A great interview in Salon with Sinikka Elliot on her new book Not My Kid: What Parents Believe about the Sex Lives of Their Teenagers
Really highlights the poor level of discourse in the United States around teen sexuality and sexual education. This really hits a few of my buttons. Good article, well worth your time.
The default is that sex is a dangerous enterprise — and I do think it is. I don’t think parents are mistaken, because it is more dangerous in this country to have sex than it is, for example, in the Netherlands, where they have kids getting access to free contraceptives and there’s an open dialogue about it. We have a higher teen pregnancy rate than these other nations, so you can see how there’s kind of a feedback loop.
Elliot makes some really good points as to what we can do to change the level of discourse:
I think we can and should shift the discourse, but we need to start talking about the evidence there is that teens are actually being quite responsible when it comes to sex. There was research that came out a year or so ago that showed that sexually active teens were more likely to use condoms than were sexually active singles in their 50s. We can highlight those sorts of findings that suggest teens are capable of engaging in sex responsibly and that there are specific things we can do to make that more so.