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I hope this doesn't turn into any kind of rant but it IS something I feel very strongly about and which has impacted my own life negatively for a number of years. Apologies in advance.

In most Western societies, the schools systems have begun to include in their sex education curricula some specific references to gender awareness and sexual orientation. In most schools (with the possible exception of those in some of the more neanderthal, fundamentalist Southern states of the USA), homosexuality is faced head-on in the classroom and presented as a simple function of human sexual alignment. In the more liberal countries of Western Europe, this process can begin as early as age 7-8 years; in most others it is introduced as part of a secondary level curriculum during early teens.

This means that children who experience feelings and inclinations which would otherwise degenerate into guilt and possible damaging introversion are given a sensible frame of reference into which their mindset might be accommodated. Gone are the days (one would sincerely pray) when gay teenagers felt the need to hang themselves by electric cord in a lonely bedroom.

But, even in the most enlightened educational environments, it would seem that little mention is made of the fact that the developing human psyche might encompass not only deviations from heterosexual alignment, but also other proclivities which fall outside the realm of what is perceived as "normal", and yet are not themselves anything to be ashamed of or reclusive about. It was not all that long ago that gay people were told to seek professional psychiatric help (either that, or be clapped into prisons and institutions), which did nothing to serve their interests. What gay people needed was not the analyst's couch but like-minded people who understood what they were going through.

From the age of about eight onwards, through to my late twenties, I was afraid to open my mouth about spanking inclinations, lest the vacuum that existed then suck the very life out of me. The years of internal turmoil that could have been avoided if there had been just one individual who had taken me aside when I was about ten and said, "It's OK to be this way", rank as wasted time in my life, and a sadness beyond anything that words can convey. No one who has not suffered in this way can even begin to understand the cloying horridness that this kind of enforced hermitage has on a developing mind.

By bringing these issues into the classroom, along with all the other possible variants of sexual identity (cross-dressing, shoe fetishism, etc etc), we will one day be able to raise generations of children who do not have to live with a millstone around their mind which diminishes their capacity to engage with the world, develop their other interests, and become whole human beings. There is, I believe, a real need for educators to recognise that pubertal child development carries (for the child) incalculable burdens if that child perceives itself as being in an exclusion zone simply because of the things he or she feels. Cast your minds back to your own childhood. Is it fair for we so-called "grown-ups" to develop education policies which dismiss out of hand the very things that we all remember comprising such a vital and emotive component of our own lives ?

Do we turn, like Judas Iscariot, and betray our childhood passions simply on receiving the thirty pieces of silver of adulthood ?

Nat

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Wow, HitchinAride... what a wonderfully-described, thoughtful post. It is a perfect example of why this board is important, and of how fortunate we are that it will continue.

I think that early childhood development results in building a sense of taboo around many things. Babies are not ashamed of nakedness... that is imprinted later. They are not afraid to engage in what adults view as private behavior... that is taught later. I think the prejudices that you mention likewise are taught later.

The Rogers and Hammerstein song from "South Pacific" captures this...

"You've got to be taught to hate and fear

"You've got to be taught from year to year

"It's got to be drummed in your dear little ear

"You've got to be carefully taught."

I think that we as adults and parents are the ones that control how such taboos are communicated. Though it would be great to understand exactly how, and thereby make it possible for a generation of parents to completely stop imposing the undesired prejudices, I suspect that the best we can do, as we do now, is realize that each generation will deemphasize a particular hate less and less, so in two or three generations, that fear is no longer taught.

Catharsis

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"Gone are the days (one would sincerely pray) when gay teenagers felt the need to hang themselves by electric cord in a lonely bedroom."

Sadly those days are not gone as the events of a few months ago have shown. Suicide is still common among homosexual teens, and even heterosexual for that matter.

Indeed the days where a person can be hanged simply for being gay are still here in many countries unfortunately.

I do not believe that comparing an interest in spanking to the oppression homosexuals have faced and continue to face is fair. So far as I know no spanko has fled a country, been beaten or murdered for their interest.

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While there are differences between being gay and enjoying / craving spanking, they are actually very similar in my mind. The feelings of shame, doubt, fear of judgment, and uncertainty are all the same. In both situations there is invalidation by others who do not possess or understand the feelings and desires.

Anytime a human being fears repercussions from others in society surrounding innate aspects of their being, they, and others with similar aspects, are being oppressed. This is true for people of varying sexual orientations, ethnicities, and religious preferences.

People may experience feelings in varying degrees, but regardless of the intensity, the feelings are still valid. The feelings I have about my spanking needs may be similar to the feelings of another, but the intensity with which we each feel these similar feelings will be different.

Our varying cultural backgrounds, family and personal life experiences, and maturity will have a major impact on the intensity of our feelings. I do not want to see anybody’s feelings or fears minimalized based on anybody else’s scale of what is worse than something else. I don’t care of a person is gay, into spanking, or just likes to eat dessert first….if we as a society can do anything to help people feel better about being who God created them to be, we have a responsibility to help. I fear that when we tell people that their particular difference is less “bad” than another’s, we are invalidating their feelings about their personal differences.

