Sex ed and driver’s ed.

One thing that really grinds my gears is the way adolescent sexuality is framed by “progressives”.  The old saw is, “Well, we can’t stop teenagers from having sex, so we’d better educate them about it.”  The assumption is that if we could shut down adolescent sexuality, then of course that’s what we’d do.  It’s just a pity we can’t.

What if we approached driver’s ed like this?  Instead of looking at driving as an exciting part of growing up, we’d say, “Well, teenagers are going to drive whether we like it or not.”  Imagine a bunch of adults with control-freak personalities pontificating about what an awesome responsibility driving was, and making a big to-do about whether this or that teenager was “ready” to start driving.  We’d tell teenagers that every time they drove, they risked being killed, disfigured, or paralyzed for life, “but here are some things you can do to make it safer, if you insist on doing it.”  Imagine if the bad-ass teenagers were the ones who drove, and the “good kids” were tacitly discouraged from driving.

As it happens, I learned how to drive in high school and became pretty good at it.  But I never had any kind of sexual relationship in high school.  I was one of the “good kids”.  The result?  In my twenties, I was a competent driver, perfectly comfortable behind the wheel.  But sexually, I was awkward, uncomfortable, and inept in the (relatively few) experiences I had with women.  So I’m irritated at the neurotic version of sexuality we keep pushing on teenagers.  For me, a sexual relationship as a teen would have been emotionally healing, a way to grow interpersonally, develop emotional maturity, and frankly, would have been a hell of a lot of fun.  Yet I kept getting the message that “good” kids didn’t do that.  What a waste. 

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