The Intercourse Is For Fun

by Chris Bodenner

Alice Dreger, a bioethics professor with a precocious son, reflects on how uninformed his classmates are when it comes to basic sex ed. Her core point:

How funny that we can’t bring ourselves to tell our children the most fundamental truth about sex, that most of the time we have sex, we have it for pleasure.

Praising the piece, Dan Savage shares a great anecdote from his newest book:

There’s a chapter in American Savage, which comes out in paperback next week, about how lousy sex education is in America. I point out that we don’t teach about pleasure in our sex ed programs—which run the gamut from dangerous (abstinence-only) to pathetic (“comprehensive” sex ed programs that leave out pleasure, gay sex, and obtaining consent, a.k.a. “talking people into having sex with you”).

But talking about sexual pleasure with kids is easier said than done. Even I left it out when I explained sex to my son. That omission lead to a pretty funny confrontation…

One day my then-eight-year-old son came into the kitchen and jumped up on the counter. He narrowed his eyes and gave me a strange look.

“Two men can’t make a baby,” D.J. finally said.

That’s true, I told him, two men can’t make a baby.

“Then you and daddy have sex for no reason,” he said.

Most of the sex that goes on out there—gay sex, straight sex, solo sex—is for “no reason,” or more accurately for a very good reason—for pleasure. And yet most parents, myself included, leave pleasure out of “the talk.” And if a sex-advice columnist who believes that pleasure needs to be incorporated into sex education leaves pleasure out, can you blame sex educators for ducking the issue?