- Are we truly any smarter today?
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I wonder how much of sex education is learned through television, the Internet, and movies these days? Probably more than we know. As a result, I suspect parents spend considerably less time discussing it with their children than my generation. Back in my day, sex was a subject few people openly discussed, but I'm sure they were just as preoccupied with it. Even though "Playboy" was coming into vogue, nobody discussed such things as erectile dysfunction, social diseases, or openly joked about human sexual anatomy as they do today on prime time. Bawdy jokes were told privately or in Las Vegas. Even tampon ads in magazines were considered risque. The movie "Goldfinger" broke a lot of ground in raising sexual awareness though. Everyone knew what "Pussy Galore" meant, and still chuckle about it to this day.
My father gave me "The Talk" about the birds and the bees somewhere around fifth grade and he treated it rather seriously and matter-of-factly. Prior to this, I hadn't given it much thought and was thereby surprised about the facts of life, particularly with the opposite sex. This was all reinforced a couple of years later when I was in Junior High School in Chicago. We were bused to the school on a Saturday morning, where the boys and girls were separated and listened to lectures on sex and watched an educational film. Interestingly, before the movie, the boys and girls joked around on the bus and sat together. However, on the trip home, the boys sat on one side of the bus, and the girls on the other; not a word was spoken by anyone. I presume the session had the desired effect the school administrators were looking for.
Following the class, our P.E. teachers would also provide some talks and film strips on sex education. I suspect the films were shown to the GI's in WW2 as they looked rather old and warned of the dangers of Syphilis and Gonorrhea. Afterwards, we all started to watch our scalps to make sure clumps of hair wouldn't fall out. It was also at this age when young men start wearing jock straps in gym class. There was an instance where a new kid came to our school and joined our class. In addition to the jock strap, his mother insisted he wear a condom. This really puzzled us. We all knew what the condom was for but were at a loss as to why she insisted on him wearing it in gym. Nobody sat next to him while we were changing.
During high school I played football and would naturally get quite dirty and sweaty. We all took showers afterwards and nobody thought twice about it. One of my teammates eventually became the Athletic Director at the school. When I went back to visit him years later, he gave me a tour of the old locker room where I noticed the shower room was shrunk in half. When I asked him about it, he told me nobody takes showers after a game or practice anymore as the kids have become rather "Homophobic." I just rolled my eyes and said, "Idiots."
Despite the absence of the active sexual climate in the media back then, we all got the message, be it from our parents, our school, or amongst ourselves, but I'm not sure it is like that anymore. I know of companies today where managers have to counsel young employees about their sex lives. The biggest danger seems to be they are misinformed about what they are doing, and are incredibly naive about birth control and social diseases. It seems odd a manager has to discuss such affairs with a worker but it is inevitable as many moms and dads have abdicated their parental duties in this regard. I suspect the same is true in the military where sergeants have to give advice, such as, "If you don't know what you're doing, keep it zipped."
Today we may be more sexually active in the media, but our young people appear to be ignorant of the basics when it comes to sex education, just the antithesis of my day. Now there are more sexually transmitted diseases, and we all want to be at the top of our game in sexual performance, at least that is what television tells us. I'm not sure which generation is more correctly "adjusted" to sex, but I sure loved that "Pussy Galore" gag.
First published: August 10, 2012
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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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