Learning to be European: Do We Need to Import More Sexual Freedom?

Maybe its because I’m a father of girls that I reacted viscerally to the movie, “Teens and Sex in Europe.” In the video a pharmacist sells condoms to a teen boy he obviously does not know. Then the scene shifts and this same boy enters the pharmacist’s living room with the pharmacist’s daughter. The youngsters then announce their intentions to attend a movie. The young man and the father’s eyes meet. If this is my house, the evening would come to abrupt end. However, in the enlightened world of European sexuality, the father said, “Fine, make sure you wrap up well.”

The 16 minute video is a look into the kind of adolescent culture envisioned by Advocates for Youth (AFY), a gay, lesbian and bisexual advocacy group organized to create “programs and advocating for policies that help young people make informed and responsible decisions about their reproductive and sexual health.” If you are not fluent in sexual education jargon, I will translate. AFY wants to disabuse teens of negative parental and religious value judgments concerning decisions about having sex, getting an abortion or identifying as a sexual minority. AFY teamed up with the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) to sponsor a Bi-Youth Day prior to the North American Conference on Bisexuality this weekend (Aug. 21-24) in San Diego.

Ok, just stop. Is this really worth writing about? Does anybody really care? Well, if you have children, or nieces or nephews, you should. The conference is important enough that Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA) is slated to be the keynote speaker. Rep. Davis serves on the Education and Workforce Committee in the House. I suspect she will be getting some materials at the conference to share with her colleagues concerning sexuality in the schools.

What such groups want for our children is nothing short of a complete sea change in how sexuality is handled in the culture. Fathers are supposed to look the other way when they know their daughters are having casual sex. In the video, one mother is featured who demonstrated to her 13 year-old son the proper method to apply a condom. Moreover, in a GLSEN/AFY influenced society, no sexual preference is off limits for experimentation as indicated by their websites and sponsorship of the bisexual youth day.

There are a number of questions that conferences such as the San Diego one raise in my mind. One predominates. If groups like GLSEN and AFY are so sure that sexual preferences are enduring, inborn traits, why is there such a concerted effort to socialize youth into a pansexual way of life? The main conference brochure touted workshops on “Teaching Bisexuality” and “Bisexuality 101.” If there is some kind of normal developmental pathway by which gay, lesbians and bisexuals come out, then why all the effort to socialize children via “education?” Doesn’t anyone see that the existence of such groups with their youth advocacy initiatives is part of the social ethos that assists young people in the construction of a multi-sexual identity?

Unfortunately, the tide already has turned in this country largely through the influence of the media, Internet and changes in educational policy. It should come as no surprise that AFY devotes considerable space on its website criticizing abstinence only sexual education in schools. Essentially it comes down to a clash of values: do we want to emphasize waiting until marriage or not? I suppose talk of monogamous marriage gets a little complicated for those enlightened adults advocating a bisexual orientation to kids. Do the math: mono means one; bi means two (or in this context, two or more).

You don’t have to have children in public schools to have a stake in the outcome. The debate over gay marriage has the issue of permissiveness and pansexualism as its backdrop. Will we base the most foundational institution of society on sexual feelings or on the essential categories of male and female? Do we celebrate the essential complementarity of the genders by elevating the sexual experience to a bond reserved for lifetime mates? Or will any collection of sexual partners and arrangements suffice?

Import wine and vehicles from Europe if you must, but lets affirm what our traditions, religions and even research tell us: sex is best when bi becomes mono.