We live in a counry that still struggles to have serious conversations about sex. Some hear the word and immediately get uncomfortable; others giggle and are then unable to talk about it seriously. While this is an attitude that is slowly changing, these misconceptions still plague everything from sex education to legislation.
Recently, Tennessee legislators have attempted to dismantle an annual event held at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville entitled “Sex Week.” The event is essentially dedicated to sex education, providing talks on everything from “hook-up culture” to “sexual violence.” However, many of those in the Tennessee House of Representatives fail to see the value in the event, seeing it as inappropriate and that it “fits nowhere within the mission of the University.” This is just one example of a group of people misinterpreting a valuable program due to the word “sex”.
We still very much live in a country that is growing up when it comes to our understanding of sex. Sex education and its likeness are often misunderstood, interpreted as a way to promote sex rather than to inform about it. This attitude is incredibly dangerous, as it directly prohibits many necessary discussions that now more than ever need to be held.
While most realize that sexual assault is a problem at universities, perhaps what is not as understood is how frequent it occurs. The New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault reported that “one in four women will be the victim of sexual assault during her academic career,” an alarming number that demands immediate action.
That action needs to come in the form of education. There are still too misconceptions regarding sex, especially consensual sex. Too many don’t realize that a person cannot give consent while intoxicated, a fact alone which surely accounts for many incidents of sexual assault.
Without a solid understanding of safe sex, consensual sex, and everything in between, problems like assault and STDs will continue to occur. Pretending like they don’t exist, an action that seems to have been taken for decades in the past, doesn’t work. Widespread knowledge is key.
While programs like “Sex Week” and “The G-Spot” may come off as slightly inappropriate to some, the comic names of these programs shouldn’t overshadow their importance of the information they promote. Without a strong sex education and the awareness it brings, we can’t expect problems like sexual assault to cease. Lawmakers and politicians need to realize this, perhaps more than anyone.
Nick Ulferts is a junior english education major and columnist for The Vidette. Any questions or comments regarding his column can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.