Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

Seriously, No Really

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). came into the national consciousness just as I was becoming interested in .  The city (my city, ) 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 , 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.


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8 to “Seriously, No Really”


  1. Missaup says:

    It is soooo important to educate yourself (basically anyone who is or is contemplating being sexually active) about healthy sexuality.

  2. starangel82 says:

    I had a sex ed class in school. Since my parents had to sign a permission form, they knew when my sex ed class was being conducted. When the class was over, my mom sat me down and went over everything again. Talk about mortifying. Yeah. But looking back, I’m grateful for both. I hope all kids get one or both these days.

  3. BradshawsCloset says:

    I feel so lucky that my mum told me about sex. Yes when she revealed what a man and woman actually do together I pulled a face like it was the most disgusting thing in the world – but I was only 11 and at least I knew what went on…it’s the emotional side of relationships I wasn’t prepared for, but can any parent really prepare you for being messed around so much?

  4. queenie_nyc says:

    A) I agree with you completely.
    B) I remember Kate & Allie!

  5. Blogging for Bucks says:

    You have a wonderful blog here. I have only begun to read it but I like it a lot. I will say however, I actually don’t agree with the statement about kids being robbed of good sex. We actually live in a time of sexual liberation. More rights everyday for homosexuals, more people involved in what used to be considered “taboo” lifestyles, more dominant/submissive style relationships (although speculated much of this is based on the idea of goth and emo being such a social norm for the new generation).

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  6. SINgleGIRL says:

    -Missaup
    I agree. I get so frustrated when I see grown people who don’t know really basic stuff about sex and STDs and birth control. OK, so you didn’t learn in school and your parents didn’t teach you – hello, teach your damn self!
    -starangel82
    OMG. As much as I laugh about my mom never saying a word to me about sex I think I would’ve died if she actually sat me down and DID talk to me about it. I was happy with the way things worked out.
    -BradshawsCloset
    Welcome to the blog. Yeah, no one can really prepare us for the emotional side. That’s a live and learn thing.
    -queenie-nyc
    Yeah – you remember Kate and Allie (though I suspect you saw it in reruns). Makes me feel like less of a dinosaur.
    -Blogging for Bucks
    Welcome to the blog and thanks for the compliment.
    Yes, it’s much easier for some teens, depending on where they live and their upbringing. I’m sure that kids in major metropolitan areas are in good shape in terms in info re sex and sexuality and even alternative lifestyles. I’m not concerned about them. The national numbers are bleak.

    I have gay friends who recently moved to a part of the country that is less “liberal” and they can’t even tell their colleagues about the fact that they are in a long-term committed relationship for fear of retribution. The kids in their area are not getting any sex ed in schools and many won’t get it at home. That “time of sexual liberation” is geographically specific.

  7. @luckychica says:

    I suspect that I am only slightly younger than you and remember 1) HS sex ed class 2) kate and allie and 3) the emergence of AIDS in NYC. Fortunately, I had a hippie, liberal mom who I think told me everything by the time I was 5, because I don’t really remember having questions about what goes where and how a girl got pregnant. And I remember that by the age of 15, I knew the phrase, “no glove, no love.” I am amazed at how many adults I meet now seem so ignorant about stuff. It’s amazing that we are still so hung up about sex and can’t just have conversations about the practical aspects of things. It’s for everyone’s benefit.

  8. SINgleGIRL says:

    -luckychica
    A few years younger, yes probably. I am proudly 38 – closely in on 39. The no glove thing made me giggle. Thanks for reminding me. And yeah, I can’t believe how ignorant some adults are.