In the war against negativity toward sex, Jay Friedman is chocking one up to the U.S.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the U.S. is stuck in a rut, being “one of the most sex-negative, sex-repressed and sex-phobic countries in the world,” sexpert Friedman said Wednesday.
But Friedman told an audience about 50 students that the country is in for a sexual revolution with the end of the Bush administration.
“It is Orwellian where our government had been taking us,” Friedman said. He said he expects a change under the Obama administration but that abstinence-only sex education has hindered young people’s sexual development for far too long.
Friedman, a professionally certified sex educator, has taken his “sex positive” lecture to campuses all across the country and strives to break through taboos in order to help students live healthier and more pleasurable sex lives.
High levels of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S., Friedman said, are a product of the country’s traditionally abstinence-only sex education program.
He called attention to northern European countries, which are culturally much more open about sex and have significantly lower rates of teen pregnancy and venereal disease — five to six times less in some cases, he said.
Friedman is not the only expert who feels that social taboos prevent young people from getting the education that they need.
Justin Lehmiller, a human sexuality professor at CSU, agreed that more could be done to create an honest dialogue about sexual behavior.
Though social norms have changed a great deal in the last few decades, Lehmiller said, there is still a wide discrepancy in the quality of information students get about sex.
He said college students are more at risk for STDs and unwanted pregnancies due to alcohol abuse and a lack of sex education.
“I don’t think anyone is educated to the extent they should be,” said Adrianna Cabrera, a senior history major.
But while many agreed with Friedman that an open conversation about sex is needed, his performance doesn’t lack controversy.
He featured a graphic cartoon used in sex education programs in Scandinavia, which he said typically gets a reaction from audiences. The cartoon shows two teenage cartoon characters having sex and close-ups of their genitals while they masturbate.
He has received death threats for his act, and was once accused of “stimulating students into a state of erotic frenzy.”
Such controversy is no surprise to Friedman, who considers political discussion a fundamental part of his lecture.
“Prevention, pleasure and political-cultural climate” are what he considers to be the three pillars of his approach to sex education.
Staff writer Matt Minich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Of the 75 percent of CSU students surveyed who were sexually active, 53 percent of women and 41 percent of men had one sexual partner within the last school year.
-Of the 75 percent of CSU students surveyed who were sexually active, 23 percent of women and 16 percent of men used, or had a partner use, emergency contraception within the last school year.
(Courtesy of National College Health Assesment Data – Spring 2008)