WARNING: PG-13 content, read at your own risk. I do not claim any responsibility for scarred young souls.
This week's question: What are your thoughts on sexually-oriented educational content in print media and specifically the above article?
Now, before I start, I should be fair. I scanned, admittedly badly, this page from my recently received copy of Seventeen magazine, and please note that this is from a copy of Seventeen, which we can all assume is geared for teenagers. Still - the questions!! DO NOT READ THE REST OF THIS PARAGRAPH IF YOU DO NOT WANT YOUR INNOCENCE MARRED. I mean "Can I masturabate too much?" and "My boyfriend wants to have anal sex - he says I'll still be a virgin. Is that true?" Is that the level we have stooped too?
I commend Seventeen for tackling these questions that "we're all burning to know," but while I can appreciate some solid information about preventing unwanted pregnancies and such, I felt that these questions were so blunt and while definitely unique, perhaps not unique in a good way. If my little cousin happened to wander into my room and accidently sneak a peek at this page, I don't even want to imagine what she'll grow up wondering. And that there is my main problem: having this issue so open for anyone to see. Like I acknowledged above, I know that this is magazine is supposedly intended for older audiences (though my 11-year old sister seems to like and read it more than I do; I wonder what that says...), but intention is not the same as reality; this article could literally end up in some unsuspecting kid's hands. And from just a quick look at Seventeen's forums, I can gather that people as young as 14 read the magazine! "Sex ed" is pretty general and doesn't really warn away tweens and younger, so I would say to at least put up some warning that this will potentially scar your eyes for eternity.
On the other side, what about the parents? I know that at my middle school, our parents had to give permission before we were taught "health" education (aka labeling some genitials) and were given the option to opt their kid out of the class and into an alternative, non-sex related project. I'm aware that parents most likely have consented to and provided their credit cards for buying their children an approved magazine subscription, such as Seventeen, but I did not see anywhere in the advertisement that I would be buying some information about "anal sex." What? I know I'm going to go against the traditional teenage rebellion mind-set here by saying parents should be allowed some descretion when monitoring their child's exposure to sex. Yes, we all need to know about it, but I really don't appreciate such blunt, and to me stupid, questions. I think I would have been fine living my life without these questions.
**Just to clarify, I don't want to offend Seventeen, and I'm sorry if I did. I'm not saying you shouldn't go buy Seventeen, especially they had some great tips last issue about distinguishing between fantasy and reality in TV romances, but this article just really seemed out of the ordinary for me. I do enjoy reading Seveteen's articles occassionally; most of them are superficial, but hey! I'm a teen girl. :)
My final stance: I'm definitely not against sexual education in the form of any kind of print media, as long as there is appropriate warning of the maturity level of the material beforehand (ie. on the front page or table of contents) and it addresses the fundamental issues of birth control, STDs, etc. In fact, if anything, I'm all for it! As they say, knowledge is power. What I do not support are these articles without foremention of what I deem to be extremely brazen questions. I'm sorry, Seventeen! If this article benefitted you though, I'm glad it came to some use.
It's your turn to voice your opinions! What do you think?