05 July 2010

On Sex Education

Enforced by the government, a great many teachers have to exchange roles with parents and impart sexual knowledge to the young. However, sex education not only reveals the government's underestimation of their physical maturity, but also renders the teachers' sexual knowledge insufficient, hence making them more liable to embarrassment. This situation invites us to the idea that perhaps the age-old ethical question "Should one have sex?" is no longer appealing to the young. In the modern era, the sexual openness of the young has enforced an atmosphere not of whether when one should have sex but rather, what brands of lubricants might enhance one's most pleasurable gratification or how long one has to endure in a romantic relationship in order to legitimately enter a sexual relationship.

But what could account for such openness? Other than the "culture" of haste and the excessive sexual suppression, what element has been at play? If sexual openness has become a necessity, it is perhaps because there lies a tendency for the young to think of sex as automatic assurance of intimacy. Skimming over the sex section of an online forum, some of the questions that have been frequently asked are whether how one can lure his girlfriend into bed and the more problematic one that why one is still denied the opportunity to rightfully explore the realm of complete privacy after being in a relationship for two weeks. The common ground of these difficult questions suggest that there is a problem without sex in a relationship and that the length of time to endure before one can make allowance for access to one's private sphere implies a significant romantic obstacle. Which ultimately suggests that intimacy can only be acknowledged by means of sex.

If the young anchor the notion of intimacy to sex, it is because they are often in muddle of the distinction between physical intimacy and psychological intimacy. What makes physical intimacy different from psychological intimacy is that the former is predominantly founded on the art of seduction. Rather than revealing one's character as a whole, the art of seduction lies only a need to reveal version of oneself one wishes to side with because it is founded on the display of one's finest qualities. Psychological intimacy, on the contrary, risks inspiring one's unfavourable judgement on his partner because love is about communication and understanding. Understanding involves not only with one's finest qualities, but also with one's vulnerabilities which one at times may be too ashamed of revealing. Therefore, while physical intimacy is based on revealing what is most attractive, psychological intimacy may involve with picking one's nose before one's beloved which must be considered in a complex, paradoxical light.

The young have hence mistakenly forged an inevitable connection between sex and love, thinking of sex as catalyst for longer conversations on more profound topics which consequently initiates an exactly opposite scenario. The relationship between sex and love has a need to be revised. The tendency of confusing sex with intimacy not only fools them into thinking that they have understood each other after a night in bed, but the danger lies in thinking sex as love. It destroys the clarity of love and sex and fails to attach a proper boundary between the two, prompting the young to make false additions to an already muddied picture. In the adult world where grand enquiries of love may often be easily avoided owing to the confusion of its nature, how one might suppose a twelve-year-old having the ability to accurately separate the the desired and the loved without guidance.

Though the question "Should one have sex?" is no longer appealing, perhaps we can revive its contemplative value by adding a "how" before the question. The question "How should one have sex?" not only preserves one's natural right to have sex, but also suggests that there is an art involving how one should do it. The young have often assumed their inborn ability to have sex, but if that is the case, why do bookstores carry countless versions of "Kama Sutra" to advise on positions to enhance our orgasmic appreciation? In the technological civilisation of ours, we are living in the era where one can legitimately skip the introduction of porn stars and scenes of foreplay in a pornographic video to the scene of what might be considered the most sexually arousing. How one can easily conclude that sex does not have to be taught?

But what is far more important is that sex education should not limit itself to its practical side, but rather, it should pay more attention to its psychological implications because we no longer have the need to submit our thinking to the traditionally dualistic separation of the mind and the body. What seems to be most intimate to the body might turn out to be intimate to the mind as well. Therefore, sex education is directly linked to the education of feelings. With the inability to distinguish sex from intimacy, there is a need to ensure one's desire should be well-directed so as to avoid confusing the yearnings of the body with the yearnings of the soul. Which leads to further investigation into sex, rather than just enquiring how one should have sex, perhaps it is equally appropriate to ask when, where, or even why one should have sex.

Sex education in Hong Kong is a failure not merely because of its limit on practical realm, but also the frame of mind when we approach the notion of sex. If sex education is to exert influence upon the young, it may include its deep psychological influence as well as a new attitude to see it in a proper perspective. In the days where the young change their partners as often as they change underwears, perhaps one should be taught to see the difference between one night stand and a stable relationship.


1 comment:

  1. I don’t think it’s a good idea to make one wonder about the mindset of the youth or children who advocates sex education by using explicitly materials.


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