Regret, Love, and Teen Sex: The Loss of Great Sex Ed
The spring before I started high school, when I was 13 years old, the movie Little Darlings was released in movie theaters. This fascinating teen movie involved two young girls – only fourteen years old – competing to lose their virginity in order to win a $1,500 bet. It was a blatant exploration of young girl sexuality, including frank discussions, ironic rumors, and peer pressure. Who can forget the young Matt Dillon’s bee-stung lips or Kristy McNichol’s ironic all arched brow as she admired his ass?
Can you imagine such a movie being made today? James Dobson would activate Focus on the Family and its army of letter writers, protesters, and “What about the children?” fanatics to beat the movie right back into the vaults. Even if it was made, it’s unlikely it would find distribution – much less be available for teenagers to watch it; surely it would garner an “R” rating, keeping it out of the reach of most teens.
I didn’t see Little Darlings when it first came out. I saw it a year or so later in my Sexual Education 101 course my sophomore year of high school. It prompted an amazing discussion about everything related to virginity, first love, and sexual exploration. My teacher was amazing, fielding the most random and crazy questions we could throw at her (my favorite was, “So, if you go down on him, and then kiss him, and then he goes down on you, can you get pregnant?”). The frankness of our discussions and the knowledge it gave protected me, helping me make smart decisions about sex, birth control, and sexuality – but best of all, it gave me a confidence in myself and my decisions related to sex that I would not have had otherwise.
It saddens me that in today’s abstinence only sex education era, young girls are not getting the benefit of that same frankness. Because starting in 1997, federal funding (and much state and local funding) began demanding that sex education courses promote sexual abstinence as the only way to avoid disease, teen pregnancy, and other issues related to teens having sex. Of course, it is true that abstinence prevents disease transmission and pregnancy; however, it sadly overlooks a core truth about teenagers: they still engage in sexual activity.Continued on the next page