Condomologist

all things condoms

When is it too young?

Posted by Condomologist on March 16, 2009

Recently the NYC Dept. of Education was forced to respond to the hullabaloo surrounding some middle schoolers receiving condoms in a goodie bag given out during a school health fair. The folks who accidentally gave them out — or so they say — and the school department both responded with shock and dismay that these condoms were handed out in error, going against protocol and policy. If, in fact, this was a mistake — and it appears it was, as most of the bags the students picked up did not have condoms in them — then the apologies are understandable, but this incident presents the opportunity to discuss whether or not sex ed and condoms should be available to middle schoolers. And this opportunity should not be lost. Colleagues of mine who work as sexual health educators know from experience — as does any middle schooler, myself included, who lost a classmate or two to a pregnancy leave of absence — that neglecting adolescents as early teens means we miss a good number of sexually active youth, as more than 6% of teens report having had sexual intercourse before age 13. And the outrage from parents who wouldn’t dare talk sex with their kids just further reveals how necessary it is that the schools be involved.  So rather than apologies and outrage, it would be nice to hear a few level heads come out and say, Yeah, what’s so wrong with that?

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3 Responses to “When is it too young?”

  1. The time for “the talk” is early, starting at age 6 or 7, when kids start to show a real interest in sex, mainly in sexual reproduction. That’s when you can start to put in your .02 re your values about sex. By the time a kid reaches 13, a lot of their morals and values are already formed. If they’ve been sexualized from watching TV or films, you’ve lost half the game. So if a kid gets a condom, it’s an opportunity to talk about sex, if you haven’t already.

  2. Jonathan said

    Thanks Dr. Buehler. I agree completely that certainly age 13 is a good time to at least discuss what a condom is and what it’s used for. By that age, most kids are at least thinking about sex, and helping giving them an outlet for discussing it would go a long ways towards navigating the confusion that is puberty.

  3. Dare said

    Don’t forget that our atrocious education system in the inner city leaves some of the kids older than we normally think of middle schoolers. You have 7th and 8th graders who are 14 and 15 in some schools (if they manage to keep them from dropping out).

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