• Tue, Mar 6 2012

Bullish Life: Let’s Just All Agree on Some Basic Principles of Sexual Ethics

wingman coors

Jennifer Dziura writes life coaching advice weekly here on TheGloss, and career coaching advice Fridays on TheGrindstone.

I have this fantasy wherein I am a sex educator who goes around to high schools.

Not the condom-on-a-banana kind of sex educator (although the kids need that, too). No, I go around teaching a sexual ethics class that, amazingly, liberal parents, Orthodox parents, Muslim parents, and everyone else is fine with.

How would that be possible?

Well, anytime you want to get a group of disparate people to agree on something, start with basic principles. Israelis and Palestinians? Hummus is tasty! Pro-choice and pro-life people? It is totally wrong for the government of China to force women to have abortions they do not want. I want to set up a table at some kind of abortion-related protest, show photos of sad Chinese women with lots of bruises, and just watch as both sides are like, “Um, that is awful.” And then I’d refuse to reveal what “side” I was on. (I’d have pre-French-braided my hair all Utah-compound style, just to throw people off.)

So, back to sex ed. I feel like even good liberal parents, the ones who give their kids all the facts well before they could ever need them, are sometimes at a loss for what else to add. Like, “But you probably shouldn’t have sex at all.” Or, “But you should wait as long as possible,” or “Have fun and tell me if you need health care!” Or, probably, nothing at all.

Even the parents who are preaching abstinence are sometimes aware that, “God says no” isn’t that convincing to their kids, and that even with all the information about pregnancy and diseases, obviously pretty much everybody in the world around them is fucking anyway, much the same way we all still drive on the highway even though it’s a “high-risk behavior.”

So, how come nobody ever just tells all the teenagers:

“If you start having sex, there is a significant chance you will become so preoccupied with it that it’ll be hard to keep your grades up and get into a good college.”

Also:

“Sex can result in a wide range of emotional responses: happiness, detachment, regret, vulnerability, gloating, etc. It’s possible that, if two people have sex, their responses to it will be different and that this will feel terrible for at least one of them. Discuss.”

We can all get behind that, right? Those are some pretty basic ideas that I feel like hardly anyone ever says out loud, especially to young people.

So, let’s talk about adults, and also that Coors Light beer coaster thing I picked up in a bar because it was appalling.

Here, I think, are some basic principles of sexual ethics I hope we can all get behind.

(By the way, before BrosWhoWishWomenWouldShutUp.com links here and bombs the comments, I’ll throw out there that I am in a serious relationship and everything is great, thanks. This column is not an act of revenge against anyone; if I wanted revenge, I would not obtain it via passive-aggressive acts of blogging. I’m not sure how I would obtain it, but I would consult the Victorians for some excellent ideas on machinations and dueling.)

Share This Post:
  • Eve

    I was going to say -clapclapclap- but then realized that it might be taken the wrong way in the context of an article about sex. So, -applause!-

    • Lindsey

      This comment is the best.

  • Jamie Peck

    I love this! So true about the Coors Light, too. My life has improved a hundred fold since I started drinking good Hefeweizens and boning responsibly. :)

  • James Printer

    Sex before marriage should be illegal

    • Well

      Hello. You must be new to Earth and how it works.

  • Jeff Dubrule

    Perhaps the protagonist(s) of this so-long-its-basically-a-musical-troll song would benefit from reading this article:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZK-FRac7m58

  • Casey

    I actually googled to see if BrosWhoWishWomenWouldShutUp.com was actually a website, thank goodness it’s not.

    But speaking of awesome sex educators, this awesome dude was mine: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/20/magazine/teaching-good-sex.html?pagewanted=all

    • Jennifer Dziura

      This was great! I endorse this article! And your sex ed teacher.

  • MR

    Yeah, connection is important. It makes the sex so much better. I did have a lot of nonconnection related sex when I was just starting out in my midteens. But also I found later, sometimes there are people who just want to have sex without a connection. So I guess it depends on what your gig is.

  • S.

    Brilliant. Thank you. And, if I’m ever teaching high schoolers, I definitely want you to come speak with them. Why are so many things (like throwing out common decency) “okay” if you’re a dude and you’re horny? Whatever. Thank you for clearing that up.

  • Natasha

    I am seriously taking notes on this-these are the things I want to say to my kids when their (shudder) hormones start raging. I wish my mother would have said these to me, instead of ‘sex before marriage is a sin and you will burn in hell’
    Yep.

  • Siylii

    I just wanted to say that, although I don’t always love The Gloss, this is one of the best-written online anythings I’ve ever read.

  • Somnilee

    We actually share a dream here, for a long, long time I’ve wanted to be a sex educator working with young people. My university takes part in a programmed called Sexpression which sends students into local secondary schools to spread the message about safe sex and everything else – unfortunately I keep missing the training sessions due to other commitments.
    My parents never gave me any advice (my Aunt even taunts me with a book called “Love & Sex, what you NEED to know” which is basically two hundred pages of “If you have sex before marriage your life will be ruined FOREVER”), but I somehow turned out very grounded and I appreciate this article giving me some more ideas.

  • Elyse

    This advice is fucking brilliant and useful for all age groups- even the 35-45 year olds I date. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Also, I don’t really read The Gloss anymore, but I always come back to read your articles, Jen. Your ability to consistently kick so much ass is admirable indeed.

    • kit

      Well I fucking love the gloss and its merry band of weirdo editors, but Ms. Dz is one of the main reasons.