Tuesday, April 3, 2007

And the slap on the head goes to ....

Our local newspaper recently had an article about the controversial PPV vaccine. This isn’t about that. Although I do have pretty strong viewpoints on that subject and will happily share them with you in person if you ever care to know them. The article didn’t contain anything new as far as the PPV debate goes, but the following caught my eye:

“And one also has to wonder, if Merck had first come out with a version of the vaccine intended for boys – who, after all, are involved in passing the virus to girls – would the pressure against the drug be the same? I think not. The idea of young men having sex simply does not cause the same sort of panic, the same sort of hand-wringing protectionism.”

Now, if this were the first time I had seen or heard such a viewpoint expressed, I would simply shrug and pass it off as the author, Ms. Mary Sanchez’s, off-base opinion. Unfortunately, it is not. And I have heard such all too often to believe this is simply one author’s naiveté, ignorance or just plan lack of having sons of her own. And I do hope those who express this opinion are not parents of boys. If they are, that makes this sentiment all the more frightening.

You see, I do have sons. Teen sons. And I worry every bit as much about them having sex as you parents of girls worry about your daughters. Long gone are the days when a young person’s biggest risk from sex was an unwanted pregnancy or an embarrassing and uncomfortable condition that could be cleared up with a round of antibiotics. Nowadays, one can catch things that can kill. I worry about that.

There is a seventh grade girl at my younger son’s school who is pregnant. My first reaction upon learning this was shock followed by a profound sadness for that child. And, at 12 or 13 years old, a child she is. Would I be horrified if she were my daughter? Of course I would. Would I be equally aghast if my seventh grade son were the father of that baby? You bet your ass. You see, there are some of us who believe that, if our son should make a girl pregnant, he is every bit as responsible as she is. And do I want my 13 year-old son suddenly burdened with the responsibilities of a child of his own when his biggest worries should be passing his next algebra test? No way.

Putting the risk of pregnancy and disease aside, there are other ramifications. While my boys might be physically ready for sex, and that only in the strictest biological sense of the word, I know they are in no way intellectually or emotionally prepared. If for no other reason, I hope they will wait until they are a good deal older before they begin having sex.

As a mother of boys, I am thoroughly sick of hearing people say that no one worries about boys having sex. Yes, people do worry. Parents of boys worry. School administrators worry. Health care professionals worry. And, I’m guessing, parents of girls worry. After all, if my boys are having sex, who do you imagine it will be with?

Please, people, join us here in 2007. Those 1950s attitudes about boys and sex were outdated, oh, a few decades ago.

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