I really loved the music when TV’s Glee began, so much so that I downloaded several of songs, but my Glee days have come to an end. I’m over the constant message of sex, sex and more sex that continues to be driven home in every episode.
When the show began, the plots were more about a variety of struggles in high school–being bullied, teen pregnancy, feeling like an outcast, and yes, sexual temptation.
But this season, sex seems to be a constant theme. A few weeks ago, the episode was all about having sex in high school. And those who tried to resist were made to look like fools. One scene had the Glee girls talking to each other about having sex. The message was, when you love someone, high school sex can be the best introduction to your sexual life–a complete opposite message of the early shows that showed the reality of teen pregnancy and boyfriend break up. At the end of that episode, everyone decided to have sex–adults, teens and now the writers have added a teacher-student sexual relationship (totally inappropriate).
A blog on the Huffington Post talked about this sexually charged episode this way, “Last night’s ‘controversial’ episode didn’t have a single shot of gratuitous teen sex, nor did the characters bare any skin. That’s because last night’s episode wasn’t about teens having sex. It was about love. Unlike most teen shows on television, Finchel (Finn & Rachel) Klaine’s (Kurt & Blaine) first times were tender, sweet and almost too private. It was so refreshing to see two couples share such an intimate moment. It wasn’t raunchy or needlessly provocative. It was sweet.”
So we are calling these relationships love relationships? And because the sex was “sweet,” it was fine. Just have “sweet” sex in high school and you will be fine.
Are these blogs ever written by parents of teens, or health workers who have to tell a 15 -years old that she now has a life long case of genital warts, or by social workers who deal with the broken hearts of teen love lost?
I don’t care how sweet is it, the message that sex is right if you love someone is not one I want to promote to my teens. I’ve counseled way too many teens who thought they were in love, had sex and deeply regretted it–even when it was “sweet” but I guess no one talks to those kids.
So while we spend millions of dollars trying to prevent teen pregnancy, STDs and mental health breakdowns, we have media promoting the path to those ends.
According to the CDC: Among U.S. high school students surveyed in 2009…
46% had ever had sexual intercourse
34% had had sexual intercourse during the previous 3 months, and, of these
39% did not use a condom the last time they had sex
77% did not use birth control pills or Depo-Provera to prevent pregnancy the last time they had sex
14% had had sex with four or more people during their life
An estimated 8,300 young people aged 13–24 years in the 40 states reporting to CDC had HIV infection in 2009
Nearly half of the 19 million new STDs each year are among young people aged 15–24 years3
More than 400,000 teen girls aged 15–19 years gave birth in 2009
So “sweet” sex can still land you an STD!
Parents, keep talking to your teens about the consequences of sexual behavior in the teen years. The risk of STD, pregnancy and a broken heart are not worth the “sweet moment.”
Also, parents note these research findings by RAND Health behavioral scientist Rebecca Collins. She examined the impact of TV sex on teenagers’ sexual beliefs and activities. Here are the conclusions:
- Watching TV shows with sexual content apparently hastens the initiation of teen sexual activity
- Sexual talk on TV has the same effect on teens as depictions of sex
- Shows with content about contraception and pregnancy can help educate teens about the risks and consequences of sex–and can also foster beneficial dialogue between parents and teens.
Bottom line, talk about these shows with your teens. Watch them to know what the messages are so you can have a conversation. Parents still influence their kids, even when it doesn’t feel like that is the case.
So I’m done with loving Glee but I will continue to monitor the content to know what is being told to teens.