Learning about sex can be considered taboo in any culture, but the way someone of a different race learns about the subject may affect their sexual relationships, or their sexual curiosities, as they get older.
According to Dr. Gail Wyatt, sex therapist and professor of psychiatry and behavioral science in the African-American community, “[G]irls receive the impression that asking or learning about sex is impolite, rude or unladylike, and sex should not be discussed with anyone, even with adults who can be trusted.”
[girls] Dr. Wyatt also singles out the differences between the sexual education received by African-American girls and caucasian girls. According to her, caucasian girls are more likely to learn a little about sex directly from their parents, while girls from minority ethnicities are more apt to learn about sex from movies, magazines or friends.
“I never learned about sex from my parents,” accounting freshman Ashley Balko said. “I just figured it out from friends and on my own.” Sex is one of the most difficult subjects parents of any ethnicity must discuss with their children. Society tends to make sex a taboo subject with sexual images of “The Bachelor” and “MTV’s Spring Break” dominating our television screens.
However, psychology freshman Aja Casey’s parents, who are African-American, didn’t approach her about sex until approximately eight months into her first serious relationship, when she was 16. “We really didn’t talk about it unless I brought it up,” Casey said. “Since I grew up in the church, my parents always put in me to wait [to have sex] until I’m married. They never said anything about abortions.”
In this respect, perhaps the gender of a child may also affect the way most parents approach him or her about sex. Most men report receiving little or no information about sex from their parents; instead, like many others, they learned about it from the media. (NEED A QUOTE FROM A MALE HERE SINCE YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT MALES)
“My parents were raised in the Philippines where parents aren’t open at all,” Kristina Ranoso, physiology junior and Asian-American, said. “I would definitely talk about [sex] with kids instead of just pretending that sexuality issues didn’t exist. I can’t say at what age to discuss it with them, but as soon as I saw it becoming an issue, I would talk about it with them to educate them about sex.”
[parents] Parents, in general, find it difficult to talk with their kids about sex because of how sensitive the subject has become. “If parents pretend that kids aren’t experimenting, kids might not get an important education, morals and attitudes about sex,” Ranoso said.
Lily Yang, social science sophomore and Akers Hall Asian-American aide, said it’s not typical for a parent to bring up the subject of sex to their children when they are younger. “It’s not that it’s looked down upon, I think that most of time it’s just seen as a way to reproduce, but as a college student I’m not as conservative,” she said.
On the contrary, Nicole Rivera, Akers Hall Chicano-Latino aide, believes religion may play an important part in how, when and why parents talk about sex in the Latino community. “Many families are conservative (and), at the same time, I believe religious beliefs impacted what I’ve been told.”
Students who are hesitant about discussing sex are open to use the aide-presented programs on sexual education. As an aide, Rivera informs her students they can go to her for condoms anytime. “I felt weird at first telling them up front that I have condoms if they ever need any, but no one seemed freaked out,” Rivera said. “I think many of them aren’t as naïve to these things because they have TV.”
[talk] With such sitcoms as “Sex and the City,” and reality hot tub scenes dominating network television, students plan to be more open about the subject when they become parents themselves. “I think my parents were kind of afraid to touch on the topic, so they tried to stay away from it as much as they could,” Casey said. “I want to talk to my kids, and want them to come to me if they ever have any questions.”
So regardless of your race or gender, talking about sex when you’re younger and how you react to the subject when you are older can be different or the same. In the end, though, the main thing is just to talk about it. If parents do not talk to their kids about sex, when their kids get older, they may have different perceptions about the subject because of the different perspectives provided them, whether television, movies or printed media.

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