I’m a child of the 70s and sometimes the timing of my birth and life really pisses me off. The economy was pretty damn sucky when I got out of college (not as bad as it is now, but pretty bad). AIDS came into the national consciousness just as I was becoming interested in sex. The city (my city, NYC) I grew up with was a scary place of drug addicts and crime and my parents never trusted me to go places on my own.
But there is one way in which I feel positively blessed to be a child of the 70s. I grew up with comprehensive sex education in school. Unlike, it seems, most kids nowadays.
I was catching up on my reading a little while ago and well, I just couldn’t stop shaking my head in disbelief. Andrew Sullivan, in the Daily Dish, excerpted an article by Amy Sullivan on Sex Education in the US. It’s pretty clear that schools are no longer teaching sex ed in any comprehensive way. Not the way they were when I was a kid (I remember a movie when I was still in grade school that was shown after school. It was optional and the parents were invited to join us. And then in high school we had a whole semester on reproduction and birth control. We still had a couple of girls who got knocked up, but it was rare.)
And it also seems, based on surveys, that parents aren’t talking to their kids about this stuff. So we basically have a country full of horny, ignorant teenagers. Oh goody.
Like I said, I’m really happy to have benefited from sex ed in school. Quite frankly, if I didn’t get that information in school, I don’t know when I would’ve ever gotten it. I guess I would’ve eventually gotten frustrated from not knowing and asked my friends or gone to the bookstore and bought a book. I know for damn sure my mom never would’ve said anything.
Here’s what my mom did say to me in relation to sex, when I was about 17: We were sitting together, watching TV. Some random sitcom. I think it might’ve been Kate and Allie (I know that many of my readers are too young to remember that show, oh well). Anyway, one of the moms on the show realizes that her teenage daughter is about to be (or already is) sexually active and she says to her something about not wanting her to make a mistake but that if she’s determined to go ahead and do it she wants her to visit her OB/GYN and get a prescription for birth control and have the doctor send her the bill. My mom turned to me and said, “me too”. That was it, “me too”.
I said nothing in reply. I was mortified. My mom and I had never spoken about sex and there she was basically telling me that if and when I was sexually active she wanted me to go get myself some birth control and discreetly have the bill sent to her.
Yeah, there was no way that was ever going to happen. Sending her the bill would have just been prolonging the conversation.
So anyway, I’m really happy to be a child of the 70s and it’s freewheeling, post-hippie, free to be you and me, belief system. I’m glad I had a gym teacher tell me everything I ever needed to know about birth control and STD prevention. I’d like to think that information has helped me to continue to be safe and healthy and happy all of these years later.
And at the same time, I feel really sad for the kids of today. I feel like they’re getting robbed of so much. Even good sex, it seems.
Tags: aids, horny, nyc, sex