students; priests who sexually abuse littlernbows; naval offieers who apparently makernorgies an annual, celebrated event; andrnmovie stars who take on the names ofrnsolcnni religious figures to promoternvideos and books portraying kinky sex.rnThen there was the ongoing debate overrngas in tlic military, which meant thatrnnewspaper and magazine readers werern” treated to ever more graphic descriptionsrnconcerning the sexual gymnastics performedrnby homosexuals. Rap music lyricistsrngot accolades for their latestrnachievement in moving the term ‘hosrninto the mainstream of American lexicon.rnThe Whitney Museum of AmericanrnArt launched its exhibit “Abject Art:rnRepulsion and Desire,” which managedrnto outdo even Robert Mapplethorpe,rnAnnie Sprinkle, and Madonna. And lastrnAugust, South Florida installed a “publicrnserx’ice” hotline for teenagers (377-rnTEEN) called “The Link,” which promotesrnsex as a means of getting rid ofrntension, abortion on demand withoutrnparental consent, and homosexuality as arnlifestvle as opposed to a handicap.rnAll this doesn’t begin to include thernmultifarious accounts of rape-torturernmurders; the endless articles exploringrnthe DNA analvsis of semen found onrnsome poor, dead girl’s panties; the demandsrnof the Man-Boy Love Association;rnthe aborted fetuses in our faces;rnand the new horrors on the sexuallyrntransmitted diseases front, such as cytomegalovirusrn(CMV), which is causingrnbirth defects in pregnant women. At arnsubwav station entrance, my husbandrnand I were shocked by a billboard asrnstunningly tasteless as the sexual messagernit sought to rebut. The billboardrnwas designed to appear spattered withrnblood. The caption read: “‘Virgin’ is notrna dirtv word.”rnBv last summer’s end, I was glad Irnwasn’t a kid anymore. Somehovy such anrnintroduction to the world of sexualityrnwould have failed to inspire passion, ragingrnhormones or no. hideed, if we observernthe recent admonitions of SurgeonrnGeneral Joeelyn Elders and deposedrnNew York School Chancellor Joseph Fernandez,rnwe shouldn’t wait until youngsters’rnhormones are raging. We shouldrnassault their sensibilities in kindergartenrnwith a panoply of condoms, sex toys (nornkidding), and legitimized pornography.rnThe National Guidelines for ComprehensivernSexual Education, produced twornyears ago b’ the Sex hiformation andrnEducation Council of the United States,rnrecommend teaching kindergartners tornfeel comfortable with their genitals byrnhaving them shout “penis” and “vulva.”rnBy fourth grade, the sex education curriculumrnhas youngsters performing thernnow-familiar ritual of unrolling condomsrnon bananas and discussing the benefitsrnof “mutual masturbation.” In seventhrngrade, children advance to discussing oralrnand anal sex, role-plaving sexual situations,rnand learning the street names for arnvariety of sexual acts, hi high school,rnyoung students are awash in bisexuality,rntransvestitism, sadomasochism, and bestiality.rnTeachers are supposed to passrnaround “finger cots,” which arc condomsrnfor the fingers, and “dental dams,” a kindrnof condom for oral sex, and discuss “brachiopraeticrnpenetration,” which the curiousrncan look up. The idea, supposedly,rnis to make youngsters hygiene-consciousrnat dating time. This is sold in catchyrnphrases like “safe sex” and “no glove, nornlove!”rnLove, indeed. What happened to it?rnSomewhere between the bluegrasscountryrnballads that the EVeriy Brothersrnand the Kingston Irio interpreted forrntheir teenage audiences—songs that expressedrnan amorous sentimentality, incorporatedrncomplex harmonies, evokedrnan entreating innocence, and connectedrnsex yvith affection—and the heavyrnmetal-rap era, music moved from seductionrnto sadism, from beautiful to brutal,rnfrom romantic to repulsive. Today it isrndifficult to find a station to wake up to inrnthe morning that isn’t filled with squealingrnand shrieking and a what’s-love-gotto-rndo-with-it mentality. Talented newrninstrumental composers like John Nilsen,rnDanny Wright, Tom Barabas, Karunesh,rnGary Sills, and Clifford White arc ignoredrnby disc jockeys and can be locatedrnonly through independent music distributorsrnand heard about only by wordrnof mouth, as increasing numbers of individualsrnseek to escape the cacophonyrnof pulsating commercials and sexploitivernsong lyrics for more uplifting and romanticrnfields.rnMeanwhile, television languishes inrnthe language of abuse—nonstop sexualrninnuendos, putdowns, and lascivious catcallsrnfrom the audience. Youngsters cutrntheir teeth on the putrid sc[ualor ofrnBeavis and Butt-head. Media moguls sayrnthese and other .shovys are successful becausernthey attract a large share of thernviewing audience.rnBut what about the nonviewing, nonlisteningrnaudience? How about thosernwho rarely turn on the tube or radio anymore?rnWhere are the statistics on us?rnMore to the point, when did sex becomerna mere animalistic instinct? When didrn”flirting” and “courtship” become synonymsrnfor “sexual harassment”?rnAs a final indignity, Ann I .anders, afterrn38 years of preaching commitmentrnand caring, offered her commentary on arnpiece she reprinted from the Los AngelesrnTimes by a Dr. Steven Sainsbury of SanrnI .uis Obispo, California. He had writtenrnto comment on a 15-year-old gid he wasrntreating for “a rip-roaring case of gonorrhea”rn—a typical occurrence in his practice,rnapparently. It was bad enough thatrnhe criticized experts who equate condomsrnwith “safe sex,” saying the highrnbreakage rate during normal, vaginal intercourserndid not support such a claim.rnBut Dr. Sainsbury committed the ultimaternblasphemy when he maintainedrnthat the only safe sex is no sex, until onernis ready “to commit to a monogamousrnrelationship.” The key words, he reiterated,rnwere “abstinence and monogamy.”rnThe good doctor didn’t mention marriage,rnbut no matter. Ann Landers tookrnon the heretic, declaring that she wasrngoing to “stick her neck out” and “suggestrna more realistic solution than abstinence.”rnHer recommendation? “Selfgratificationrnor mutual masturbation,rnwhatever it takes to release sexual energy.”rn”This is a sane and safe alternativernto intercourse,” she wrote, “not only forrnteenagers, but for older men and womenrnwho have lost their partners.” Her rationalernwas that “the sex drive is thernstrongest human driye after hunger.”rnIt was this sanctimonious diatribe thatrnbrought me to the word processor. I’mrngoing to stick my neck out and say: No.rnThe sex drive is not the strongest humanrndrive after hunger. It may be thernstrongest animal drive after hunger, butrnit is not the strongest human drive. Lovernis. Love is yhat separates animals fromrnhumans. Animals may exhibit loyalty,rntrust, and affection, but these are notrnthe equivalents of compassion and commitment,rnwhich comprise the key elementsrnof what we know as romantic love.rnCertainly there’s physical attraction, orrn”chemistry.” But having celebrated myrn25 th wedding anniversary, I can tell yournit’s commitment and compassion thatrnkeep the “chemistry” intact 25 years afterrnthe wedding march is over. Conversely,rnas any separated or divorced couple willrntell you, when there is no lo’e left in a relationship,rnsex is the first thing to go.rnJUNE 1994/43rnrnrn