March 21, 2012

To do or not to do? Sex ed and what comes with it.

I've been wanting  to write about this particular issue for a while.

I am sure that the topic of UT trying to ban sex-ed from public schools has reached you in one way or the other. It seems that all sorts of social media and internet are flooded with it. I am glad that as of Friday , March 16th, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert "vetoed a controversial bill banning public schools from teaching contraception as a way of preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases." { source}

With that being said,  watching the inner "brew" as people were discussing the bill ( that passed mind you) was very interesting. Most of them were against it, and for a good reason , in my opinion.
One of my readers, Bonnie from Life of Bon, wrote a great post on this issue, which prompted me to share with you today.

Here is a short little summary of the original issue :

" House Bill 363 sponsor Rep. Bill Wright is pushing a bill for abstinence-only education throughout the state.  In the bill, Wright states that "discussing birth control and homosexuality promotes promiscuity among teens and advocates the use of drugs." He believes this legislation is needed to protect "the innocence of students". His original bill bans any "discussion of sexuality except abstinence and fidelity in marriage." His only alternative is "not teaching sex education at all.

And as if that is not enough , here is more :

"Wright says teaching sexuality isn’t a priority in education. “It is not like all our students are going to die if they don’t learn promiscuous behavior." "

Please, note - IS NOT A PRIORITY.

But what I found more interesting was the the response from UT population. While tens of thousands have  objected and petitioned against it , there were just as many that saw it as "necessary", "chistlike", etc. Just google the topic and then read the commentary after any article, you'll see what I mean.

This issue gave me a lot to think about , and created lots of conversations with my husband. My view on this , of course, is siting with those that are pro-education. I see nothing bad, immoral, provoking or disturbing in the fact that my children will receive some sort of instruction in regards to sex. I see sex  being just as  natural, important, necessary, healthy (and it exists, you know)  and see sex ed as nothing different then biology, math, literature , etc.  It was very odd however , to say the least, see people supporting this absurd bill and using reasons like "this is sacred, it must be talked about at home", " it provokes immoral behavior", "it's christlike" "why create unhealthy interest?", etc. ( just google it)

I knew that some of UT mentality was odd, but THIS odd? Abstinence-only teaching ( with a job at stake if something else said )  and ignorance is not going to create a bunch of christlike teenagers - odd way of "saintification", no  (especially , when abortion IS legal) ?  What is does create , though ( apart from a bee-line to a forbidden fruit) is twisted mentality. And here is why.

Those that are going to talk to their teens about sex at home are not opposed to sex ed as well . If the way the course is taught is not suitable to a family, parents have the right to opt out . But they are open to it. It makes me wonder, however , how much those that are on a " provokes immoral behaviour" team  are going to expose their children to talks about sex "within safety of their homes"? My guess is - zero. They are going to install in their children's brains that it is "so sacred, it is unsacred to talk about it". " You'll figure it out" is a commonly used method of teaching as well as an acceptable mentality - I speak from experience.

I am not saying that sex is not sacred. I believe it is . I see it - and always have - as the only way to express deep love. I was not raised mormon or even religious then - I grew up in an atheist country. My mother answered my "where do babies come from " when I was 8 and she was very pregnant with my sister. Too early? Maybe, or maybe not.

She did not go into intricate details of "how", but she did pull a library book on childhood sex education, and did just that in the form that was very acceptable in my little 8 y/o mind. We red the book together, and she answered the questions alone the way. Openly, calmly and matter-of-factly.

It did not pose any immoral ideas in my head, nor did I run to try it out. But when my friends and peers couple of years later started to giggle, peak in opposite sex bathrooms, and whisper into each other ears, I felt so much more mature - and I was actually, thanks to my mom. I knew that they were going to "grow out" of that stage, and I knew that giggling is going to come to those that weren't properly educated - that's what I learned from that book we read together. I didn't need to go through that stage.

More so, I felt so confident in my mother ( as exactly what she said - happened) , that it created a connection that lasts forever. We had long talks about all things puberty and sex related, never embarrassed, never shy. There isn't anything I wouldn't ask my mother about even now.

I learned that sex was very natural and very desirable object. I also learned that unless absolutely physically mature, it will NOT be pleasurable. For girls, that is at the very least until 18. ( smart , don't you think?) And then I learned - and engraved permanently - that unless psychologically and emotionally ready, sex will not be what it is meant to be (and why would I want that , right? ). Only with feelings of deep love that come with desire for marriage the emotional basis come to full maturity. I was not taught that the only way to have sex is after marriage. But I was taught that only two people that are ready to marry each other ( or engaged - as it is called in US ) should have a sexual relationship. It's too valuable to use it any other way. That - subconsciously - engraved permanently. As I grew older, "after married" became so desirable in my mind ( and supported by my mother) , there were no questions I was going to wait. I was happy that I met and married the man with the same values.


He did not have such open and clear conversations about sex. As a matter of fact, he had ZERO. His sex ed - he tells me - came from UT school ( where he lived for few short years) and even at THAT time it enclosed a brief anatomy lesson, and "just don't do it, talk to your parents" concept. Well... his parents weren't that keen on the idea. They left it to "it's not something we talk about" and "you'll figure it out" part.  I will just say this - if I were not educated as well I was, we'd be in deep trouble. And even then - we had more bumps then there should have been.

UT has the highest rate of antidepressant usage as well as one of the highest rates of divorce. One of the major divorce causes is ... sex. Or lack of one. In my situation , it was a man that was not educated , and thanks heaven for that. Male biology of itself pushed through any psychological barriers that might have been created by "it is too sacred to talk about" concept. But what if in his place was a girl? I can easily see how those "too embarrassed to think about it" ladies are created - I've met a bunch. They are perfectly suited for monastic life, but they want children... I've met many that find anything that implies sex in conversation, thought or otherwise , to be sinful and , as such, avoid it at any time. Now - how would that translate in a marriage?

