Who Says Talking About Sex is Taboo?

English 150G

Persuasive Paper Final Draft

December 12th, 2003

Have you ever seen the 1999 movie American Pie? If so, you would remember the infamous talk between Jim Levinstein (Jason Biggs) and his father (Eugene Levy). Jim’s father stumbles and stutters his way through the “safe sex” talk and Jim tries his hardest to mentally shut out his father’s ramblings. Maybe some of us can relate to this sort of situation. I know I was attempting the defense mechanism of disassociation when my mother sat me down to give me The Talk. However, that talk can mean the difference between making the right choices and making ones that could possibly lead one to the grave.

The Sex Talk isn’t always fun, but it is necessary for responsible sexual growth.

If a young adult does not learn the basics of safe sex from his parents, who is he supposed to turn to? His friends? The media? Many kids are forced to learn their sexual lessons from movies, books, magazines, television, music, etc. But as we all know, these sources are sometimes lacking in morality as well as intelligence. How many movies have you seen where during the steamy love scene, the male actor suddenly stops and takes the time to put a condom on? Or how many songs have you heard about condom use instead of random quickie hook-ups? There are a few, but not many.

For example, in the 1995 movie Kids, a 16-year-old named Telly (Leo Fitzpatrick) strolls around Manhattan looking for young virgins. After sweet-talking them and finally getting them into bed, he leaves these 12 and 13-year-olds to look for his next sexual partner. The climax of the movie is when the viewers find out Telly carries the HIV/AIDS virus. Not once does he use a condom.

Larry Clark\'s controversial film about New York City adolescents walking the AIDS tightrope is also an unblinking look at the dehumanizing rituals of growing up.

According to a 2001 study from the Kaiser Family Foundation, entitled “Sex on TV,” three out of four prime time shows contain sexual references. “Situation comedies top the list: 84 per cent contain sexual content. Of the shows with sexual content, only one in ten included references to safe sex, or the possible risks or responsibilities of sex. In shows that portrayed teens in sexual situations, only 17 per cent contained messages about safe and responsible sex” (Television’s Impact on Kids, 2).

Studies show that “the average teenager listens to approximately 40 hours of music in a given week” (Short, Rosenthal, 1). One is to assume that somewhere in the mix a child is going to hear something derogatory or objectionable about sex, as it has become the norm in today’s society. However, there is hardly if never a reference to condom use or safe sex.

This is what young people are being exposed to virtually every time they watch a movie, listen to a song, or open a magazine. And it’s all because parents are too afraid, too busy, or too unaware to speak to their children about safe sex. A study from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy shows that, “despite what some parents may think, their influence on their teen\'s behavior is still more powerful than the influence of peers or media” (Parent Power, 1). However, only one in three high school seniors claims that they’ve talked with their parents about this issue.

The statistics supporting parental conversations about sex are overwhelming

In another study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, virtually “half of the 15- to 17-year-olds surveyed reported that they have never talked with their parents about sexual decision making.” They also hadn\'t discussed safe sex issues like HIV/AIDS, STDs, and birth control. “Only 11 percent of the sexually active teens in the survey said they discussed sex with their parents before having sex; 28 percent discussed sex with their parents after having sex.” Experts say that “teens who talk to their parents about sex are more likely to wait longer before having sex and to use methods of protection when they decide to have it” (Parent Power, 2).

Laura is a 20-year-old student attending Creighton University. In an interview I conducted with her about safe sex, she said, “not only did