Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Love Matters

Yesterday, we were made to go through a course on how to teach kids NOT to have sex. All this is in response to a recent newspaper report on how some of our teens are addicted to sex. So, they subject us to mindless platitudinal teaching like "Abstinance is the best protection" in bright flashing bold red words.

A colleague snarkily commented that for us to tell 18 year olds this was pretty much telling a child who had already developed a liking for sweets that it would make their teeth rot and they should stop eating it.


And then, they show us this.

Roller Coaster

Yup. Of course the correct interpretation of this diagram is that once you hit "passionate kissing", there's no turning back. How we, the subversive crowd of teachers decided to read it was totally different- that passionate kissing was the zenith of all sexual passion and sex- over rated and it actually downright sucked!

One newly married teacher loudly announced that no one told him that before his wedding night! At that point, the trainer was wishing she was somewhere not here. Especially when one other quipped that oral sex was illegal if it didn't eventually lead to sex so whether or not sex sucked (no pun intended), it was our get out of jail card.

But it is a concern that we all share about the kids. The kids, straddling those neither here-nor-there- years between the teens and adulthood don't take kindly to being told what they can or cannot do. And when they realise that what was said to them actually made sense, it is often too late. There are tales of students getting hot and heavy round school and of students who live near enough to sneak out of school with their willing partners for a quickie before coming back totally dishevelled. To fight this, what can we do? We can't tell them not to do it, because they already are and you try telling a kid that age that you can go back to just holding hands. I don't even buy that. So we scare them, with vivid descriptions of the different types of abortions that even make me feel queasy and squirmy and pictures of various STDs.

What is ironic though is we scare them and we were scared so well in school that it intrinsically becomes part of what we believe. So many people my age think that getting pregnant is a breeze. Afterall, weren't we told in school that it just takes one time, one unfaltering swimmer to hit it home? And then you wonder what changed?

Ondine tossed this thought in at 08:34

14 thoughts...

14 thoughts...

At 1:51 pm Blogger Yuhui said...

I thought the same thing as your fellow teachers (about passionate kissing being the zenith) when I first saw your chart! I was like "WTF? Sex is nothing???"

Just out of curiosity, what are the X and Y axes? I think the X-axis is time, but what's Y? Self control?

At 2:49 pm Blogger sigh said...

Why not take the cigarette pack approach.

Show them morbid picture of giving birth in the toilet, the teenage new mum have to cut the umbilical cord, throw the baby into rubbish bing etc.

Kids nowadays are too jaded, shock treatment is probably the last chance.

Of course, if you do this, your will kena the wrath for the PTA.

At 3:00 pm Blogger Barffie said...

Walau. Sibeh jialat.

At 4:19 pm Blogger Ondine said...

No axes were included. The hare-brain official from the sexuality department obviously didn't think it through enough. But we can come up with our own axes. Time and self-control sound about right. I'd say length of relationship but I'd be kidding myself.

At 4:23 pm Blogger mb said...

There is a SEXUALITY DEPT?!!!

Wow, teaching is a really exciting profession.

At 4:48 pm Blogger tscd said...

I think this 'abstinence is the best contraception' thing is really *really* good. It teaches that sex must come only with maturity and responsibility.

Over here in the UK, they teach 'safe sex' and distribute condoms - but for some reason it comes across as 'go forth and have sex, everybody does it, have a free condom!'.

In the past week I've had to counsel 4 girls ranging from ages 13-16 who were either pregnant or who'd contracted an STD that could eventually lead to infertility. And for 2 of them, it wasn't the first time they'd had to see a doctor for a sex-related problem.

At 7:07 pm Blogger Tym said...

The problem with focusing only on an "abstinence is the best contraception" approach, as we do in Singapore schools, is that I fear a lot of kids are woefully uneducated about the implications of sex and how to protect themselves. How do you say no to inappropriate touching (whether from a significant other or another person, especially an adult)? And I don't mean some waffly, gentle "No, if you love me, we won't touch/pet/have sex" line. How do you protect yourself if you're going to have sex, as it seems statistically likely that you're going to do? What are the long-term implications of STDs or abortions? How do you find out more about sex without actually doing it? And so on.

But you can bet homosexuality isn't on the agenda. And then you get parents like this.

At 8:49 pm Blogger Shaeng said...

saw this dumb graph during my sec sch days.. it's supposed to look like a rollercoaster, like you go up all the way steadily, and after that peak you can only slide down, no turning back.

i still remember how our class's female FT skipped the entire topic out of embarrassment, and how the following year's male FT suggested we fill up tick tables about our sexual history [e.g. have you had oral sex, have you engaged in heavy petting, does sex hurt for you, have you had an abortion etc.] WTF.

At 10:09 pm Blogger jeffyen said...

This is the most bizarre graph EVER!! I believe the person who drew this wanted the y-axis to mean satisfaction. This discourages people to go and have intercourse, since according to the graph, it's the least satisfying thing to do. Propaganda at its best!

At 8:54 am Blogger Ondine said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 8:57 am Blogger Ondine said...

Our bureaucracy adopts a "See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Do Plenty of Evil" mentality. They ignore what is uncomfortable and awkward to deal with. I mean, they took years to get to this point. What more dealing with real pertinent issues like A)What to do when "forced"? B) What the long term implications apart from being psychologically scarred are? (Although I think they do deal with this from Science text book way) C) And what oh what, if you discover alternative sexual preferences?

That's when they cover their eyes and hide behind how "horrid" and "degenerate" our society is and mourn the loss of our "innocent" youth and get Diana Ser to go out and badly interview people about it. Get Rea! !

At 11:44 am Blogger loupgarou said...

abstinence only doesn't work, if you don't teach all the facts and let them make an informed decision(empowerment), one of these days, they are going to fall into a trap of coercion such as "am i your one true love? you love me right? lets have sex" and they won't know to say ONLY IF YOU USE A CONDOM, or the fall into the stupid trap of "condoms are only 85% effective cos dr john hui peng kee the scientific illiterate said so" and choose not to use a condom (since THEY are falsely led to believe that it fails one in 5 times)

condoms are 99.1% effective in stopping hiv transmission. (based on 2001 statistics/studies).

At 2:41 pm Blogger threez said...

can I borrow that chart to put on a T-shirt? I would like to add one more point in the chart: after the disappointing Sexual Intercourse comes Sleeping On The Wet Spot (for the married people) and Getting Him Out Of Your Parents' Bed (for students).

Tasteless, I know.

How to stop teenagers from having sex:
1. No TV and movies. If not possible then after every kissing/sex scene tell your children it's sinful and only Americans do this sort of loose immoral things.
2. Tell them every morning noon and night that GOD IS WATCHING EVERYTHING THEY DO even if parents are not.
3. Sex is yucks anyway (ah, show them the chart! Mathematical proof!)
4. Women will never orgasm till they are 35 so what's the point?
5. Show them your caesarean scar. That will stop ANYONE from having sex.

Courtesy of My Mother.

At 4:38 pm Blogger KnightofPentacles said...

Tough issues and tough questions indeed. I am glad I do not work with kids.

Me? I'd just hand the kid a condom and say "if you cannot be good, at least be safe".

And maybe share my perverted theory that casual sex is like McDonalds food. Satisfies in the short run and not totally without health risks, but prolonged consumption tends to dull the senses to really good food.


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