”Let’s Talk about Sex” for a Change
On receipt of the invitation, “Let’s talk about sex,” people react in a variety of ways. Some eagerly agree to the discussion and others groan, feeling “Do we have to?” or “Again?” Count me in that second group. It seems that, in America, sex is the only thing people want to talk about. Nudity and sexual acts are common ingredients in films, television shows that don’t feature people having sex make up for it with innuendo, advertising is sexually charged, pornography is big business, and everyone seems to want to know who’s doing “it” with whom.
Docurama Films releases James Houston’s film, ”Let’s Talk about Sex”, on DVD April 12. It’s a somewhat humorous but serious look at “how American attitudes toward adolescent sexuality impact today’s teenagers.” Americans seem to think that some teenagers do engage in sexual activities but none that they know, and they don’t want to talk about it anyway. Perhaps it’s because we like being number one—after all, we lead industrialized nations with the highest teenage pregnancy rate. One-third of high school girls will become pregnant (or have already given birth).
In America we think that sex is good for a lot of things (like selling stuff), but if we talk about it, it will encourage our virginal young people to experiment. We like to ignore the statistics: 95% of those getting married are not virgins; 70% of high-schoolers are sexually experienced. Some of us even believe that if we talk about not having sex, kids won’t be “tempted” to try it. In ”Let’s Talk about Sex”, two girls who had taken the virginity pledge talk about friends who were having sex after the ceremony.
The film emphasizes that the way we choose to discuss sex with our kids often cloaks it with negative connotation and discourages further conversation on the subject. Every day—while we’re not talking to our kids about sex—2400 are getting pregnant, 10,000 are catching sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and 55 are infected with HIV. ”Let’s Talk about Sex” compares American and European attitudes and practices, and focuses on Oregon, where Western European lessons are helping create practical solutions. It combines interviews with teachers, clergymen, teens and parents, animation, and vintage material to examine the American teen pregnancy crisis. It also teaches us how to talk about sex—not the in-your-face sex of media and entertainment, but sex within relationships. Sadly too much sex education is based on the biological facts and does not focus on emotional and societal factors.Continued on the next page