Tuesday, 30 September 2014

I will not teach my kids about safe s*x because there is no such thing

I sometimes make the mistake of accusing our culture of being ‘oversexed’ or ‘sex crazed,’ especially when I see stories about school districts trying to give condoms to 6th graders. In truth, though, most of the people in this country are petrified of sex. The very thought of it terrifies them. Modern society plays host to the most pathetic collection of bored, sexless cowards ever to walk the Earth. We have taken the honesty, love, passion, beauty, and creative power out of the act, and replaced it with something sterile, guarded, frivolous, and disinterested.
It’s kind of ironic, really.
In this nation, we are concerned about the integrity of our produce and our peanut butter, so we only buy them if they have words like ‘organic’ and ‘raw’ on the packaging. But, when it comes to human sexuality, we’ll sip whatever chemicals we need in order to stave off the natural emotional and physical consequences of our behavior. Imagine the college students who have to chug 6 rum cocktails and 8 Natty Lights between them before they can anonymously copulate in someone’s dorm room. But they require more than booze; they also need pills and condoms and explanations the morning after about how this was all just for fun and it didn’t mean anything.
Why do we say that these people enjoy sex? The man who makes love to his wife of 20 years enjoys sex; these people only enjoy certain physical sensations. They enjoy masturbating with assistance — but sex is precisely what they’re trying desperately to avoid.
Perhaps most absurd of all is that we call these alcohol-fused humping sessions ‘safe,’ so long as they involve a layer of latex and a dose of steroids. We tell young people to wear condoms to protect against ailments like hepatitis and AIDS. The obvious insinuation here is that there is a ‘safe’ way to fornicate with a diseased stranger.
Nameless, random, uncommitted sex is never safe. Not emotionally, not spiritually, not physically. In fact, no sex is safe. Sex is not supposed to be safe. Sex isn’t supposed to be physically perilous like it often is these days — thanks, mostly, to years of ‘safe sex’ education — but it is supposed to be an act of great depth and consequence. Sex is meant to be open and exposed. It’s meant to bring out scary and mysterious feelings of desire and devotion.
Call that whatever you like, but you can’t call it safe.
Sex itself isn’t safe. On the other hand, committed relationships, fortified by the vows of marriage and reaffirmed daily by both spouses, are safe — and it is only in this context that the inherent vulnerability of sex can be made secure and comfortable.
It’s funny that in the world of petty one night stands, when someone commits the crime of being a human being who develops natural pangs of emotional closeness and affection, the other person is allowed to accuse them of being ‘weird’ or ‘moving too fast.’ And when the manmade barricades fail and a human life is tragically formed, both parties can, with a straight face, say that it was an ‘accident.’
This is like planting a seed in the ground and calling it a mistake when a tree begins to sprout because you thought the soil was infertile. You may have believed this, but still the seed is doing exactly what seeds are supposed to do, and you did exactly what a person is supposed to do if they want to make a tree grow. You may be a fool, but this was no accident.
Next, you cut down the sapling and toss it in the fire, and then you continue to plant seeds. Each time, you cry that all of these damned trees keep shooting out of the ground. When someone comes and tells you to stop planting until you’re ready to deal with a forest, you weep and accuse the person of being cruel and judgmental simply because they’re articulating the basic rules of botany.
Of course, this metaphor fails for one reason: everyone agrees that you shouldn’t kill baby trees. No such consensus exists when it comes to baby people.
I’m not going to teach my kids about ‘safe sex’ because I don’t want to lie to them. I’d also hate to foster in them what I so often see in many other people: a pessimistic, reductionist view of human sexuality.
What else could you expect to find when you spend the first 18 years of a kid’s life hammering such a paltry, pathetic message? Today, kids never hear anything positive about sex because the positive aspects have been recast as negatives.
Positive: sex creates human beings. This is a great good, but it isn’t a good one should pursue until they are married and prepared to care for the life they’ve formed.
