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When It Comes to Sex, We Have a Lot to Learn

And we need to talk openly about it, experts say

It may seem odd to say in a society that's constantly bombarded by sexual images and innuendo, but some experts think we need to learn -- and talk -- more about sex.

Specifically, Surgeon General David Satcher says Americans can no longer afford "the consequences of selective silence" about sex, according to an article in The Record of Bergen County, N.J.

Satcher says he plans to release a report on the nation's sexual health soon, which will encourage Americans to tackle the subject even if they are uncomfortable with it. The document will "recommend lifelong sex education, although it will not specify the age at which such lessons should begin," the story says.

Some groups are in favor of abstinence-only sex education. Others say lessons must include information about condom use. Many experts who are battling AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases say the only way to fight these diseases and save lives is by being direct about how you can get them -- through sex -- and how you can avoid them -- by using a condom.

Past surgeon generals have also tackled the subject of sex. Dr. C. Everett Koop, surgeon general from 1981 to 1989, was criticized in 1986 when he released a report about AIDS in which he encouraged comprehensive sex education beginning in the third grade. "That single statement was responsible for more threats on my life than anything else I said in eight years," he is quoted as saying in the article. Dr. M. Joycelyn Elders, sugeon general in 1993 and 1994, spoke out about masturbation and human sexuality and was asked to resign by President Clinton.

To find out more about the controversy surrounding sex education, you can read this from About.com, or this from the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States.

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