Sex Myths Debunked

On Thursday, April 16, seniors Becca Gildner and Ilana Cooper held a brown bag lunch at the Center for Women’s Studies, the topic of which was the sexual education of today’s adolescents. The discussion explored how sexual education before college shapes and influences college students’ current sex lives. The presentation revealed that a surprising amount of students experience “STD scares” and are ignorant about how to detect an STD. Some students actually believe in false sex myths, like “ovulation is caused by female orgasms.” However, the brown bag lunch conveyed the message that it is not the students’ fault that they lack this knowledge; it is a reflection of the poor sexual education they received before college.

Gildner and Cooper began the brown bag discussion by discussing adolescents’ lack of knowledge about sex. The girls began the conversation by displaying two opposing video clips of sexual activity that are being shown to kids today. The first clip was a compilation of the greatest love scenes from acclaimed movies. The partners were affectionate, gentle and romantic. The following film was a documentary that showed the aggressive culture of sex. The majority of this “aggressive sex” was derived from vulgar and degrading free porn on the Internet.

The problem that Gildner and Cooper recognized with these two conflicting depictions is that the clips were blatantly fictitious portrayals of sex. Females are frequently shown in romantic movies having out-of-this world orgasms solely from vaginal penetration. Gildner and Cooper explained that these movies make men think that vaginal sex always gives females orgasms. Since they are not receiving pleasure from that form of sex, this causes women to feel paranoid that they have abnormal bodies. Therefore, an unfortunate consequence arises…faking female orgasms.

Similarly, free porn from the Internet also gives an inaccurate display of sex. It causes self-confidence issues when comparing an average body to the abnormal, yet somehow “perfect-looking,” bodies shown in porn. Some females actually get vaginal reconstruction to mimic the images they see in porn. These illustrations of sex do not seem bizarre to sexually active adolescents because of the deficient sexual education programs in current school systems.

Typically, sex-ed students are shown only one standard image of the vagina. Gildner and Cooper claimed that this may lead to self-confidence issues since not every girl looks like the same. Also, important sexual stimulators, like the clitoris and the G-spot, are left unmentioned.

A popular form of sexual education is the use of “scare tactics.” Conservative approaches tend to give biased education by attempting to scare students away from sex. In doing so, they only promote abstinence, show pictures of STDs and expose frightening videos of women giving birth. The most surprising scare tactic mentioned was forcing students to vow to virginity pledges. This delayed the onset of sexual activity for about eighteen months, but after they started having sex, these same students were less likely to use protection and more likely to receive an STD.

The participants came to an overall agreement during the group discussion section of the presentation: in order for students to get the real deal on sex, they need to know the good things about sex, not just the “consequences.” The students agreed that kids are going to have sex despite any teaching approach that discourages it, and consequently they must acknowledge that it will happen and implement a more realistic sexual education program. Students need to learn the emotional sides of sex, the role of sex in their lives and society and gender-specific concerns. The proposed solution to this problem is to create a medically accurate and age-appropriate class that includes information about both abstinence and forms of contraception.

A big question that arose during the brown bag discussion was “How can we put a halt to the ‘hook-up culture’ at Colgate?”

“This is a generational problem,” Gildner and Cooper said.

According to the duo, the solution is simple: create a human sexuality program here.

“Our parents never had such open sexuality conversations,” Gildner and Cooper said. “As we educate generations, more people will become comfortable teaching their children.”

It’s never too late to implement such a program, especially when so many kids who might be clueless about sex are sleeping around. From a survey conducted by Gildner and Cooper, 76.4 percent of Colgate students said that they would love to take a course on human sexuality here at Colgate. Gildner argued that the class should discuss “sexuality and everything it encompasses, anatomical things like what is going on when you have an orgasm and puberty, [and] gender diversity and sexual and gender identity.”

Associate Professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies Meika Loe discussed the possibility of adding such a course.

“With student interest I think that it might be possible to incorporate an annual Sex Education 101 Lecture during the first six weeks of the semester,” Loe said.

The idea of this program appealed to nearly everyone (boy or girl) at the brown bag lunch.

“We, as a society, need to put aside our personal feelings on sex and realize that we have a serious problem that we need to confront,” senior Aaron Korn said. “It’s obvious that what we are doing right now is not working. We need to change tactics and start educating kids before these issues get any worse.”

Many argue that the large turnout at the “I Heart Female Orgasm” lecture in mid-April proves that we are in need of a sex-ed program here at Colgate. Proponents for a sex-ed program at Colgate argue that if everyone knew everything we need to know about the subject, there would not have been an overly-packed house at the lecture. Loe also proposed the idea of bringing back Dorian and Marshall, the speakers at “I Heart Female Orgasm,” every September.

If students want to see change, however, they cannot be passive in the process of change.

“If students want this, they need to come together to draw up a proposal!” Loe said.