Sunday, July 10, 2011

S-E-X: A Working Title

The first time I read about sex I couldn't have been more than 12.  As part of a program my school had with the Detroit Public Library, the librarians (or a representative) showed up every two weeks with a set of pre-selected books until everyone in the class had theoretically read them all (barring lost/misplaced books and lazy readers)*.  I can't be sure what the criteria was in the selection process, but it seems likely that they were on the bestseller list.  The book that ironically I enjoyed the most was Rats Saw God written by Rob Thomas**.

At 12, I won't speculate as to what my classmates were thinking about, but sex was definitely on the list of "things that had not yet entered my subconscious."  Although the characters are adamant about procuring condoms, the content seems a bit above what we were covering in health class where I think we were still watching videos on "why not to kiss boys" (which by the way I wasn't).

PhotobucketFlash forward to today, parents are up-in-arms about series like Gossip Girl and Twilight (both of which I've read in their completeness) permeating the shelves of elementary school libraries and exposing their children to the raw truth of adolescents.  But the truth is, kids today are much more likely to be effected by this kind of information than they were when I was in middle school over a decade ago.  Statistically, teens are engaging in sex, and sexually-related activities, at alarmingly early ages; "Spin-the-Bottle" is no longer a parent's worse nightmare and "7-Minutes in Heaven" has taken on a whole new meaning.  Realistically, even if you take away books that contain sexual content, sex is still all around us: advertisements, clothing, television shows.  "Sex sells" is a reality that we as a society created and it doesn't look like its going anywhere, anytime soon.

This being said, I avidly support parents that take an active role in monitoring the materials that their children consume.  I saw a group of teenagers out the other day wearing shorts that practically showed off their goodies (more disturbing was that I'm pretty sure they were to young to know the reference "goodies").  I'm a firm believer that if we start treating children like children instead of burgeoning adults, that they may start thinking that are actually children instead of at 12 being convinced they are adults and deserve the same respect.

Sex is great, but not when your still young enough that someone has to explain to you why.    

*I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize for never returning this book to DPL, I am still in possession of it (located securely in a box somewhere in my basement) if you'd like it back.  Feel free to contact me via Twitter

**This is the same Rob Thomas who later became the creative genius behind one of my favorite television series of all time, Veronica Mars