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I'd like to join Feministe in boosting the signal on Scarleteen's Find-A-Doc Service.  Too often, young people (men and women!) are constrained (by fear or embarassment or the need for privacy regarding sexual matters) from finding a care provider that is safe for them (that won't shame them, or immediately call their parents, or refuse to honour their privacy).

Scarleteen is a fabulous site, accessible to every young person with access to a computer, that provides real, helpful sexual advice without shame, lies, or propaganda.  I support them fully, especially remembering the younger sister of a friend in England, who was terrified that sex with her boyfriend could lead to pregnancy, who had no idea where to obtain condoms, let alone the pill, and whose parents were repressive and anti-sex, who would simply punish her for being sexual (she was 16).

(I gave her my stash of condoms, and explained how to get more.  In retrospect, I should have given her a lesson on how to use them effectively, too.)

I understand fully how lucky and privileged I was to have a parent (my mother) who was open about sexuality, and made no bones about letting me educate myself through reading.  She wasn't happy about my sexual life (I was actually pretty late getting started, at 17)*, but made sure that I was furnished with contraceptives and information.  I went into my sexual life fully informed and eager, not frightened and ignorant.  I wish for the same for everyone.**

If you feel the same way, please boost the signal to any young people you may know.  You never know, it might save their life.

*I put this down to her experiences as a young woman in the '40s, when being a sexually active woman (even into one's twenties) was occasion for nasty commentary about "used goods".  I do not hold it against her, but sympathize and rage on her behalf at the injustice.

**My former stepmother once said "I hope when my daughter is your age, she isn't as educated as you [about sex]".  She didn't mean it as a compliment, but to this day, I take it as one anyway.  Education is a good thing.


( 4 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
Jan. 31st, 2011 05:25 pm (UTC)
I hope when my sister is 16, that she'll be well-educated about sex, too.

It's crazy how people seem to think that complete ignorance is the best way to prepare their daughters for sex.
Jan. 31st, 2011 10:37 pm (UTC)
And their sons - don't forget that abstinence-only education doesn't allow young men to protect themselves against becoming a father or getting diseases, and gives them no tools for understanding that sex is a two-way street with enthusiastic consent the requirement.

Jan. 31st, 2011 08:23 pm (UTC)
My mom started to teach me about sex when I was around 5 (very basic info at that age). My dad gave me books on female anatomy and all related info, instead of talking to me, but mom made sure I knew what I needed to know about sex. Just wish she knew about condoms back then, but she didn't know that much about them herself. Thankfully, I knew how to read, and where in the library the interesting books were kept. I hope to do the same for both of my kids, and am definitely in the camp of the more you know, the better choices you can make.
Feb. 1st, 2011 01:18 pm (UTC)
Education is the BEST!
I started to talk with my daughter about basic stuff when she first asked at about 9. We had a situation where we were ferrying my mother back and forth to our house, so we were spending several hours a week in a car together. We talked about everything--school sex education teaches only the plumbing--not the rest of it. There are real issues of self worth, self esteem, and vulnerability that go along with sexual behavior.

By the time that sex really became an issue for her, she was ready to deal with it--to the point of NOT considering her virginity something that she "had to get rid of" like some of the other girls in her school. Because she was well informed, she was able to resist the peer pressure of being considered "weird" because she hadn't "done it." She cherished herself enough to wait and give this gift to someone who really cared about her and she did it in a way that enhanced her self worth instead of lessening it.

She actually became sexually active when she was in college, and her first time was a very positive experience that she handled in a most responsible manner. She has acted as a "sexual conduct counselor" for her friends, and has even gone with some gay friends to be tested for AIDS. (She KNEW that she was negative, but went along as support for them.)

I'm so proud of her--she is living proof that providing information and education does NOT cause young people to become promiscuous. Abstinence only education and keeping children ignorant is more likely to lead to trying things out--curiosity is a strong motivator. And all too often, they are NOT prepared for the consequences of their actions.
( 4 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )

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