I wrote ‘Sex and the Citadel’ last night to highlight some of complex cultural contexts around sex. https://bikesforfish.com/2014/01/24/sex-and-the-citadel/
I grew up without any direct influence of religious ideas. I say direct because they are ‘out there’ but as part of my daily life not so much in a traditional sense. There can be much handwringing over morals and values, where these come from and who should be teaching them. Some argue the securlarisation of our society has had a vampire effect on our concept of decency and morality. I’m a bit ‘meh’ about that as an idea. I treat others with respect and ‘how I want to be treated’ not out of some fear of an omnipresent vengeful god or threat of eternity in hell, but because it ‘feels right’. I also respect individuality and if religious beliefs work for people as a grounding I salute that and honour that – that is how respect works – isn’t it?
Back to sex then, or more accurately young people and sex (insert ‘pregnant’ pause). Todays New Zealand Herald leads with this “We weren’t violent so it wasn’t rape, insist jailed abusers of girl” – http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11191761
Rape is always violence – full stop. I could say a lot more in relation to this article, so will try and throw an alternative perspective on consent as I feel others like Nicola Gavey are better qualified to comment and her research is out there.
If I was still involved in Health Education – I might be bracing myself for some messianic mission to ‘fix this problem’. The debate will roll out (as it did with Roast Busters in 2013) regarding the role of parents and schools in teaching morals, values, ethics in relation to sex and consent. That isn’t what actually concerns me.
Its important to try and minimise harm in any situation. Sexual experiences are diverse and our sense of own sexuality is something that doesn’t begin and end in our teenage years. Figuring this out can be a bit ‘hit and miss’. We still need a place for the ‘awkward’ sexual experience and it not be couched in the absolutes of consensual or non-consensual. The role of alcohol in de-inhibiting is well known, adults use it all the time. So we need to stop preaching to young people and start looking at our own behaviour and fears first, how did we navigate them? Lets also talk more about our use of alcohol as a society. Medicating ourselves to experience intimacy seems a little oxymoronic.
Young men and women need more credit as well. Many are engaged in very respectful and healthy relationships. Lets not forget that – in fact lets talk more with these young people!