The s word

Last week, City Pages posted an advertisement for your TV debut. It comes complete with a celebrity rendezvous and a payment of $2,500. The catch is that youâÄôll have to sit down with your parents and talk about your sex life. Next week, MTV is casting in Minneapolis for its latest endeavor in the ever-churning world of pop culture: âÄúSex âĦ With Mom and Dad.âÄù With its debut, the network claimed, âÄúSex may be everywhere in American media, but that doesnâÄôt mean American families are talking about it. While most teens could learn a thing or two from talking candidly with their parents about sex … and most parents would benefit greatly from opening up about sex with their kids âÄî itâÄôs simply easier said than done.âÄù Further, âÄúIn each half-hour episode, âÄòLovelineâÄôsâÄô Sex and Relationship Expert Dr. Drew will help a teen and their parents work through their problems about sex, dating and relationships. Whatever the issue, Dr. Drew will get the family talking.âÄù Other dating shows: A half hour waltz through guided personal confessions. A camera man, shooting video of a participant shooting video of herself. Silly games. And ultimate conclusions from parents and kids saying, âÄúLittle did I know âĦâÄù The viewers, unknowing if they actually knew that little, or their TV personas were amplified from a monetary stipend and an adrenaline rush induced by their appearance on cable TV. Though Dr. Drew is careful to state these families have found just a beginning in their communication, I have to believe it takes more than a motherâÄôs intervention and three, 20-minute sessions with a board-certified internist for an 18-year-old stop bringing two girls home every weekend: even if it is Dr. Drew. Comments on MTVâÄôs website also communicate something different. In response to an episode user âÄúmwoodâÄù wrote: âÄúnicole is ****** georgous n i hope she sees this n hits me up.. damnnnnn girl dont worry wat they say …*** me up they all haterrrss!âÄù And from the female side, âÄúxCOlOMbiANflAVAâÄú wrote: âÄúshes only been wit 4 guys … thats not bad my friends 15 and has been wit over 9…:/ sad i knw…lOl but thats her ehhe.âÄù There is an obvious disaccord about the showâÄôs intent. Kids are having a good laugh about the fact that kids are telling their parents about the number of partners theyâÄôve had and commending them about seeking guidance for protection. Though its descriptors are contrived and trivially stated, MTV might have a point. People talk about sex but they donâÄôt really talk about sex. Especially not with their parents, and the integrity of that idea is commendable. The controversy between todayâÄôs teens and twenty-somethings and their parents isnâÄôt simply because the floodgates of communication havenâÄôt been opened; itâÄôs that the idea of safe sex wasnâÄôt always around. Many of our parents didnâÄôt have the âÄòbirds and the beesâÄô chat with their own parents. Besides that, the term safe sex was coined the âÄô80s as researchers and practitioners began to deal with the AIDS epidemic âÄî coincidentally when most of our parents were pregnant with us. Kids are becoming active at a younger age but havenâÄôt been taught the proper capacities with which to protect themeslves. Recent surveys show that 70 percent of U.S. teens have engaged in oral sex by the time they reach 18 and more than 45 percent have had intercourse at least once. More than 70 percent of young women and 80 percent of young men approve of premarital sex, according to a study published recently in the Review of General Psychology. In an interview for the show, Dr. Drew stated, âÄúWhat pains me and makes me uncomfortable today, is how young men and women treat each other, about the way sexuality is a kind of drug rather than an expression of intimacy.âÄù By ignoring that sex exists in our culture, opportunity to speak of sex in terms of maturity, love and mutual respect is also ignored. Ironically, the Bush administration has poured over $1 billion into programs that teach abstinence as the only method of birds and bees without disease. While abstinence is 100 percent effective, Douglas Kirkeby found in the Sexuality Research and Social Policy Journal, assessing the impact of 56 programs on adolescent sexual behavior. Comparing abstinence-only and comprehensive sex education programs, he found that most abstinence programs did not delay initiation of sex and only 3 of 9 had any significant positive effects on any sexual behavior. And, according to other U.S. researchers, such sex education programs fail to change sexual behavior in teens and provide inaccurate condom information, which also means these programs are actually withholding possible life-saving information from young people. Young women need to know what to do in case of rape; men need to know how to properly use a condom. This knowledge must be more accurately spread among young people, and providing such information is better than spreading false perceptions through youth. So maybe the editors of âÄúSex âĦ With Mom and DadâÄù poorly cut conversations and Dr. Drew wears the same clothing in multiple episodes (indicating they were filmed in lumps), and the word fornicating was used by an 18-year-old in a show. But that same 18-year-old heard her motherâÄôs most embarrassing moment in the bedroom. There is something to be said about sex. So have a sex talk, and for once, really talk. Kelsey Kudak welcomes comments at [email protected]