Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Victorian

Something I’ve noticed about myself (despite whatever the content of this blog might suggest) is that I really get embarrassed or shy about talking about matters of sex, the physical body, and/or functions of the body. The way I was brought up, these were just things that were not discussed; and if anything relating to them was brought up, it was always quickly dealt with, hushed up, and/or often neglected altogether.

The furthest my parents ever actually came to talking to me about sex was my mom getting a pamphlet for me to read when I had to go for a physical exam before starting middle school. It did little to inform me about the birds and the bees, but it did actually have a couple of pictures and one or two diagrams in it that I found arousing at the time, which actually confused me even more than I already felt. Outside of that, I really don’t recall my parents ever talking to me about sex.

Actually, that’s not true… they did, but it was in the form of getting after me for things I didn’t know I shouldn’t be doing (at least it was things they didn’t want me doing, but in hindsight I really don’t see what the big deal was on most of it).

Looking back, they made it pretty darn clear that I was never, ever supposed to know anything about sex, or experience anything of a sexual nature. They brought me up in a very Victorian era sort of way. And many of their ideas stuck with me. I haven’t always approved of talk about sex. I haven’t wanted to talk about sex, or the body. It’s often embarrassed the heck out of me to hear others talk about such things, particularly in direct conversation with me. Now, in my late twenties, however, much of that embarrassment has waned. But I know I still get uncomfortable or shy about it at times.

If I’ve learned anything over the course of the last ten years or so, though, it’s that people make better decisions when they are both openly honest and well-educated about things. When people don’t ask questions, don’t talk about issues they’re facing, aren’t educated, that is when they make mistakes. For that reason, I have been so much more vocal about most things sexual in the last few years, beginning really around the time I started this blog. And I’ve tried to be more willing to engage in conversations with others needing to talk or ask questions. It’s the only way people can learn. When we keep quiet, we learn on our own (often wrongly), in hiding, sometimes developing complexes and feelings of shame for things that we shouldn’t, making bad decisions, and none of which is any good. That Victorian era mindset just doesn’t work. It prevents true knowledge. And there should be nothing wrong with knowing about things and experiencing things which are only normal. I mean, God created sex to be a very beautiful, special thing! Why then should we treat it as if it’s some hideous, scandalous, blasphemy?

With that in mind, I try not to be bothered about hearing or talking about sex, or the human body. I try to keep in mind that better decisions can be made with knowledge, than with ignorance. This is why I’ve written about much of the issues I’ve written about on this blog—why I’ve disclosed things about my own life and been willing to discuss these things and those experiences of others with others. It is also why I favor sex education in schools. Too many parents simply won’t teach their children about these things. And too many people learn only from their friends and their own deductions, often, as I’ve already stated, wrongly.

I know a lot of people are strongly opposed to any teachings about gay sex (or any sex for that matter) in schools, but I can sure bet that for the gay youth, knowing what is going on with their bodies and what are and are not safe sex practices are very important, and can even be lifesaving. AIDS is still a very big deal in this country, and it is still young gay men who tend to get AIDS above any other group. Proper sex education in schools could really help curb this (I will not get into a debate with anyone about Christianity being the true answer to this problem—I know Christian values are best, and I would always advocate them, but I say what I have in acknowledgment that not all people are going to be converted, or adhere to traditional Christian teachings, and that for those who won’t, this would be particularly important and useful teachings for them).

Sex education in schools can do far more than teach safe sex practices though. It can teach our young people about their bodies, to learn when something may be wrong, to learn ways of preventing pregnancy, to learn that they aren’t freakish for one thought or another, and so on. It is valuable education.

I honestly see a lot of progress taking place in our country. I see people being much more willing to talk about these sorts of issues than they used to be. It is a good thing, in my mind, and something which I hope will continue. But we can’t be turned off about talking about these things. We have to find our voices and be willing to speak and listen in order to make any real differences. Otherwise, we accept the ignorance and uninformed decisions that have so often plagued us. Having been a victim of that in the past, in many different ways, it is something I would like to prevent for others. I can try harder to get over my shyness to do that.

2 comments:

naturgesetz said...

I think if sex education in schools is to be honest, it needs to make it absolutely clear that abstinence is definitely possible, and it is the only way to be completely safe. It also should not be only about the physical side of sex. It should also speak of the psychology of sexual activity, including the emotional effects, potential long-term emotional damage from casual sex or letting oneself be used.

Brandon said...

I completely agree. If it is going to be taught, it should cover all potential issues involved and from different viewpoints as well. No particular agenda should really be involved through the curriculum other than making our youth better informed. Limiting that in order to achieve a particular political agenda really just defeats the purpose. I feel the same way when it comes to teaching about how the universe came to be. Evolution and creationism should be taught. I actually believe the two go hand in hand, but regardless of one's beliefs, both points of view should be presented, especially since neither can completely be proven definitively. But with sex education, I fully agree that all issues should be covered and from those different viewpoints as well.