Monday, November 3, 2008

Let’s Talk About (Realistic) Sex, Baby

Today the Washington Post wrote about a study released that shows a correlation between unintended pregnancies and watching television shows that portray “flirting, necking, discussion of sex and sex scenes,” which Matt blogged about earlier. The study concludes that there isn’t necessarily a causal relationship between the two, but of course abstinence-only advocates are using this as an excuse to push their programs, which have been proven ineffective.

But what we really need to see is some more realistic scenarios involving sex, and by realistic I mean realistic. When was the last time you saw a teen pregnancy discussed on a television show? I bet it’s been even longer (or never) since you heard talk about birth control, Plan B, and other forms of contraception. It’s as if sex just magically happens and these scenes aren’t ever contextualized by conversations with parents about going on birth control or using condoms. Instead, we’re presented with Fairy Tale Sex where people just magically have sex without talking about the practical side.

It would be nice to instead see teenagers have honest conversations with one another about their options for birth control and protecting themselves against sexually transmitted diseases. Many shows shy away from this because it makes the shows “too controversial,” but what shows like Gossip Girl pride themselves on is being edgy. Wouldn’t it be just as edgy to include some realistic conversations about sex? Teenagers aren’t just going to stop having sex, no matter what goes on TV, but at least we can get the message out about sex with contraception.

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