I was struck today by the discussion of comprehensive, "age appropriate" sex education in today's House Health and Human Resources Committee as the abortion resolutions were debated. I guess I've become so accustomed to the language of dancing around the issue that I'm always surprised when the phrase comes up. But it came more than a few times. What also struck me was that women were the only speakers talking about it.
Where are the men? Have we become so trapped in a certain version of masculinity that the only public posture we can take is silence or the socially conservative rhetoric on that issue? The women who spoke today were strong voices for girls. Don't men want boys growing up with good information? While there is an emerging discourse about responsible fatherhood, what about giving boys the information they need to avoid sexually transmitted diseases or not becoming a father before they're ready? It seems as if it should all go together.
Maybe we just assume that guys are going to find out about sex one way or the other. Unfortunately, a lot of what they learn is not great information. A friend's "conquest" stories, overhearing what's being in said in the locker room, going to the internet, or random experimentation--that won't cut it. And neither is the 10-minute discussion with your father if your father is even around. Without good sex education, that's what we're basically leaving our boys and girls with.