Positive: sex is an expression of love. This is the primary thing that separates human sex from sex between beasts. It is a profound good, but, like any good, it can be perverted and turned into a very dark evil.
These are the two most beautiful things about sex, but we have decided to teach our children that they can and should remove both, and begin ‘exploring their sexuality’ one or two decades before they’ll be able to truly embrace every magnificent dimension of it. So for the next 10 or 15 years, they will learn to see the two greatest things about sex as among the worst things. Unsurprisingly, this attitude will often stay with them, permanently.
The abstinence-before-marriage plan paints an affirmative and uplifting picture. It says, “this is something so good and so important and so joyful that you should leave it be until you grow up and find one special person to share it with.”
The ‘safe sex’ model, however, tells a sterilized and paranoid story. It says, “this is something so frivolous and so joyless that you can do it with whoever, for whatever reason, even if just to alleviate boredom. By the way, though it is just a recreational activity, like Parcheesi or air hockey, it can also lead to broken hearts, chlamydia, pregnancy, and AIDS. So, in that sense, it’s a little different from a board game. Hey, let’s look at some super-magnified images of genital warts!”
And, somehow, that version gets to pretend it’s the ‘positive’ and ‘encouraging’ one.
The only comfort it offers is that sex can be fun, but, in lieu of introducing morality, responsibility, and delayed gratification into the conversation, it has to guide the child’s behavior by obsessing over pubic lice and teenage pregnancy.
The abstinence before marriage lesson gives greater comfort — it tells you about the fun of sex, but also the love and creative power of it. And abstinence before marriage has a better way to deal with the bad things — it tells you about gonorrhea and herpes and out-of-wedlock pregnancy, but it assures you that you don’t need to live in fear of these things if you simply wait for the right time.
‘Safe sex’ gives you shallow joys and deep fears, abstinence gives you deep joys and avoidable fears.
It’s the better way. It’s the better message. It’s just better.
Now, I know you’ll tell me that we have to be realistic. Kids will have sex, so shouldn’t we at least make sure they’re prepared for it?
To answer that question I have a few of my own:
You don’t want your kid to drink and drive, but if he did, you’d prefer he wear a seatbelt, right? Well, would you ever say to him: “junior, I know you’re going to drink and drive. You shouldn’t, but everyone does. So just wear your seatbelt”?
Why not?
Because that statement seriously dilutes your anti-drunk driving message, lends a tacit endorsement to the behavior, and assumes the worst in your son before he even has a chance to make his own choices?
Also, what is your job as a parent? Is it to give your child low bars, easy goals, and mild challenges to meet? Or is it to point her towards what is right and good, and then give her the tools to attain it?
Also, for how long have the majority of parents been using the “well, my kids are going to have sex anyway” logic? Decades, maybe? And has sex among unmarried people become generally more or less prevalent during that time? More, right? So do we, perhaps, have here a case of a self-fulfilling prophesy?
Also, do you, in any other situation, elect to forgo teaching your kid to do what is right and instead prepare him to do the next best thing? Do you ever tell your child to shoot for a ‘C’ in math class? Do you ever tell her to make sure she only engages in reasonable levels of bullying and gossip? Do you ever tell your son to only vandalize abandoned properties? Do you ever tell your daughter to only lie to you once a week? Do you ever tell your son to only forge your signature on his report card if he’s really sure it looks super accurate?
Why? After all, your kids will likely underachieve in school, tell lies, bully others, and commit all sorts of other acts of juvenile foolishness. By your logic, you shouldn’t tell them not to do things they will probably do, and instead help them do the things they shouldn’t do in a way that minimizes risk and consequence, right?
So why do you employ this tactic with sex?
Something to think about, at least.
In the meantime, I will try to teach mine how to choose right and avoid wrong, even in areas where many have failed, and even in areas where I have failed. Actually, especially in areas where I failed, considering I’ve been such a prolific failure in such a vast assortment of categories.
I will not teach my kids about safe sex.
I prefer to be honest with them.

Source: matt walsh

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