Here is how it was when I was a kid. We learned about sex in school, in church, and of course, in our neighborhoods. Some kids had little comic books with hard-porn sex illustrations. I can only speak for the boys. I started to hear of sexual experiences from boys when I was in elementary school. Most of them were not true but we liked to hear them and live them vicariously.
We had little experience with girls but boys have an interest in girl’s anatomy when they are very young, barely out of kindergarten, and they will try to explore their interest perhaps asking a girl to show her private parts.
Masturbation was common, speaking only for the boys. Group masturbation or “speed” contests occurred. There were occasional homosexual acts. Some boys began having sexual intercourse when in their early teens. These were called, “bad kids.”
When I was about 12, my father took me on a 20 mile hike telling me about the birds and the bees. He mainly told me horror stories about masturbation. I really didn’t know what he was talking about. I was much more interested in the old pits used for catching black bears, the snakes, and the fact that my father knew all the wild flowers by name. The most interesting thing was his story about the bear trainer who was sparing with a black bear who took only one swing at the man. He was knocked out for several days, more like a week.
Later a doctor was brought to the church to talk to the boys about masturbation. To say the least, we all had a great interest in the subject. Again, I was one of the youngest boys and got into a fit of the giggles. So did a couple of other boys. It was all new to us!
I might add that not all boys took up masturbation, just most of them.
Some boys had wet dreams. These were often told in detail. One boy had a dream where his ROTC instructor was really a woman in disguise. That way his admiration for the instructor and his desire for sex were satisfied in one swell scoop.
Sex was “totally revealed” in junior high school and high school but not in the classroom. We were now associating with girls and we played such games as “Post Office.” We often mentioned the game “Pony Express,” which was said to be “Post Office with a little more horsing around.”
In “Spin the Bottle” or “Post Office” the reward was to go into a dark bedroom with a girl and receive a kiss. I don’t remember how the game of “Post Office” was played but I remember “Spin the Bottle,” a game we had played when we were tiny kids.
Some boys were now dating, Many of us were not.
So that is how we got our education. I remember a short morality lecture in my high school gym class, but that was it.
The fact of the matter is that we never had any in-depth sex education.
I don’t think that in nature there is a code of conduct in regard to sexuality. Other primates have their own ideas. Some are very promiscuous to prevent confrontations. Others are more discrete, the males vigorously guarding their harem. This occurs with many other animal species.
Young animals are not always safe from adult males. If a female will come into heat, or estrus, if her young are killed, the young are in grave danger. Male lions are known for this behavior. The reasoning given by those who study such critters is that they must spread their DNA quickly or lose the chance to other marauding males. I think they know nothing of such talk. They just want sex.
A Zulu chief once said that clothing led to promiscuity, not nudity. When everyone is nude, nobody has a question about the anatomy of males and females. Some male children are bathed with their mother when very young and know about her. But most children know little of the opposite sex’s anatomy.
Now days, because of television, children are exposed to nudity and sex. Actually, you can not see sex organs of a woman when she is nude. You see some pubic hair maybe, but not anything else. Television and movies until recently did not show the sex organs of men. Well, now you see that.
I suppose that hard porn leaves nothing to the imagination. That is something that I have stayed away from. Well, when I was a kid, a friend freshly home from the navy, showed me some pics he bought in the Philippians. Such images tend to stick in the mind.
Part of our problem is that we paint sex as wicked rather than as natural as scratching your nose. In some societies, teenagers are left to their whims, that is if we have not killed those societies off, they take off from the community and have sex. Fidelity comes only after marriage. Such societies simply face the facts and they don’t have our problems. Babies come and, in at least the Amazon, they come from the Man in the Moon. Nasty fellow!
Some societies think that a stranger needs food, water, warmth, shelter and sex. They are know to share their wives with guest. You must travel north to see that but is all existent in other societies. We call those “Primitive Societies.”
Some northern climes seem to promote sexual laxity.
I think that in most civilizedcommunities, sex education in schools is mandatory. Abstinence before marriage is often promoted and that works for many teenagers. The complaint here is that the emphasis may be “too much” on condoms and pregnancy prevention rather than local moral issues.
Here are my opinions for what they are worth:
Teaching in the Home
I asked my wife when she taught our children about modesty. She said when they start dressing themselves. In out society we often judge people by how they dress. We can teach our children to be modest and we can teach them about clothing and how it looks to others.
I asked her about how she taught other issues of sex to our children. She said that I taught the “hard stuff.” I told he that I couldn’t remember doing it but she said I did. It must have been during our Monday night family meetings when we taught a lesson, played games, and had refreshments. Based on that, I assume I taught the tenets of our church. So, maybe that is how you can teach your children at home. Spend on evening with them each week and teach them a lesson, have some fun, eat, and plan out the schedule for the week so everyone will know how the twins are getting to soccer practice and how Mary will get to her piano lesson.
I never taught any details of sex. We taught it belongs in marriaige and that is a binding force between couples and brings children into the home.
Teaching in Religious Organizations
If your religion has youth groups, that may be a good place to teach kids about ethics and moral conduct. Our church has the young men and young women separated most of the time. That leads to an opportunity to teaching specifics. One leader taught that the boys have a little “machine” inside them that brings on wet dreams occasionally and to leave it at that. One said that masturbation is stupid. The boys are not to masturbate but to be morally clean so they can represent the church throughout the world.
Teaching in Schools
I think sex topics should be taught early and often. In the early years, specifics of anatomy and reproduction could be taught. As children get older, they can be taught about sexually transmitted diseases such as was once taught in the military, the risks, the dangers, and prevention. The old military films showed some awful results of gonorrhea and syphilis. They showed male parts falling off and a soldier causing his wife to give birth to a blind child due to his gonorrhea. When I was in the army, the thinking was changed and replaced with morality training.
I think that sexual norms can be taught, helping students learn what is expected by them in society. Fidelity should be emphasized. Why? Because a person who is promiscuous before marriage may be apt to be unfaithful after marriage. That leads to much sorrow, legal problems, financial problems, and trauma to parents and children. This however, I understand, is not true in some parts of New Guinea. Fidelity usually works there despite premarital infidelity.
I think a lot of misunderstanding and problems between newly weds could be removed by premarital counseling. Men can be very naive about a women, her needs, her concerns, and her anatomy. I realize that with time, things will come together but it would be better if these things were taught sooner. There are still many newly weds who are not experienced in sexual matters.