March 3, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 79  

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Clinton not only one confused

A recent study of university students in The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality produced a scary revelation: most did not know exactly what sex was, and as a result, were not practicing safer sex.

Amazingly, while an overwhelming 97 per cent said vaginal intercourse was sex, 83 per cent said anal intercourse fit the definition, while only 22 per cent believed oral sex made the grade.

To further the discrepancy, 15 per cent said that touching one’s genitals resulting in orgasm was considered sex, while only 7.8 per cent said that in the same case but without orgasm, it was not sex.

As a result, this has caused public health officials to worry. And it’s easy to understand why.
There is no clear cut definition of sex. It is something different for each individual — some classify sex as only sexual intercourse. Others say sex includes everything from oral to anal.

One could say the definition of having sex is an orgasm and the discharge of fluids through physical contact with another person. Some argue that an orgasm is not necessary for it to be considered sex.
It is much easier to think of sex as a general term to classify all of the above and more. Actually having sex is what is individual and differs from person to person.

One thing is clear however and that is, sex is physical. No matter how you define it, it is a physical act. And for the most part, involves at least two people.

The main problem with not being able to define sex, is not being able to define what safe sex is. If you can’t define safe sex, then how do you teach it?

It is important sex education is taught to children in school, preferably before they came to university. People need to be aware of all the risks involved when they get into sexual relationships.

They need to be taught about STDs and pregnancy, so that when they do engage in a sexual activity, the proper precautions are taken.

It would be nice to say that common sense should play a role in all this and one would like to assume that those having sex would be aware of any possible consequences. For example, here’s a good piece of advice: don’t kiss strangers if you both have open wounds in your mouth.

Perhaps the focus shouldn’t be so much on defining what exactly sex is, but rather on teaching people how to protect themselves with any sexual activity. Maybe the wording of the practice safe sex ads could be changed to “have safe sexual activity.”

This might help some of the less intelligent young people in society realize that activity like oral sex can actually lead to life-altering problems if they fail to use common sense.

Sex education is something that needs to be taught from a young age, so that when people get to university, they don’t end up looking as stupid as some of the people who responded to the survey.



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