It's no wonder , that UT has some of the highest rates of abuse, because those types of girls also become mothers, and then go a step or two above and become absolutely absurd about even their own bodies. Ever heard a conversation in the bathroom like " please, put your underwear on quicker, it's very bad for someone to see your bum" and and then see that mom come out with a toddler GIRL out of the stall. I have.

I can't help but wonder, HOW that little child's mind will develop? Because, "nobody wants to see your bum" is said by HER MOTHER . Really?! What I want to know - DO THEY BATHE their children?! Or seen those moms that create tents around them while breastfeeding IN the woman's lounge? While killing you with the looks that YOU ( also a breastfeeding woman) dare to allow your boob to be visible while IN THE WOMEN'S lounge, people! I am not even going to touch on the subject of how if you dare to feed in public UNcovered , because the phrases " we don't want our husbands to get AROUSED BY LOOKING at you feeding the baby" will flood the conversation thread. Seriously? Are those husbands THAT sex deprived that they seek any opportunity for something they do not get from their own wives ( but are completely entitled to)?  And then there is a fact that pornography is thriving around these parts, etc, etc. Now could that be connected to the mentality that of Bill Wright , who "says teaching sexuality isn’t a priority in education. “It is not like all our students are going to die if they don’t learn promiscuous behavior.""?  I think yes.

I also think that instead of working on forbidding something that is natural, necessary and unavoidable, it would be much wiser put the efforts into creating programs that would boost high moral values and are not church related . So that anywhere, where the child goes , from young age they are surrounded by good, not forbidden.

Having adults being comfortable with their own bodies and sexuality would also help and save so many marriages and get those women off antidepressants  ( and their doctors who prescribed it , probably, too...) 

Now , go ahead and tell me your thoughts on this. Anonymously, if that makes you more comfortable.


  1. Coming from the background of little or No talks about sex in the home I was very grateful at all for the little education and information shared in the schools. The bottom line is this: kids are going to learn about sex, it is completely UNAVOIDABLE in today's society. The question that parents should be asking is whether or not they want the good institutions in society and in the home to reinforce good, responsible and healthy behavior. Teaching about contraception and the options surrounding it does not tell a teen that they need to go and have sex, but it does let them know that if they do engage in it (Which they would choose to do or not to do without any education) they would know that they have ways to protect and prevent unwanted outcomes of that behavior. I am very pro-abstinence when it comes to sex, but I am very realistic in knowing that if there is one thing that drives a teenager to do something is to tell them it is "forbidden" or taboo.

    1. here you go - that is exactly why I think it is so important to have proper education AND freedom for teens especially to be able to talk to someone OUTSIDE of their home. Not everyone is lucky to have open-to-talk parents. Wishful thinking doesn't make it be true, right?

  2. As someone who lives in Utah, I really loved this post! I believe giving children knowledge about, and respect for, their own bodies is never a bad thing.

    1. yes! I hope there are more people like you with good understanding of how important this is!

  3. that was really wonderful to read, im really glad for your children. my mum and your mum handled the sex issue the same and its something that i am so so so grateful for and will do the same for my children. I was such a confident teen, while all my girlfriends were trying things out, getting hurt emotionally and feeling shit about themselves I had the self esteem to know what i deserved and i waited until i found it. sex has always been a positive thing for me and now im married, soon to start my own family, i am so grateful for my wonderful married relationship and i do believe it starts with that talk as a child - where do babies come from!

    1. thank you so much, Astra! Isn't it great when you can be free to talk to your mom on any subject? I hope I am cool enough for my children to confide in me with everything and anything. I think sex is essential for a good marriage, and the older I get , the more i think so. It is beautiful and sacred, yes, but it is something that children need to know about too - it won't just dawn unto them :)

      PS - i absolutely love your beautiful blog, your 101 in 1001 and your dream :) That little chick in your( or your husbands) hand just melted my heart! You are beautiful , and I think that white skin is awesome! I was hiding my legs all last summer under capries, because I thought they were too white for shorts, so i ended up with tan "socks" that are STILL there , almost a year later! This year I'm "shorting" and "spagetti-strapping" , white skin all the way!

  4. Hi Olya,

    I love your blog. I too am a dancer and a mom of four. I met my husband while dancing in NYC. Now I teach dance one night a week and take class when I can. I still love dance so much but love being a mom even more! I'm thankful to be able to dance and create while staying home with my children at the same time. I'm thinking that you and I are probably around the same age too. :-)

    I think it is beautiful what you were taught about sex. It sounds like you are living in Mormon country. The Mormon religion is all law and no Gospel. It's no wonder that so much of what you see and hear is highly legalistic. There's an excellent book by Michael Horton from The White Horse Inn called Christless Christianity. It talks about how moralism is the alternative gospel of the American church. Mormons tend to be morally good people but they have missed Christ. They call themselves Christians but they are not.

    With that said, I personally believe that parents should be educating their children about sex. There is much being taught in the public schools that promotes promiscuity. Some of these children will never hear that sex is beautiful and sacred. I am thankful for parents that taught me that sex is a beautiful gift from God that is designed for marriage. This is not what I was taught in sex education in the public schools. We were taught how to put a condom on a banana. We were not taught about the importance of waiting until we were old enough to be able to handle the emotions that go along with sex. We were taught about birth control. All of my girlfriends in public school were on birth control and they were all very promiscuous. So there are two sides to every coin. This is why I believe that the public schools should talk about abstinence as well.


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