Wednesday, February 22, 2006
The Safe Sex Part
WARNING: Sexually explicit and strongly opinionated material follows. If you'll find this offensive, please click here to go to this month's links, pattern, and knitting lesson and skip this material.
Unfortunately, many young people today are not being taught the truth about safe sex because the US government is sponsoring innacurate and innefective abstinence-only education in our public schools with the disasterous results of increased teen pregnancy and and STDs because of decreased condom use wherever this program is in effect.
I think the whole premise of abstinence is stupid. Although I do believe that young people should wait to have sex until they are ready and should not be pressured into doing anything they find uncomfortable, it is foolish to abstain from sex until marriage. Why? Well, for several reasons.
First, what fun is that? I wasted too much of my youth being afraid of sex and pretending that I was trying to be holy when I was really just trying to avoid growing up. I wouldn't wish what I went through on any teen. Fortunately, I somehow escaped being told that masturbation was a sin, and when I was a teenager I read an article in Cosmo that encouraged young women to explore their bodies so they'd be comfortable with sexual contact and know how to please themselves. (Today Cosmo has a special edition for teens called Cosmo Girl as well as a column and a book on sexual positions called the Cosmo Kama Sutra. And for some educational and entertaining information about sex, see the Sex Week at Yale magazine online.)
I've since heard that many kids were told that masturbation would make them go blind or crazy, or even grow hair on their palms! I also was very sad to hear that many women go through their whole lives without experiencing a single orgasm. Eve Ensler talks about this in her wonderful book and play, The Vagina Monologues, which she wrote to encourage women to talk frankly and comfortably about their bodies. We should celebrate and enjoy our bodies, not be ashamed of them. Well, eventually I did grow up and you'll never guess what I discovered:
Woohoo! Sex is fun! It's normal! It's natural!
It's good exercise. It makes you feel good. It cures headaches.
It's better than chocolate. And it's (usually) free!
Ok, I admit that having fun isn't the best reason to make a major life decision. So....
Second, you wouldn't marry someone before getting to know if they can balance a checkbook, whether they are a neatnick or a slob, or if they put the toilet seat down and the cap on the toothbrush. So, why would you marry someone when you don't know if they are a sensitive or good lover? Although many (if not most) hetero men can enjoy sex with any naked woman, most women need lovers who take the time to make sure they are satisfied. How sad to go through life with an insensitive lover or with a lover who can't or won't take the time to give you an orgasm! Too many women in the past have lived like this and it's not acceptable.
Third, it's almost unheard of for people to marry in their teens these days, and few marry in their early twenties. In fact, many people put off marriage until their 30s, some decide not to marry at all, and gay men and lesbians are not allowed to get married in most states in the US. Are these people, like the character in the movie The 40 Year Old Virgin, supposed to abstain from sex for their entire lives? It might make a funny movie, but how sad (and unrealistic) for people in the real world!
Finally, sexual repression is not healthy for people or for society. The idea that you should only have sex with one person in your entire life is based on tribal taboos that have nothing to do with a realistic view of human nature. It is primarily religions and reactionary politicians who promote abstinence, looking back to the "good old days" of the 1950s and beyond when Ozzie and Harriet represented the happy and normal "family values." No-one seems to remember that this facade was covering up the unhappy marriages, frustrated and oppressed women, and sexual repression that led to the social upheavals of the 1960s. If we bottle up our sexual feelings, we will eventually explode.
Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with me that it's not a good idea to remain a virgin until marriage, the fact is that most people won't do this. Sex is natural and fun, and when we're in our teens and 20s our hormones are raging, making it all but impossible to remain sexually inactive. We need to make sure that all people, whether young or old, married or single, striaght or gay, have information on safe sex and easy access to contracteption. It is the moral thing to do. While a lot of people make noise about morality and sexuality, morality should not about who we fuck. Is should be about alleviating suffering and helping people live lives filled with joy, peace, and love.
So, what does sex have to do with knitting? Check out the Dangerous Knitting portion to find out...