Thursday, November 17, 2005

What Is Wrong With The Stork?

My knee-jerk reaction to the story that many parents are teaching sex-education at age five or even earlier was that it was ludicrous - another example of liberals going too far to make a point. But after reading the whole story, I realize it isn't as crazy as it sounds.

"If you're talking about how babies are made, there's no age at which it is harmful to learn that the penis goes into the vagina," [Dr. Justin Richardson] said. "Yes, it's true that exposing a child to sexual stimulation is harmful. But telling a kid how babies are made is very different."

The general cultural environment has become so vulgar, the early-approach advocates say, that sex education has become a race: parents must reach children before other forces - from misinformed playground confidantes to pubescent-looking models posed in their skivvies - do. "We need to get there first," said Deborah M. Roffman, a sex educator and the author of "But How'd I Get in There in the First Place? Talking to Your Young Child About Sex."

If not, these advocates warn, children will gather their impressions anywhere and everywhere: from prime-time television jokes about threesomes, Internet pop-up ads for penis enlargement pills or even more explicit Web sites.

To be clear, I am not saying I buy into this mentality. I definitely don't know enough about early childhood development to form my own conclusion yet. But some of what they are talking about isn't too crazy. Teaching kids to call their sexual body parts by clinical names seems normal enough. And as the article demonstrates, there are some compelling reasons to consider real sexual education at early ages.