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SEX EDUCATION, THEN AND NOW

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 10, 2012

BRYCE ON OUR CHANGING WORLD

– Are we truly any smarter today?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I wonder how much of sex education is learned through television, the Internet, and movies these days? Probably more than we know. As a result, I suspect parents spend considerably less time discussing it with their children than my generation. Back in my day, sex was a subject few people openly discussed, but I’m sure they were just as preoccupied with it. Even though “Playboy” was coming into vogue, nobody discussed such things as erectile dysfunction, social diseases, or openly joked about human sexual anatomy as they do today on prime time. Bawdy jokes were told privately or in Las Vegas. Even tampon ads in magazines were considered risque. The movie “Goldfinger” broke a lot of ground in raising sexual awareness though. Everyone knew what “Pussy Galore” meant, and still chuckle about it to this day.

My father gave me “The Talk” about the birds and the bees somewhere around fifth grade and he treated it rather seriously and matter-of-factly. Prior to this, I hadn’t given it much thought and was thereby surprised about the facts of life, particularly with the opposite sex. This was all reinforced a couple of years later when I was in Junior High School in Chicago. We were bused to the school on a Saturday morning, where the boys and girls were separated and listened to lectures on sex and watched an educational film. Interestingly, before the movie, the boys and girls joked around on the bus and sat together. However, on the trip home, the boys sat on one side of the bus, and the girls on the other; not a word was spoken by anyone. I presume the session had the desired effect the school administrators were looking for.

Following the class, our P.E. teachers would also provide some talks and film strips on sex education. I suspect the films were shown to the GI’s in WW2 as they looked rather old and warned of the dangers of Syphilis and Gonorrhea. Afterwards, we all started to watch our scalps to make sure clumps of hair wouldn’t fall out. It was also at this age when young men start wearing jock straps in gym class. There was an instance where a new kid came to our school and joined our class. In addition to the jock strap, his mother insisted he wear a condom. This really puzzled us. We all knew what the condom was for but were at a loss as to why she insisted on him wearing it in gym. Nobody sat next to him while we were changing.

During high school I played football and would naturally get quite dirty and sweaty. We all took showers afterwards and nobody thought twice about it. One of my teammates eventually became the Athletic Director at the school. When I went back to visit him years later, he gave me a tour of the old locker room where I noticed the shower room was shrunk in half. When I asked him about it, he told me nobody takes showers after a game or practice anymore as the kids have become rather “Homophobic.” I just rolled my eyes and said, “Idiots.”

Despite the absence of the active sexual climate in the media back then, we all got the message, be it from our parents, our school, or amongst ourselves, but I’m not sure it is like that anymore. I know of companies today where managers have to counsel young employees about their sex lives. The biggest danger seems to be they are misinformed about what they are doing, and are incredibly naive about birth control and social diseases. It seems odd a manager has to discuss such affairs with a worker but it is inevitable as many moms and dads have abdicated their parental duties in this regard. I suspect the same is true in the military where sergeants have to give advice, such as, “If you don’t know what you’re doing, keep it zipped.”

Today we may be more sexually active in the media, but our young people appear to be ignorant of the basics when it comes to sex education, just the antithesis of my day. Now there are more sexually transmitted diseases, and we all want to be at the top of our game in sexual performance, at least that is what television tells us. I’m not sure which generation is more correctly “adjusted” to sex, but I sure loved that “Pussy Galore” gag.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


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PERSONALITY TYPES – Of the four types, which one best describes you?


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5 Responses to “SEX EDUCATION, THEN AND NOW”

  1. Tim Bryce said

    A J.S. of Skidway Lake, Michigan wrote…

    I love the bus story! I can imagine the discomfort due to a new awareness of sexuality. I think the biggest difference between then and now is that we were told the facts with the specific order “Don’t do it until marriage.” Now the kids are told “We know you’re going to do it, so this is how to prevent unwanted pregnancies and diseases.” Sex is considered social recreation rather than marital procreation.

    I remember those old films about VD. Referred to as “social diseases”, the animated characters moved from group to group, spreading disease in social settings. Sexual intercourse wasn’t mentioned, so the implication was that one could contract VD by attending dances and parties. At our high school dances, leaving room for the Holy Spirit between dancers was taken seriously!

    Like

  2. Tim Bryce said

    An R.R. of Pendleton, Oregon wrote…

    “I must say I completely agree. Teaching and exposure are not synonyms and our society is so busy exposing our children to sex that it forgets that it has a responsibility to teach not simply expose. Exposure is always detrimental. If not, then flashers would be perfectly acceptable.”

    Like

  3. Tim Bryce said

    An M.B. of Palm Harbor, Florida wrote….

    “All I want to know is, when I was a kid all the teachers looked like Mrs. Butterworth and not Debra LaFave – why is that?”

    Like

  4. Tim Bryce said

    An E.R. of Juneau, Alaska wrote…

    “Amen…TV, music, and the like didn’t teach me ANYTHING about the dangers of sex. It was always displayed to me as fun along with things like drugs and alcohol, when in reality those things should NEVER mix! And even when I knew that, with all the media and “celebs” around you seeming to say different, it’s ridiculous how much you will rationalize! I rationalized myself into WAY more than I bargained for, and now here I am 8 1/2 months pregnant. All because I thought sex was something a girlfriend was obligated to do…it was “normal”.

    And that’s just the physical effect sex brought onto me…don’t even get me STARTED on the emotional torment I’ve been through. But did I think that it was the act itself that was wrong? No, I must be doing something wrong, because these songs talk about sex like it’s AMAZING, so I must need more practice. Try on different guys till I find the right fit?

    ….just some insight into the teenage mind for you. We aren’t the brightest bulbs. “

    Like

  5. Tim Bryce said

    A B.H. of Boulder, Colorado wrote…

    “You know, the way you described the process you went thru sounded an AWFUL LOT like the one I had. Of course, I had those films and such in SIXTH grade, because we were organized along elementary (K-6), Jr High (7-9) and Sr High (10-12) instead of the currently more popular K-5/6-8/9-12. I’m guessing that they want to hit you with it BEFORE you hit the Middle School/Jr High paradigm shift in how classes are held, and also because that’s right around the time that boys and girls start having puberty indications.

    I was a little unusual in that my wife had gone into a nursing home and had speech and cognition problems before my youngest had her first period, and my older daughter was away at college when that happened, so … good old Dad had to explain those facts of life to the daughter.”

    Like

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