Where is Sex Education Failing?
There is much said about sex education, where it is failing and what we need to do and while I do feel that this is a very complex problem, I did read something the other day that made me think about what we could be missing.
I was reading Predictably Irrational, a fantastic book that talks about all kinds of things….
In one particular chapter the author was talking about how we can never really say how we will react in certain situations. To prove the point he did an experiment. I will spare you the details, but in essence he asked a group of students a series of questions about what they would and would not do sexually. He then asked them to get aroused and during this arousal they were asked the same questions. Lets just say it involved a computer in a protective plastic sheet!
What he found was very intriguing. Things that the students said they would never do, they were open to doing while under arousal. Things they were unsure about doing, they would certainly do under arousal and people they did not find attractive before were suddenly very attractive!
He concluded that what we said we would or would not do definitely changed when we were aroused, and that drumming in the “Just Say No” message would be better replaced with helping children learn to handle extreme emotions.
So they real problem is that children, or anyone, behave differently and more irrationally when aroused. This has a lot to do with why abstinence is so unsuccessful.
So what we really need to be talking about is the emotion; how it feels to be aroused and how you may think differently, about how to handle that. While I appreciate that this is a challenge, I think we need to be truthful and honest to give them the best possible chance. Helping them deal with other emotions like anger may help them have the skills to deal with the much stronger emotion of arousal.
It is certainly something I will be talking to my children about. What about you, what do you think?