kids “ignorant” about things that are human nature or about teaching them the correct vocabulary. But there’s a time and a place. If my child asks me what a body part is….I tell him. I have repeatedly stated in this post that there are some things that can be taught in the home. If the parents are embarrassed, ignorant themselves or simply not involved…then by all means, sign your child up to have someone else do it. The parents should be the primary authority figure in their childs’ life and therefore, their job to raise their kids up in the way they should go…to prepare them for adulthood.

    I’m not aware that there is mandatory sex education over the objections of the parents. If there isn’t, if parents can choose to keep their children out of the classes, then what is your gripe?

    Studies have shown that kids today are sexually active at a younger age. I wonder why that could be….hmmmmm? Could it have anything to do with the worthless crap bombarding them on the tv or the video games? You do your kids NO favors by allowing them to sit in front of the tv or computer absorbing stuff that has no value.

    My kids are all grown up – almost 40 and almost 30.

    So, because our kids learn this earlier based on what they are exposed to…do we have to further expose them at the schools?

    It’s certainly one way to try to get accurate information to them to counteract some of the extremely superficial and inaccurate information that is “bombarding them on the tv or the video games”.

    It’s one thing to educate them on anatomy as well as teaching them that NO ONE has the right to touch them sexually. Childhood is a most precious time. To introduce five and six year olds into a world of adult emotions and relationships takes some of the magic away.

    Why in the world would anybody introduce five and six years old into a world of ADULT emotions and relationships? As I understand it, the idea is to expose them to information that they at five and six years old are dealing with, like masturbation.

    Some times it’s ok for our kids to be kids and remain innocent and for that I’m considered someone with a “hangup?” Please. I will be the judge of when my child is ready to deal with age appropriate and/or adult issues. Not some stranger.

    Absolutely. Just as YOU as a stranger don’t get to decide what is age appropriate for anyone else’s children.

    With regards to the Vacation Bible School and how children are allegedly “enticed/lured” in with treats, fun and then are taught a religion their parents didn’t choose to expose them to….I guess I would ask the question….where are the parents?

    My point, which you missed entirely, is that if as you assert it is totally and completely inappropriate for ‘strangers’ to be talking to someone else’s kids about sexual matters because that is entirely the parents’ purview and should be handled ‘in the home’, then it is EQUALLY inappropriate for those strangers to be talking to someone else’s kids about religion which is also entirely within the parents’ purview and should also be handled ‘in the home’.

    And by the way, kids are not ‘exposed to’ masturbation – they reinvent it individually, every single one of them, between 18 months and three years, so long as they have genitals and hands. What sex education ‘exposes’ them to is the fact that this is not abnormal or secret or dirty behavior but instead a common and normal behavior by most humans.

  • william

    Am I the only one who has noticed the hypocrisy of the following statement by Katwa; "frankly i’m offended by all your "creator" talk. Not everyone shares your beliefs. Keep it in your own home.". This was said soon after Katwa was done spouting his/her own opinion wich I am sure not everyone agree’s with.

     

    My point is not that Katwa is wrong in his veiws on sex ed, but rather that I do not apreciate such threats to those with differing opinions. Hopefully such irrational attacks to our freedom of speach do not reoccur on this respected website.

     

    Katwa, please correct me if i misunderstood your statements