Tag Archives: Sexuality

No sex please – we’re Catholic

Apparently there’s going to be a new Health and Physical Education National Curriculum, which is going to include sex education. I say apparently, because google as I might, and search through ministers’ and departments websites, the only reference I could find to it was in an article in the Sydney Morning Herald: Row over sex education.

Dr Dan White, the CEO of CEO Sydney (that would be the Catholic Education Office, in charge of all the Catholic Schools in Sydney, and their CEO is referred to as the Executive Director, but I couldn’t resist writing about the CEO of the CEO) is upset that the proposed sex education will include information about, oh noes, abortion and contraception, and even how to access them. He wants parents to be able to withdraw their children from classes (because, after all, ignorance is the best policy /sarc), so he doesn’t want any compulsion about sex education classes.

On the surface, what he’s saying is quite reasonable.

Our students need to be aware of abortion and contraception in sex education classes in Sydney Catholic schools,” he said.

”We would not be happy, however, if these were the preferred methods advocated. We clearly explain to our students about the Catholic Church’s strong moral stance and the right to life of the unborn child.[link]

For starters, unless he’s got prior access to the proposed curriculum, we don’t even know what’s going to be taught. Even then, really, surely, isn’t contraception preferred! We all know that people have sex, we know that kids have sex, we know that no amount of telling them that they ought not have sex outside a stable secure married relationship per the Catholic church’s morality, is going to stop them. Just maybe, it might be best to help kids to be safer in their sexual relationships, rather than preaching that contraception is immoral.

It all points to some screwed up thinking by the Catholic Education Office. There’s the standard stuff-up, of course – arguing against contraception even though it presumably decreases the likelihood of the greater evil of abortion, but that’s not what I’m particularly concerned about right now. It’s more the tacit admission by the CEO that its teaching on abortion and contraception isn’t all that effective. If the CEO thinks that its immoral teaching on abortion and contraception and abortion is sound, then it won’t need to worry about young Catholic women and young Catholic men having access to information about them. They will believe in the church’s teaching in any case, so they will happily note the information, and then simply not use it. Either that, or the CEO realises that it needs to restrict information and brainwash young people in order to get anyone to adhere to its medieval morality. It always looks very suspicious to me when a religious group, which claims to know the truth, thinks it has to withhold information in order to get people to follow its rules.

I’m not sure that this is a kerfuffle, or in the SMH’s words, a “row” in any case. It looks to me as if a reporter has found out that there is going to be a new curriculum, that it’s going to contain sex ed, and that the sex ed will include genuinely helpful information about access to abortion and contraception, and then raced off to a handful of the usual suspects to get some rent-a-quotes. The newspaper article has a quote from a spokesman for the responsible minister, Julia Gillard, but there’s no press release. And the spokesman points out that there’s a consultative process to go through yet, so there will be plenty of time for the Catholic church to insert its immoral message against abortion and contraception into the conversation.

Update: Jo Tamar has got an excellent post about this too – How immoral to acknowledge to kids that yes, sex happens

PMT with a vengeance?

There’s a new version of the pill being trialled, ‘though I’ve found it a little hard to piece the details together from the Adelaide Advertiser (which some people call the Traumatiser, and I can see why).

One story, on-line in the ’tiser, has it that the pill reduces the “seven days off” stage of the month, and the hope is that this will reduce pain and and discomfort for (some) women who find that the withdrawal of hormones (in the active pills), can result in “pelvic pain, headaches, mood swings and breast soreness.” That particular story was written by Kate Sikoura, in Sydney, and picked up through the stories shared between the News Limited papers.

Then there’s another on-line story in the Advertiser, written by local man, Tony Shepherd – Health Reporter. Shepherd adds a wee wrinkle. It turns out that there is a second trial, of the same pill. Now it’s not just about helping to reduce physical pain and discomfort. It turns out that a big advantage of the new pill is to “increase the female sex drive.”

Nice. WTF is it with the obsession with women’s libido? (For more on this, check out Lauredhel’s fabulous post about the problem of problematizing women’s desire.)

But that’s not all. The print version of the story is different again, this time with no by-line. And this time, the reason given for the trial is:

… the new pill “ameliorates the extreme temperament experienced by all women at certain times of the month. Therefore it is much more beneficial to relationships, and indeed society as a whole, for women to continue taking the pill.”

Being the Advertiser, they have a couple of quotes from punters. Bloke of Adelaide says:

This new pill will make it easier for their poor husbands, boyfriends, brothers, fathers and males in general, I’m all for it.

But Lippy Lou of Wa Way has clearly been reading Lauredhel’s fine words, because she says:

Drug companies, never actually seem to cure anything, just get you into their usage cycle, then when you have a reaction, guess what? They have another pill to help you. A fat leech on the backside of humanity.

The real kicker? The man who wants to ameliorate the extreme temperament of women, who thinks that this pill will be beneficial to society? His name is given as Maurice Chauvan, of Istanbul. And he doesn’t seem to exist, according to Google, that is.

So just what is the Advertiser playing at?

For the record, the researcher, Rob Norman, and the research institute he heads up, the Robinson Institute, are genuine. All of which makes me wonder whether the reporters and subbies who put together the print version of the story are just a little tired of women’s libido, or lack of it, or excess of it, being regarded as problems to be treated. Or PMT, for that matter.

In any case, when it comes to PMT, let me direct you (again) to Melissa McEwan’s superb take on the subject:

Let’s put this shit to bed right now: Women don’t lose their minds when they have period-related irritability. It doesn’t lower their ability to reason; it lowers their patience and, hence, tolerance for bullshit. If an issue comes up a lot during “that time of the month,” that doesn’t mean she only cares about it once a month; it means she’s bothered by it all the time and lacks the capacity, once a month, to shove it down and bury it beneath six gulps of willful silence.