Monday, August 17, 2009

Sex Education: Time for a Reform

I caught a promotional interview on CBC News with Victor Malarek for his new book, The Johns - Sex for Sale and the Men who Buy It. In it, he talks about human trafficking and how myths about the "need for sex" and outdated attitudes about women drive men to seek poor, uneducated women from developing countries in order to find women they can pay to dominate totally and live out their most disgusting sexual fantasies with.

According to Malarek, much of what's causing (or at least reinforcing) unhealthy attitudes about women and sex is the Internet. Everyone knows the Internet is swimming in porn but what a lot of people don't know is that it doesn't have to stop at porn; if you're looking for a body to live out your fantasies on, you can find women who'll agree to do almost anything for money and the global nature of the Internet makes it easy for men to find these women anywhere in the world.

He goes on further to say that all this objectifies sex, turning it into a commodity to be bought and sold purely for the man's needs. The women aren't doing it because they want to (despite what most men hiring them think); about 96% of them are doing it because they have no choice either because they're caught with a pimp that won't release them or because they simply don't have the ability to raise the money they need in any other way in their given situation.

Worse, some of these women didn't even enter the "profession" willingly; some were drugged, kidnapped and sold into prostitution against their will. Why? Because the sex trade is growing faster than any other organized criminal enterprise right now, drug trafficking included. Why? Like any other business venture, it's profitable because there's a demand for it, and that demand is driven, in turn, by these "needing sex" myths men perpetuate for their own benefit.

"It's about men," Malarek says, "and men still control. [Prostitution is] probably the last bastion they control." So, these men are looking for control, not relationships. Porn does not teach relationship skills, only the mechanics of sex (and even in that it's often unrealistic or outright inaccurate); the only way to break that control is to bring about true equality between men and women by learning an appreciation for the beauty and value of loving relationships.

I haven't read his book (yet), but he said something while explaining this that really hit a nerve in me and prompted me to sit down to write this. He said:
We have to really start talking to boys, at very young ages, about relationships, about love . . . about being involved . . . We can no longer have sex education for kids and say, 'This is a penis, this is a vagina.' . . . they're way more sophisticated than that [thanks] to the Internet. You have to start talking to them about relationships; you have to start talking to them about the equality of young women, of all women and girls. You have to start talking to them about dignity.
A lightbulb went on over my head the moment I heard that.

When I was in late elementary and early junior high, sex education was taught but it was still pretty sparse, focusing almost totally on the mechanics. We were actually given diagrams of the male and female reproductive systems and most of the discussion revolved around the biology of sex; from what I understand, aside from increased emphasis on sexually transmitted disease (particularly HIV), very little has changed in this regard today.

Even back in my day, long before the Internet, I always felt that this was a waste of time. By the time this was even brought to our attention, about 95% already knew how sex was done; the parts we didn't understand, how it affects people, the power of the emotional drive and so on wasn't even touched on. Today, with the Internet bombarding our young people with a plethora of sexual imagery, any class about the mechanics of sex today, to me, seems totally pointless.

I think it's time for total reform of sex education. It should start in Grade Six, I'd say. After a brief discussion about the mechanics (to dispel any myths) covering maybe a class, two at most, then the focus should shift on to the emotional impact of sex, the intimacy of the act, how it affects the judgment, the dangers of how early sex disorts judgment in a relationship, how to build a balanced, equal partnership, and so on.

In fact, people are so screwed up about relationships right now that I think this needs to be more than a subject covered as a segment of a bigger class like science (as it was in my day); it needs to be a subject in and of itself. Perhaps we could call it, "Relationship Education." It'd be a class that explores, not sex, but the emotional dynamics shared by two people who are intimately involved, learning to share each other's lives in a fair and equal way.

We can't stop young people from learning about sex and the domination of women through society; it's everywhere today. What we can do, however, is help them understand what to do with that knowledge and hopefully instill in them an appreciation for equal love, and dignity, for both partners in a relationship, man and woman (or between two men or two women in the case of homosexual relationships).

When my local library opens on Tuesday, I'm going to look for Mr. Malarek's book; I get the feeling he and I think a lot alike on this subject.

"For me, everything boils down to dignity: the dignity of another Human soul. If we don't have that, we lose everything." - Victor Malarek


  1. In my opinion, the problem isn't sex, prostitution, or antiquated attitudes about either. The problem is POWER!

    When one human has power over another, there is a feeling of superiority which bloats the dominating individual's ego. The other thing this is mainly about is MONEY.

    For instance, the statement, "...this objectifies sex, turning it into a commodity to be bought and sold purely for the man's needs." In today's society, EVERYTHING is objectified for the sake of acquiring, keeping, or depriving others of money. How else can one explain the ridiculous copyright laws that claim to protect one's THOUGHTS for the sake of profit?

    Malarek's statement ""It's about men,and men still control. [Prostitution is] probably the last bastion they control." is also slightly skewed. Yes, men are largely in control of the sex trade, but they also control the Auto Industry and such trades and occupations as Insurance, Sports, Plumbing, and nearly everything else in our world. That is because traditionally, men have been the ones to go to work while the women stayed at home. What Malarek doesn't mention however is that the 2 most FAMOUS pimps, Xaviera Hollander, and Heidi Fleiss were both women!

    Looking further, the fact that women are often kidnapped and sold into the trade is no different than the capturing of Africans and selling them into slavery on the plantations. The outcome was the same; men and women did hard dangerous work so that other men could reap the rewards.

    Finally, a look at the "needing sex" attitude... Of course we need sex; it's hardwired into our DNA! Whether we legally marry one woman and sire several children with her or sire one child each from several women, we still have the same "need." Like all animals, we have a need to procreate, to propagate our race and have the upper hand. That need is also based on greed. Having several children means having several hands to work for our profit, or conduct battle against our "enemies." So once again, it's ego driven domination that fuels this "need"

    No, the problem isn't the sex trade, or the domination of women, but domination of one human being over another for the sake of profit.

  2. Marcy1:49 PM

    I listened to that interview, too. It was linked to from a feminist blog. I agreed with everything I heard him say.

    I disagree with the previous commenter. It IS a problem of domination of women. Saying it's domination of one person over another is getting a close-up shot without taking in the wider view. It's a pervasive problem, and until we realize it as such, and stop thinking it's an individual problem with individual solutions, it will never go away.

    I agree with you that people need educating on relationships, but not via the school system. I don't have a better answer, b/c we can't control everyone, and most parents run the gamut from lame to dangerously incompetent. But my gut just tells me the schools are not the place for it.


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