at least as far as birth control goes, apparently. I just read this*, and I’m not sure if I should laugh or cry.
What I’d really love to know is whether this is a uniquely American phenomenon, what with the scarce to nonexistent sex-ed in schools, and zero popular and widespread alternatives, other than rumors spread among teenagers themselves. I have the vague impression that my High-School buddies were significantly better informed than that, but really only because we got the information from the same source, passed around in class under the tables and read religiously during school breaks. And the information in there was actually pretty accurate and often rather explicit, to a level that wouldn’t even be legal in the U.S., nevermind “morally” acceptable. I’ve no idea if this is still the case, since the magazine spawned a bunch of clones, and the original is probably not as widely read as it used to be (plus, I’ve no flaming clue about the current content). But anyway, I’ve never gotten into the weird situations described in that article, but since I never actually, explicitly asked any guys about what they know about birth control, I don’t actually know if they were/are that clueless, too.
The closest Americans seem to have to a resource for teens on sex is Scareleteen, but that’s not as easily findable, shareable, and hidable from potentially too conservative parents as a magazine would be. And resources for adults are… porn and self-help books? the article seems to suggest many men know as adults about as little as they did as teens, so whatever adult resources there are, men don’t seem interested in them, or don’t know they exist.
So anyway, this made me think of a couple different but related arguments about sex and knowledge I’ve had over the years. A lot of the “porn skews how young people think sex is supposed to be like” and “models on the runway and in playboy skew what both men and women think women are supposed to look like” arguments seem dependent on the fact that porn/playboy/model-photos are the only sources of information for how women’s bodies actually look like “in the wild”, and for what sex is, how it’s done, and how to find out what’s fun. So, would a good antidote to the nasty peer and social pressure perpetrated on people by these media sources be more access to information and openness about nudity and sex? No one over 15 thinks romantic comedies are really how people get into relationships, because real relationships are everywhere and they are visible. I’m sure most kids have at least heard from various family members about how they met their significant other, even when they themselves haven’t yet gotten into a relationship.
Especially annoying and intriguing is the problem of young women misjudging how “bad” they themselves look, because of how the women on TV and in magazines look like**. I mean, that a guy may not see that many nude women “in the wild” is believable, but how is that possible with women themselves? Don’t they ever go swimming, or to the gym? or do American women not shower after swimming/going to the gym? I certainly know that the annual trip with my mom to the nude sauna improves my self-image immensely, since being surrounded by unselfconsciously naked women of all shapes, sizes and ages makes me less freaked out about myself. Certainly such exposure can only be good? Is such exposure possible in the States, and other conservative(ish) countries?
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*extra special stupid quote from article: “I feel like girls should tell people.”
dude, girls ARE people! :-/
**I’ve not the faintest clue to what degree the same problem happens with guys. I get the vague impression from snipplets of conversations that at least in the gay community it is, but other than that, I’m clueless. However, the solution would be pretty much the same, right?