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Bravo, HitchinAride

Thank you for the support and, yes PET5, I agree that the situation for gay

men/women is still a major cause for concern in both the developed and

the developing world. I cited this an an example in order to emphasise the

point of how classroom attitudes can be changed with time if, and

only if, the political and social will is present.

To state that "... So far as I know no spanko has fled a country, been beaten

or murdered for their interest ... ", without any hard evidence to support what

you are saying, is perhaps a little rash. Such a cause of oppression or suicide

might well go undocumented in a very large number of cases and none of us

would be any the wiser.

Having identified a problem, we are faced with finding solutions. It falls to the

spanking community as a whole to change public perception. Having websites

where youngsters can unburden their problems is only part of any possible

approach. Many of these sites (and FREEFONE telephone services) exist in all

the countries of the Western world, and yet they are not staffed by people who

even come close to understanding the issues.

It is no use whatever for a 12-year-old boy or girl to ring a helpline and admit

to having feelings and thoughts that are related to the impact spanking is

having on his/her pubertal development, if all that happens as a result is that

he/she is advised to "seek professional guidance or counselling". This is what

happened to several people I personally know, and is not any kind of

satisfactory outcome. In, fact, it serves only to reinforce in the child's mind

the view that they are somehow excluded from society simply because of

things which occupy their head space, and that they are borderline mentally

unbalanced. This is the very antithesis of the result one would be seeking to achieve.

Nat

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I think they spend far too much time on sex education in schools as it is. if they are going to start discussing every wierdness and fetish that exists, there is scarcely going to be any time left for teaching things like Maths, Science, English, History, etc etc.

When I was at school, we covered human reproduction in biology when I was 15. It was perfectly adequate. I don't understand myself why schools can't just let it go at that. As for teaching 7 and 8 year olds about sex - the mind boggles. I think myself they should be teaching them something more useful - like reading and writing for instance.

Louise

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(with the possible exception of those in some of the more neanderthal, fundamentalist Southern states of the USA)

I grew up amongst the neanderthals and I can tell you it would have been really weird for them to teach us in school that it is okay to want to be spanked since they were still spanking us. I mean, it would have been like following "bend over the desk" with "and it's okay if you like this".

Seriously though, where do you draw the line about what to teach about what kind of sexual behavior is acceptable and at what age? Who is going to make these decisions? I don't like the idea of this in the captive audience of a government run classroom. Personally, I think I would have been embarrassed if they had talked about spanking in sex education.

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"Gone are the days (one would sincerely pray) when gay teenagers felt the need to hang themselves by electric cord in a lonely bedroom."

Sadly those days are not gone as the events of a few months ago have shown. Suicide is still common among homosexual teens, and even heterosexual for that matter.

Indeed the days where a person can be hanged simply for being gay are still here in many countries unfortunately.

I do not believe that comparing an interest in spanking to the oppression homosexuals have faced and continue to face is fair. So far as I know no spanko has fled a country, been beaten or murdered for their interest.

I'm glad someone else said this.

eta: also, there are, IMO, pretty fundamental practical differences between a "spanko" identity and a gay one. Even before I was with my boyfriend, or anyone I trusted with this, I didn't feel like I faced at all the same public burdens or social prejudice as my GLBT friends. And my boyfriend and I can get married tomorrow and no one will give a damn about that part of our lives.

Also, from a practical perspective, having written textbooks and curricula (and I have edited/fact-checked sex ed materials a few times), I can't even imagine an effective way of encompassing "all possible variants of sexual identity," in class, other than perhaps a generic acknowledgment that those variants can exist in perfectly healthy, sane and moral people. I'd also be pretty distrustful of any variant/kink/fetish site or phone line for teenagers--I've come across "helpful" advice-giving spankos who give me the creeps as an adult newbie who I certainly wouldn't want engaging with teenagers. (And I say this as someone who thinks a lot of what teens may get up to on the internet can mostly be harmless, as long as it stays online.) I do think a few of the better sex education sites, like Scarleteen, at least offer some reassurance, and I would rather direct teenagers there.

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Seriously though, where do you draw the line about what to teach about what kind of sexual behavior is acceptable and at what age? Who is going to make these decisions? I don't like the idea of this in the captive audience of a government run classroom. Personally, I think I would have been embarrassed if they had talked about spanking in sex education.

Frankly there are more important things to teach in sex-ed like...hmm...sex, birth control, STDs,STIs etc. In a lot of places these basic things about sex are not taught in enough detail. Spanking has no place in a sex ed class. Maybe in a university/college course on sexual behaviour, but certainly not elementary or high school.

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I am grateful for everyone's views on this, for and against.

I recognise that there are practical classroom obstacles, and also a good

deal of induced politically-correct fear of any issues where we have to

deal with the young. This is understandable, given the crazy times we

live in.

But, as I said, we were all young at one time and we did have strong and

real feelings on these matters, and most of us might have wished to at

least partially resolve them in the company of those whom we trusted and

respected (parents, teachers, church ministers etc).

