The best way to develop healthy attitudes to sex is to give accurate information about it
Stabroek News
May 27, 2002

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Dear Editor,

I read with interest 'What the people say about... Public access to pornography,' published in your newspaper of 20.5.02.

The responses of the people were in reply to the topic 'There should be tight restrictions on public access to pornography' which topic will be debated by participants at the sitting of this year's National Youth parliament on May 29.

'Pornography' has been defined in many dictionaries as "the depictions of sexual acts or behaviour, as in writing, photography, motion pictures, etc."

The word 'pornography' comes from the Greek porne, meaning a prostitute. It is now defined as "obscene literature, art, or photography, having little or no artistic merit." What is 'obscene'? Webster's dictionary defines this word as "offensive to modesty or decency, lewd, disgusting, filthy, repulsive."

Not so long ago it was an offence or crime to publish such books or to have them displayed with explicit descriptions of sexual encounters. However, there were a few which could be illegally obtained, e.g. Lady Chatterley's Lover, the Adventures of Cassanova and many others.

In 1967, the United States Supreme Court in two rulings held that any materials having the slightest social value could not be banned.

In November 1972, a referendum was placed on the California ballot and voters were asked to vote in favour of the banning of many materials pertaining to sex. The referendum was opposed by the State's Governor and was soundly defeated.

Many people believe that sex is not dirty and obscene; it is a normal function for which information should be freely obtained; that there is no proof that pornographic materials would incite men to commit crimes of passion, e.g. rape, etc. It is reported that in Denmark, after the complete removal of restrictions of pornographic materials crimes of passion were actually reduced. Many believe that what persons do in private should not be the concern of the State as long as no harm is done to those involved or to others. There are some of the reasons responsible for the changing of attitudes concerning sex.

It has been discovered that people tend to lose interest when forbidden things are no longer restricted. This was proven when 23 male students at the University of North Carolina Medical School, volunteered for an experiment on the effect of erotic materials; they spent 1-1/2 hours daily in a room filled with pornographic books, magazines and wall pictures, movies. At the beginning the students were very much interested in homosexual movies and sex books; after a few weeks their interest waned and they began reading sports and other magazines; at a follow-up it was discovered that none of the volunteers was adversely affected in moral or academic performance.

Children today receive good training in reading, writing and other basic skills essential to enable them to function in today's society, but they are not provided with sex education, because some parents feel that if their children are not taught sex, they will avoid it, thus protecting them from contracting ST diseases; others that there is no need for sex education in schools, because people get along very well "doing what comes naturally."

Albert Ellis, author of The American Sexual Tragedy says: "Woefully inadequate sex education has resulted in neurotic attitudes with serious perversion." It is ignorance of sex, not knowledge of sex, which leads to the misuse of sex.

Children will learn of sex from any way they can if they are denied the information from reliable sources; they get it from deviants, pimps and prostitutes, which in most cases is false information and which causes abnormal attitudes toward sex.

Because of the change in attitudes, it is now being realized that the best way to develop normal, healthy attitudes towards sex is to give accurate information about it whenever children are ready for it.

It is my opinion the television stations in Guyana are mainly responsible for our children of tender ages being corrupted; these stations persistently keep showing these disgusting movies at any hour of the day regardless of whether school is in session or in recess.

Yours faithfully,

Bertwald Bradshaw