Our friends at Island Morning posed the question “Should condoms be made available in Island schools?” for this morning’s regular Friday-morning phone in. Yes, this is still an open question here on PEI. Sigh.
Of course we got to hear to usual range of “having condoms easily available will only encourage them” calls from people who presumably have forgotten completely what it was like to be a teenager and thus are completely divorced from any ability to be realistic about this issue (has there ever been an example in history of a teenager sitting on the fence about sex being pushed over the edge by the ‘implicit permissiveness’ that condom machines in schools are supposed to have? — “I know you think it’s wrong, Billy, but the school board wouldn’t install condom machines in the washroom if they didn’t want us to have sex”).
In this puritanical environment, those fair-minded people who can see the upside of making condoms as freely and widely available as possible are forced to couch every argument they make inside a fog of “and of course we also encourage abstinence.” Any suggestion that if teens are going to have sex it might as well be good sex would, I imagine, be greeted with expulsion, trial for heresy, or worse.
In other words, it’s somewhat okay to admit that kids are having sex — as young as 11 or 12 years old they said this morning — and it’s somewhat okay to seek a sort of “medical intervention” in the process by providing them with condoms, but these things are only somewhat okay if it’s generally suggested that sex is still wrong.
I can only imagine that the sex that results is inevitably conducted in non-optimal conditions, tinged with guilt, shame and fear of being found out, and likely often not symmetrically consensual. What kind of introduction to sex is this?
Perhaps a more useful question for the CBC to pose would be something like “What could we be doing to give our kids a healthier introduction to sex?” The longer we waste time on issues like condom availability — issues that the much of the rest of the world has grappled with and dealt with already — the longer we allow a culture of “sex as regrettable but possibly necessary evil” to persist.