When I was 15, an "abstinence only" educator was brought in to give a special presentation to each of the health classes in my public high school.
The grand finale of her little "don't have sex" performance was a metaphor involving tape.
Masking tape. You know, the sticky kind. Tape.
Her argument was this:
When you have sex with someone, you're bonding. You're attaching yourself to someone. But, then, if you break up, you remove that special bonding tape. And it hurts coming off. Not only that, but when you decide to have sex with another person, your tape that bonds you to that person isn't as sticky as it was before. And, with the next person, it's even less sticky. Have sex with too many people, and sex will lose its effect to increase your bond with another person.
Now, I wasn't an idiot. I knew that something was wrong with trivializing all human emotions and sexuality down to a tape metaphor. That this was a stupid idea, and that she was wasting time she could have spent actually helping us, instead of threatening us with tape.
But, you know what? I didn't say anything. No one did. I didn't tell her that she was wrong, and I should have. "Sex educators" should be just that: educators. And they shouldn't tell us about how sex is like masking tape.
It goes beyond that. I look back, and I'm only 20, about all the times I saw or heard something that, for whatever reason, didn't sit right with me. Yet, I said nothing. I knew something was off, or wrong, but it either wasn't my place, or no one else was speaking up, or it wasn't my job to say something. So I didn't.
Looking at the state of the world, I'm willing to guess that I'm not the only one who hasn't been standing up.
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Photography by Bill; March 2006.