According to the federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 40% of high school students have had sexual intercourse. FORTY. Yet sex education is required in only 24 states in the US and many parents delay or gloss over in-home education. If your version of “the talk” can be summed up by “Just don’t have sex, ok?” then we need to talk.
When you and I were growing up, information was not readily available and that in its self provided for some level of censoring. Basically, our parents had it easier. Our kids on the other hand are extremely enabled by the media and the internet to do their own research and come to their own conclusions. The average age that kids today are exposed to porn, either intentionally or not, is 11. If we fail to equip our girls with a healthy sense of self and beauty, one that nullifies that extremely commercial and inauthentic version that they take in from popular culture, we open them up to unsafe exploration and weak sexual boundaries. It is unacceptable that 10 percent of high school girls say they have been forced to have sex.
This Q&A with Peggy Orenstein about her research and the resulting book, Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape explores this conversation further.