Topics covered in this month’s installment of Sex in the News:
- James Franco’s Kink.com documentary
- The truth about Bert and Ernie’s sexual orientation
- NYC’s new sex education mandates
First of all, I would like to start off with the fact that James Franco is doing a documentary on one of my favorite things ever – the amazing porn over at Kink.com. In case you’ve been under a rock for the last fifteen years, Kink.com is a California-based pornography company that runs a whole slew of websites dedicated to BDSM and fetishism. If you were indeed under a rock, then you probably don’t know about James Franco either. Mr. Franco is an actor, director, screenwriter, producer, author, painter, performance artist, and college professor, among many other things. (For example, he’s also incredibly sexy.) But enough about how awesome he is…back to the point. Kink.com documentary, a.k.a. Just one more reason why James Franco is freaking amazing. When does it come out? I don’t know, but I wish I did. I will be first in line to see it.
P.S. James, if you’re reading this…we’re clearly meant to be together.
In other news…
It’s official. I know you’ve been wondering for a long, long time, but the truth is finally out. Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie are NOT gay. After New York became the sixth state to legalize gay marriage this past June, a petition was started, suggesting that Bert and Ernie tie the knot on screen. In response to over 3,000 signatures, the Sesame Street folks have finally spoken up:
“Bert and Ernie are best friends. They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves. Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.”
There you go. They’re gendered, anthropomorphic puppets that are entirely asexual. Seems counter-intuitive to me, but…I digress.
Moving on to something more serious.
New York City schools will now be providing mandatory, comprehensive sex education. I can hardly put into words how exciting this is. Let’s hope that the changes soon become state-wide. Similar legislation is pending in my home state of Illinois.
The new system in NYC dictates that students will be taught a semester of sex ed at the beginning of both their middle school and their high school careers. Unfortunately, parents who are “uncomfortable” (read: completely moronic) can opt out of their children’s participation in the lessons on contraceptives, but thankfully will not be allowed to opt out of the portions that discuss anatomy, puberty, pregnancy, and STDs. Because NOT teaching your kids about condoms and birth control pills will definitely keep them safe. Right? Ugh…Even so, this is a small step in the right direction.
I want to be a sex educator, but I will not be part of the current, abstinence-only system that says…”Condoms don’t work.” “Gay people don’t exist.” “Loving, intimate interaction can only happen within the context of heterosexual marriage.” I have my own vision for what sex education should be and I intend to fight to make it happen. Sex education should include parents. Before the courses begin for the students, parents should be prepared by the educator for questions that may arise from their children, especially if they choose to opt out.
For students…Sex education should include information about both abstinence and contraceptives. Sex education should address masturbation, as well as discussing partnered alternatives to sexual intercourse, such as safe oral and manual stimulation. Sex education should cover information about both female and male pleasure and intimacy, rather than a focus on male orgasm as a means of reproduction. Sex education should empower males, as well as females, to turn down sexual activity that they may not be ready for, despite society’s insistence that young men must be insatiable sex machines and young women must be nervous, hesitant recipients. Sex education should openly address the importance of gaining clear consent, as well as the horrors of rape. Sex education should include children and teens of all orientations, touching on queer and gender issues, as well as straight ones.
I could go on. But for now, let’s consider he fact that there are currently only 26 of our 50 states that mandate sex education, on a basic level. Of those 26, only 19 of them require any mention of contraceptives, focusing instead on abstinence-only. I hope that these numbers continue to rise and that more and more states jump on board with educating our youth on how to keep themselves and their partners safe and healthy. I hope that by the time I graduate in three years, I have my work cut out for me.
Or, yaknow. Take a field trip and play a game of “Count the Pregnant Teenagers” during passing period at your local high school.