I stand by my comparisons with gender alignment because I believe this

to be a valid and apt analogy. Both issues concern the bewilderment felt

at discovering one's mindset is at variance with society's.

Nat

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Very tricky indeed. I see what you mean by your desires being seen as wrong and bad and I do think in some circles there have likely been a life or two lost due to there inclinations in the BDSM arena.

As for sex education classes I think to be honest that the schools do teach the fundamentals that kids need to learn. I remember learning about anatomy at about 7 or 8 and then continuing to learn right through to high school when they talked about protection, pregnancy, and STD's. It was never the bulk of the curriculum and I know perfectly well how to read and write most of the time - I think....lol.

Having said that I agree that we can't really include a list of fetishes to learn and feel ok about. I think that there is nothing wrong with spanking but then you have a whole list of things some people are into and others feel objection to. Where does one draw the line on what is a normal desire? Some would say discipline through spanking is wrong, others might view beastiality, furries, needles, knives as all very normal. And between CONSENTING adults I think that ones desires in fantasy are ok - but are we really going to sit little Johnny down and tell him that some people are just into knives and it's ok? Maybe not so much......

Again I think it all comes back to teaching respect. I went to school and remember that the theme was respecting each other. Sometimes kids got into fights or teased each other - it happens in every school. But we just have to keep drilling into kids that respect and integrity are much more important than laughs and popularity. I think acceptance of anything that one finds shameful amoung there peers goes a long way in a variety of situations. Whether a child be overweight or have a disability, be into spanking or be homosexual - the overall theme is the same. They are a person and they deserve to be respected!

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Babygirlie I think you hit the nail head on with your reply! Im sure like you said some people are into beastiality or knives just as much as we are into spanking, but there is no way I would tell a child "here are a bunch of options; having sex with animals, cutting eachother durking sex, and spanking other adults when they have been naughty" and they're all okay! I mean as long as you teach to respect others needs and interests no matter how different, thats all that matter. bravo girl! good answer! : )

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iluvyou1991, I rather think you have missed the point of my original and

subsequent posts which were proposing, not that we offer aberrant lifestyles

and dangerous perversions as part of a curriculum, but that we offer

explanations in response to childrens' concerns about their

developing psyche and their relationship with the rest of society.

These are two very different things.

No one would advocate introducing children to adult sexual practices.

Nor would one consider even hinting that such things form part of a

possible list of options for young people unless (and only if) such

counselling were in response to the valid concerns expressed, or emotional

upheaval suffered, by an individual. In these cases, I would consider it an

abrogation of a teacher's responsibilities not to make some attempt to

allow the child to rationally fit his/her feelings into a social context.

Nat

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not that we offer aberrant lifestyles

and dangerous perversions as part of a curriculum, but that we offer

explanations in response to childrens' concerns about their

developing psyche and their relationship with the rest of society.

Well you see I agree that these are two very different things. Obviously my example is an extreme - most fetishes (for the sake of argument spanking is a fetish) are deeply ingrained into the psyche. I am no psychologist and couldn't say whether they are a result of something from experience of if some people are born with tendancies but in the end the result is the same.

But how do we expect to tell them that their own thoughts on something fetish related are normal without giving them an example of what we are talking about. I mean if little Johnny has constant thoughts of cutting - not for the purposes of harming another individual but within consenting adults - if he were told that there are some things that are ok to feel as long as it's with people who agree to it he would like think his own thoughts are too extreme

I grew up in a house that spanked and I can tell you my interests started pretty young. I don't ever remember in my house thinking that sexual things were dirty or wrong. My parents loved each other and never fought very much. But I remember thinking there was something wrong with me. And if the schools had brought it up in a nice way even I can pretty much guarantee the kids would joke and laugh and recess. Peers are cruel and it would likely be more damaging to the overall idea.

I think again though that if kids are taught that EVERYONE deserves respect. Not just adults or teachers but every single person that we wouldn't be so quick to judge other people. If curriculum focused on trying to show kids it's ok to stand up for what you believe in. It's ok to do something different. Being unique isn't a curse but a blessing... thats when fetishes are just another thing that makes you who you are.

I mean the reason most have such a hard time coming clean about any secret is that they don't want to be judged or viewed badly. What if that wasn't on the table anymore because kids are taught to be themselves no matter who that might be....

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I think again though that if kids are taught that EVERYONE deserves respect. Not just adults or teachers

but every single person that we wouldn't be so quick to judge other people. If curriculum focused on

trying to show kids it's ok to stand up for what you believe in. It's ok to do something different.

Being unique isn't a curse but a blessing... thats when fetishes are just another thing that makes you who you are.

I mean the reason most have such a hard time coming clean about any secret is that they don't want to

be judged or viewed badly. What if that wasn't on the table anymore because kids are taught to be

themselves no matter who that might be....

We are in perfect agreement on this.

My sole motivation in raising this issue is to forge a path towards

an education environment that prevents anyone having to endure

the mental turmoils that I, and many others, wrestled with as we

entered adolescence.

Nat

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