Sex Education

Posted: May 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

The UK MP Nadine Dorries, who is many people’s bete noir, especially liberal people, has just had the first stage of a Private Members’ Bill passed in parliament, which would make it law to promote ‘abstinence’ sex education to girls at secondary school. The bill has practically no chance of being passed. But its attempts to get onto the statute books have caused a bit of a stir in -liberal-England.

The best commentary I have read on the subject is by the excellent blogger Heresy Corner. He points out the similarities between Dorries’ ‘anti-sex’ ‘victimised girls/women’ narrative and that of mainstream feminists. He also pointed out that ‘abstinence’ may not be such a bad thing for most teenagers, when they have plenty on their plates at school, in families, with friends, etc.

http://heresycorner.blogspot.com/2011/05/boys-girls-and-nadine-dorries.html

A more expected, pro-sex education, pro-sex, anti-Dorries account by Sarah Ditum can be found at The Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/may/05/nadine-dorries-abstinence-bill-girls-sex#start-of-comments

Ditum’s article annoyed me in the way it was trying to earn ‘points’ for criticising Dorries for only focussing on girls, as potential victims of predatory boys, but when Ditum did talk about boys sexualities, she referred to ‘boys who have sex with boys’ only in the context of them being ‘more at risk’ of contracting HIV than other groups/combinations of teenagers having sex! I found this heteronormative and actually wrong. HIV is most likely to be contracted by sharing needles and also by an infected person giving birth. But in terms of sex, unprotected sex is the most risky kind, and anal sex does have some added risks, but ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ can both do that!

Ditum also was seeming to push the idea that there is a ‘healthy’ way to do sex in general. In the cif comments thread she said that young people should be encouraged to have sex when they are ‘physically and emotionally mature’ enough. Which, for some people, may be never! I don’t think sex is about being ‘healthy’, beyond taking a responsible attitude to contraception and STIs. The main thing I have learned about sex, is, it is generally pretty fucked up. As pastimes go.

So I think Ms Ditum needs to go back and take some sex education classes. Hopefully Nadine won’t be teaching them, though.

Comments
  1. elissa says:

    Reverse supply side sexual economics. Erect boner barriers on the supply side and you choke off demand. And it all can be achieved with a $10 dollar Promise ring. It’s Godly genius., less the genius part.

  2. redpesto says:

    I didn’t quite have the heart to point this out at any of the Guardian articles on the subject, even where (e.g. Jane Martinson at the ‘Women’s Blog’) it’s obvious that Dorries is using exactly the same moral panic about ‘sexualisation’ and porn as the likes of Object. Maybe I’ll bide my time until Dorries goes directly for the sex industry and watch as mainstream feminism tries to free itself from that particular tar-baby.

    • that’s a car crash I’d like to see, redpesto!

      • elflojo84 says:

        It’s inevitable at some point, but I doubt we’ll learn anything from it, and I doubt it will make any difference to the cause or support base. Graun-fem is incredibly adept at double-think, they’ll find a way to simultaneously believe the exact same things while passionately asserting how different they are, one way or another. Or they’ll ignore it. Or they’ll deny it. Or they’ll invent ludicrous insubstantiated opinions fro the other side which apparently undermine their anti-sex beliefs. Whatever, they’ll find a way, and within ten years whatever easily falsifiable bullshit they’ve come up with will be “common knowledge” and used to form policy.

  3. elflojo84 says:

    What always anoys me about these discussions of sex education is that they never allow fro sex outside a relationship. Society has come a long way in terms of accepting sex outside marriage is OK, but contrary to how things work in the real world, the political and media approach still assumes a “relationship” in the conventional sense. I’m not saying we should be encouraging one-night stands, but we should accept them as part of the full gamut of sexual experience and we should accept that they can be a great part of anyone’s sex life.

    • agreed elflojo84. also the favouringof the ‘relationship’ is heteronormative as e.g. many gay/bi men don’t have ‘relationships’ in the same way a lot of heteros do. also what about e.g. sex workers? they have sex too.

  4. redpesto says:

    Heresy Corner’s follow up post calls out the overlap between Dorries and anti-porn feminism Attempts to dismiss her for having the ‘wrong’ reasons to object to porn and lad mags aren’t really going to cut it: this is really an argument about sexual behaviour and practices, not gender (there’s nothing inherently ‘feminist’ about being non-monogamous to resist sexually conservative ideas of virginity/monogamy…but then monogamy itself isn’t feminist either).

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