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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Making sense of sex

by Maria Eleanor Elape Valeros
June 28, 2004; posted at www.thefreeman.com

MY online buddy iceman_00, who’s into computer studies, dropped a note in my email box days after my first article for this column saw print. His letter went: “…please talk on contraceptives aron makahibalo nang mga youth nato ron unsaon nga mamenosan ang nangabuntis kay kulang man gud sa edukar mao nang daghan ang nangamabdos nga wala sa panahon.”

I would like to thank him for cranking up one of my addies, and I do hope that the rest of you would also be flooding my wild_pechay@yahoo.com e-box. I would be very glad to hear from you.

Certainly iceman_00 raised one of general concerns of the youth not only of this age but way, way before this generation had come to experience sexual awakening. But to talk about contraceptives is not my forté because the idea of contraceptives in itself has failed to impress me.

Unwanted pregnancies and teen motherhood are not direct results of the failure to digest sex education. These circumstances occur because the topic of human sexuality has always suffered from incredible ignorance, confusion and misinformation; the youth become products of and prey to the social forces that have attached an irrational stigma of guilt and fear to sex.

Sex is a subject we rarely find treated directly, openly and honestly. We don’t often get the opportunity to watch normal sexual behavior. And most parents may never talk about it, ever. Of course, we have friends who tell us about “it” and have varied amounts of experience that often are clearly influenced by myths that abound in our society. And the media too are filled with stereotypes - men are pictured as sadistic aggressors and women as subhuman sex objects.

iceman_00’s note took me back to one of the sex therapists I read, Dr. Helen Singer Kaplan, author of “Making Sense of Sex”. It was from her I learned that society’s negative attitudes toward sex are more potent than ignorance in stunting the sexual and emotional lives of so many of our children.

Kaplan went, “information will merely inform, but it takes a 'heart'—an encouraging, reassuring and positive attitude—to convey to the young person the message that sex is a natural and beautiful human function.”

This message is the most active ingredient in the prevention of problems, in enhancing a person’s ability to love and to enjoy a sexual relationship.

I think to address the problem of unwanted pregnancies and teen motherhood is to give our adolescents the reassurance that their sexual feelings are normal, but that they have to respond to erotic feelings responsibly. Unfortunately, young people in our society often enter this critical period ignorant, confused and guilty about sex for the idea is not regarded by our society as a natural biological function. Sex has always been thought of as sinful, evil, and dangerous – the topic a taboo.

Youngsters should have been taught—no less than by their very own parents—that sex is a major area of vulnerability. That they should be encouraged to be sensitive to the feelings of others, and to never ever use sex destructively or exploitively.©

7/19/2006 03:49:00 AM | Anonymous candice said....   

There is a big problem among youth all over the world, and that is wanting to grow up fast. They engage in activities such as "sex" which they have no knowledge about because of parents and society seeing it as a taboo to discuss. I believe that sex takes place mostly because of curiousity of the unknown. I am sure everyone knows the saying curiousity killed the cat. Youth encounter the danger of teen pregnancy and numerous other problems associated with sex, due to the lack of education and the secrecy associated with sex. Sex education should be mandatory with the emphasis of abstinence and biblical instruction. I believe that is the only way we can counter the problems associated with teen and unwanted pregnancy.