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annelily.JPGDid you know October is Family Sex Education Month? If you ever pay attention to statistics, you?ll�occasionally read things like "70% of all teens have engaged in oral sex by the time they're nineteen."��I was once a sexually active teen (ok, that was back in the Seventies), so this doesn't come as much of a surprise. But in the US, our inability to institute any kind of useful sex education prompted me to write a piece called the�Teen Sexual Bill of Rights for my book, The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex. It was born out of my own experience as a promiscuous Catholic girl who could have used a great web site, a sex book, or even a patient and wise adult.�So I'm excerpting some of�it here in the spirit of the CSNY song ?teach your children well!?�Parents, start young,�so when�your kids�do become sexually active teens and young adults, they?ll be responsible, healthy, and happy. (And if you are curious, that is me, with my future teen, above.)
  1. Teens have the right to appreciate their own and each other?s bodiesBoth boys and girls deserve access to information about sexual anatomy, along with accurate visual representations. Without it, kids grow up thinking their genitals are misshapen, deformed, or just plain ugly. Genital cosmetic surgery would go away because we'd all be happy with what we were born with!
  2. Teens have the right to know how things workTeaching girls and boys about the clitoris as a source of pleasure would be right at the top of this anatomy lesson. Learning about your own sexual response through masturbation would become a rite of passage, not a source of embarrassment.
  3. Teens have the right to know that sex is about pleasureThe bulk of what kids learn is about unwanted touch, danger, and disease. Let?s take a more balanced approach, teaching teens about sexual responsibility while also explaining that sexual desire and passion are natural and healthy.
  4. Teens have the right to know that sex is more than intercourseAnyone who has had an "?is that all?" moment after fucking, or who's explored the pleasure potential of all their erogenous zones knows there?s a whole lot more to sex than intercourse.
  5. Teens have the right to realistic expectationsYou know this one?two people with perfect bodies fall madly in love and have fantastic simultaneous multiple orgasms?all without ever mussing their hair. That?s how it is in the movies, that?s what advertising would have us believe (sexy babes selling cars), and that?s definitely what porn magazines promote. But teens should also know that sex is messy, awkward, embarrassing, sometimes painful, and?that you can have great sex no matter what you look like!
  6. Teens have the right to make responsible choicesWhat you don?t know can hurt you, and teens who are not given full access to the tools and information to make their own decisions about sexual health are being abandoned to a game of� roulette by the very adults who are hoping to ?protect? them. Give them the info so they can be prepared! You can use a site like Planned Parenthood to help you learn how to talk to kids, or steer them to a great teen site like Scarleteen or Sex, Etc.
  7. Teens have the right to sexual equalityThis double standard just won?t go away: promiscuous boys are admired by their peers, promiscuous girls are seen as slutty. Boys should play the field, girls should wait till they are married. Let?s foster self esteem in girls from an early age, and let?s teach both sexes how to respect their partners.
  8. Teens have the right to sexual diversityHigh schools are notoriously unforgiving places to be ?differerent? and teens who want to explore same sex intimacies can be ostracized. Let?s try this approach: It doesn?t matter who you love, just that you love and are well-loved in return. Thanks to the web, gay teens can find more community in places like Planet Out Teen.
  9. Teens have the right to consentEvery person deserves freedom from sexual abuse and coercion. If we raise our kids with self-respect, encourage critical thinking, and provide accurate sex information, they?ll be less vulnerable to sexual coercion, whether from a stranger, a family member or a date. Take care of those who have been the victims of sexual assault, and consider a gift of The Survivor's Guide to Sex.
  10. Teens have the right to resourcesEven adults with the best intentions may not get the opportunity to talk to their own kids, after all parents are sometimes the last people kids want to talk to about sex. So make books, web sites, or kindly aunts or uncles available to answer your kids? questions!
Here are some great resourcesGreat WEb sites for teensScarleteenSex, etc.TeenwireCoalition for Positive Sexuality�Resources for ParentsTalking to teen about sexPlanned Parenthood tips on talking to kids about sexSex Ed as It Should Be�Good booksGood Vibrations Guide to Sex (my book--you can read a longer version of the rights above)It's Perfectly Normal cartoon illustrated book for pre-teensChanging Bodies, Changing Lives in the tradition of Our Bodies, Ourselvescarleteen or Sex, Etc.
  • Teens have the right to sexual equalityThis double standard just won?t go away: promiscuous boys are admired by their peers, promiscuous girls are seen as slutty. Boys should play the field, girls should wait till they are married. Let?s foster self esteem in girls from an early age, and let?s teach both sexes how to respect their partners.
  • Teens have the right to sexual diversityHigh schools are notoriously unforgiving places to be ?differerent? and teens who want to explore same sex intimacies can be ostracized. Let?s try this approach: It doesn?t matter who you love, just that you love and are well-loved in return. Thanks to the web, gay teens can find more community in places like Planet Out Teen.
  • Teens have the right to consentEvery person deserves freedom from sexual abuse and coercion. If we raise our kids with self-respect, encourage critical thinking, and provide accurate sex information, they?ll be less vulnerable to sexual coercion, whether from a stranger, a family member or a date. Take care of those who have been the victims of sexual assault, and consider a gift of The Survivor's Guide to Sex.
  • Teens have the right to resourcesEven adults with the best intentions may not get the opportunity to talk to their own kids, after all parents are sometimes the last people kids want to talk to about sex. So make books, web sites, or kindly aunts or uncles available to answer your kids? questions!
  • Here are some great resourcesGreat WEb sites for teensScarleteenSex, etc.TeenwireCoalition for Positive Sexuality�Resources for ParentsTalking to teen about sexPlanned Parenthood tips on talking to kids about sexSex Ed as It Should Be�Good booksGood Vibrations Guide to Sex (my book--you can read a longer version of the rights above)It's Perfectly Normal cartoon illustrated book for pre-teensChanging Bodies, Changing Lives in the tradition of Our Bodies, Ourselves