It seems that, as with alcohol, European parents take a much more enlightened view of adolescent relationships and sexuality than American parents – or at least, the Dutch do. Apparently, unlike in the America, 2/3rds of parents there would be willing to allow the significant other of their teenage child to sleep over at the house. In the same room. With a door that closes, and everything! Data minded people can find the original study here, but the data reflects a simple fact: if you treat young people as intelligent individuals capable of making informed decisions based on accurate information, be it about drinking or about sex, then that is what they will be. If you tell them that they'll be in for "a world of hurt" if they disobey you, well – you're probably right. But you could have helped instead of hindered them or harmed them.
Lisa Russ knows more about the National Rifle Association that you might expect of a writer at a reproductive justice blog, but she makes a brilliant comparison between the treatment of guns and genitals by folks in many parts of the United States. Gun rights, she reminds us, tend to be held most dear in the same states that are most likely to throw comprehensive sex education out the window in favor of the abstinence only variety. But the NRA has it's very own gun safety course, which teaches kids that guns are neither good nor bad, but a fact of life that they should learn to handle responsibly. Lisa wonders (and we wonder with her) – what's the difference between guns and genitals?
A recent survey by Weddingbells, a Canadian bridal magazine, of over a thousand brides-to-be, showed that only 8 percent of women stated that they felt sex before marriage was a bad idea – and only 4 percent said they felt strongly about those opinions. This despite a recent strong swell in the cultural ethos of saving-oneself, currently being promulgated by everything from school sex education to popular books and TV shows like Twilight and Glee. In truth, this seems to indicate not a change in behavior, but a change in reporting, as the American reproductive health think-tank found that in women under 44, 9 in 10 had had sex before marriage – even those born in the 1940s. This is certainly a positive change, as increasingly, young people are choosing not to marry at all, and it would certainly be sad if the 50 percent of young people projected to opt out of wedlock had to opt in to celibacy with it!