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Let’s talk about sex
By Nigel Wallace
Now that I have everyone’s attention, let’s talk about sex. I mean, we should... right?
If there is one thing that living in Barbados throughout the years has taught me, is that sex-related things are meant to go right or wrong without much discussion, regardless of how right or wrong they are going. If there is one thing that the Internet has taught me, is that you can find information about anything and with the increase in comment feeds on articles, you can participate in impromptu discussions on a myriad of topics.
As a young adult, now capable of looking at the next generation with the requisite disdain of an “old fart”, I find myself becoming guilty of all the things I abhorred when I was 16. I am generalising, speaking without facts and treating my childhood as though it was some sort of incredible rose garden where my peers and I did no wrong. Why are the young people dancing like that? Why are they dressing like that? Why are they so promiscuous? I should ask those who are 15 years my senior and see if this rings any bells.
Anyway, getting back to the topic of sex, I found myself immersed in content related to this topic last night, in a series of witty articles on a popular online blog devoted to the topic. Now don’t get excited, hoping that this will turn into the next chapter in a Mills and Boon novel. The topics discussed surrounded scientific studies into promiscuity; the misinformation that is endangering the sexual practices of our masses; and what we should be looking to do to combat the situation more effectively than the generation before us, particularly at a point in our history where people seem “all right” with the concept of HIV/AIDS.
While it all sounded logical enough, there was one thing that stuck out more than anything else, and that was the concept that we need to be talking about sex more candidly, more intelligently and with a bigger focus on righting the wrongs created by mass media and disinterest or embarrassment.
The first piece I read dealt with a study which proved there was a higher risk of casual physical relationships between persons drinking alcohol and energy drinks. All I could think was... duh!
Moving past the obvious, here’s another topic under consideration that though obvious, I had never considered as extremely damaging or important, and that is Hollywood’s portrayal of sex and sexuality. In most cases we have great actors, awesome lighting and passionate scenes of carnal pleasures. But what do these scenes do to the minds of young people who have yet to engage in any act of intimacy?
Given the fact that condoms are almost never present in these scenes of passion, which occur with little thought on the part of the characters portrayed, it was shown through research that young people exposed to R-rated films from a young age were more likely to enjoy unprotected sex when they became sexually active. Not really surprising when you consider how powerful film media really is. But what was the solution?
Going back to the earlier point, it’s all about discussion, and I’m starting the discussion right here, right now. This isn’t about bad parenting or teens and young people seeing too much before their time – we have the Internet now, every child is seeing things “before their time”. So let’s stop fooling ourselves and get focused on what power we have left.
Teenage pregnancy is still a real problem, as is the spread of STDs, most notably HIV/AIDS, and we have a generation of young people who are being fed a ton of media that has no regard for safe sex practices. In fact, think about television programming in general and consider how rapidly many characters portrayed, even in sitcoms, find themselves with a new sexual partner, possibly in each episode. In my day it was Beverly Hills 90210 that provided the misinformation, but which programme doing that today is a mystery to me as I find myself hooked on HGTV these days.
Monogamy, chastity, waiting for marriage... these are the golden rules of safe sex that have been most incredibly forgotten. But what are we doing to enforce those principles (besides preaching)? And if we can’t enforce them, why are we so scared to talk about protecting the next generation with the ever improving tools we do possess?