Yesterday’s Los Angeles Times contained an article about Dutch families and their “enlightened” attitudes about sex. “Americans should take a lesson from the Dutch” according to the author. Apparently abstinence education has been a dismal flop in America and makes it necessary for kids to sneak around behind the backs of their “puritanical” parents and experiment with sex in the back seats of cars when it would be so much more convenient to snuggle with their partners in the security and comfort of their own beds. In the morning everyone gets to enjoy a lovely breakfast together and chat about whether the young couple was able to achieve orgasm and if they require any helpful tips from their more experienced elders. Yes, this is the kind of dialogue that goes on in the homes of these Dutch families, according to the author.
The article’s writer goes on to cite statistics that indicate that the Dutch teens have dramatically lower rates of teen pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and abortions, because everyone is so matter of fact and open about teenage sex. The parents feel that the kids are going to have sex anyway, so why not weave it into the fabric of family life and discuss it with parents as openly as what will be served for dinner that evening. No one can argue that less teenage pregnancy, STD’s and abortion are a good thing, although none of the aforementioned would be even better, but that’s a whole other topic.
Parents and the school system begin the kids’ sex education when they are around eight-years-old, but this is not the clinical kind of information that I remember getting at school when I was slightly older. The Dutch are pragmatic and certainly could not be considered prudish by any stretch of the imagination. No topic is off limits and includes discussions on the most pleasurable positions, how to arouse your partner (hopefully at least a few years down the road), alternate sexual lifestyles, deviant behavior and whatever else may tickle your fancy.
Many Dutch parents admitted that they needed a period of adjustment when the kids first started having their co-ed sleepovers, and showed up all smiles and glowiness at the breakfast table the morning after, but any discomfort was quickly dispelled as the scene became familiar and was nothing that the aroma of bacon and coffee couldn’t quell.
As a long-time Christian and mother of four grown children, my opinion of all this “sensible acceptance” of human sexuality are more complex and wordy than I intend to go into on this post. That would be taking this in a much deeper direction. The comment that caught my attention and caused me to want to write about it (albeit an abridged version) was a young Dutch girl’s response when she was asked about her first experience by her mother the morning after. “It was fun!” the young lady bubbled, the picture of contentment and self-assured maturity. No insecurity, no worry about whether the boy would stay in the picture, no body issues or the beginning of tears in the heart. Just pure, unadulterated fun.
I thought back to what was fun for me in my teen years. Riding in the back of a pick up headed to the beach was fun (I didn’t say anything about being safe), dancing at The Classic Cat Nineties to “Devil with a blue dress on” was fun. Relishing every bite of a hot fudge sundae at Bob’s Big Boy was fun, singing at the top of our lungs along with the radio on a road trip adventure was fun. Sex, at least the final act, was down the road, but even then I wouldn’t have referred to it as “fun.” Fun is eating cotton candy at the fair, and sex is not a cotton candy kind of activity. Anything that has the ability to create life, to break your heart, or mend it is a potent, powerful force.
The Dutch girl’s response was not the first time I’ve heard of sex as a fun activity, but perhaps this was just one time too many. I think some people confuse pleasure with fun, but they are not the same thing, and the other f word as relating to sex has never quite sit right with me. Respect it, cherish it, acknowledge it’s power, because it’s a force to be reckoned with. It changes everything, and a shattered heart is not fun.