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English 212
2002 Second Paper
On Serendip

Opening the Lines of Communication

Bea Lucaciu

Using humor when talking about sex can be a great way to uncover ideas and feelings that lie hidden within an individual. Some people prefer masking the truth with humor because of insecurity, or simply because they were raised to do so.

When faced with the task of educating my sexual sub-group (my peers), I realized my curriculum would have to reach out to a variety of people: a female virgin with no sexual experience, a male virgin with little experience, an experienced male, and many others. If most of them have had sex, why aren't they able to speak about it in serious discussion? Why is it that the women feel more comfortable talking about sex in a smaller, female group, and can we change this?

I came across a list of movies relating to real life and sex that were recommended for viewing by adolescents. I glanced over it, trying to determine if I would show any of them to my friends to open up discussion. However, the majority of the movies were comedies (e.g. The Breakfast Club, The Birdcage, In and Out). If the goal is to achieve an honest and serious environment, the use of a comedy seems counterproductive.

The curriculum should be "taught" in a neutral place such as the diner where we usually meet. Sexual openness cannot be forced or planned. Discussion needs to begin naturally. There are plenty of magazines that put out information and advice about sex. Using these articles and/or advice columns may ease the group into a serious exchange of personal stories and opinions. This medium allows for open conversation, whereas a movie would be difficult to follow while conversing with the group.

This curriculum would try to combat the views of sex and sexuality with which this group has been raised. We were all taught to be discreet and never discuss our private, i.e. sex, lives. Also, many within this group have skewed ideas of what sex is like, and what our bodies should look like. This is greatly due to the mainstream media's influence, as well as pornographic movies. Some people develop unrealistic expectations and impressions of sex because of what they see in such movies. Others don't take the films seriously, but, rather, watch them simply to help themselves get off. Talking about such things may help my peers to become aware of different perspectives, and to separate reality from pornography.

Listening to a variety of music may also provide some insight into how each person feels about sex. Some may find certain types of music to be intensely sexual, while others may find feel something completely different when hearing that same music. Utilizing music during discussion would work in bringing about a more intimate look at sex. We can find how each person is affected by music, and which music in particular they find to be overtly sexual.

The "curriculum" for this particular group is not designed for a classroom setting. It is designed to manipulate the discourse among friends about sex. The best way to reach this group is not through a designed lesson plan which attempts to teach them about sex. Instead, maintaining an open and honest conversation allows for each person to learn from the other. The main goal of my curriculum is to help the group achieve a comfort level with each other that previously did not exist among them. It has been said that female friendships are more intimate and socially supportive. Men, however, prefer "side-by-side" friendships to "face-to-face" friendships. I have witnessed this within my group. The women are more likely to talk in smaller groups about serious matters involving sex, love, and relationships. However, the same rules do not apply to the sexual/peer sub-group as a whole, seeing as how the group is comprised of men and women.

Some may be too embarrassed to share stories or ask questions. However, by using a variety of magazine articles and advice columns, each person may find a topic regarding sex that they feel comfortable discussing. This way, they don't necessarily have to share stories, but can inquire about different aspects related to sex (especially the members of the group with little to no experience).

By manipulating the discussion, we can turn an average conversation into a brief course in achieving a new comfort level with friends. No one will be required to divulge their most intimate secrets; however, each individual may feel at ease when the topic of sex comes up, and may even share his/her own thoughts or experiences. Of course, humor can still be worked into the conversation, probably making it even better and much more natural for the parties involved. The actual teaching about sex and sexuality will come from one another once everyone feels comfortable enough with speaking about themselves instead of discussing the sex lives of strangers.

Auhagen, Ann Elisabeth. "Adult friendship." The Diversity of Human Relationships. Ed. Ann Elisabeth Auhagen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. 229 247.
Blackburn, Randal. "Just How Different Are American Views On Childhood and Adolescent Sexuality?" All About Sex. March 2002. (September 25, 2002).
Blanke, Hanne. "Looking, Lusting, & Learning." Scarleteen: Sex Education for the Real World." 2001. (September 25, 2002).
Bradley, Loretta J., Elaine Jarchow, and Beth Robinson. All About Sex: The SchoolCounselor's Guide to Handling Tough Adolescent Problems. Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press, 1999.
"Sexual Politics: Advice Column." Scarleteen: Sex Education for the Real World." 2001. (September 26, 2002).
Trudell, Bonnie Nelson. Doing Sex Education: Gender Politics and Schooling. New York: Routledge, 1993.

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