Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Sexual Health Needs More Dialogue

Apparently Georgetown University has not learned its lesson, as we have again finished near the bottom of Trojan’s Sexual Health Report Card, Georgetown placed 115th out of 139 U.S. universities on Trojan Condoms’ second annual sexual health survey, a minor decline from the school’s ranking a year ago, (“Georgetown Falls in Sexual Health Survey,” THE HOYA, Sep. 18, 2007, A1).

How can we not realize that the university’s “two most egregious faults are the lack of condoms – for purchase or free distribution – on campus, and the lack of comprehensive sexual health information offered on the Georgetown Web site” as two members of H*yas for Choice stated in last week’s HOYA article?

Maybe Georgetown University can’t get beyond its Catholic morality in order to meet the sexual needs of its students. Maybe it’s too old-fashioned and out of touch with today’s college culture. Or maybe, precisely because of that same Catholic morality, it has come to a more profound understanding of what sexual health is all about.

Trojan seems to think that the only sexually healthy college-aged people are those who are having sex and using condoms – providing profit for Trojan. Why must we be having sex in order to be sexually healthy? When did sexual health become more about preventing pregnancy and disease than about valuing and respecting human dignity?

As more campuses move toward providing free condoms and other artificial means of birth control instead of providing a forum for conversation and education about human sexuality, these institutions are both doing their students a great disservice and compromising their own integrity as places of learning. To simply hand out condoms because they’re going to do it anyway is an act of condescension that reduces college students to uncontrollable children who need to be appeased, when we are quite capable of functioning as mature and intelligent adults.

Here at Georgetown, as at all universities, there is much to be done to improve sexual health education, but it does not begin with handing out condoms. Rather, it begins with developing a community that understands and appreciates the complex physical, psychological and spiritual components of human sexuality; and in doing so, fosters an ethic of sexual health that is centered on mutual love and respect. In this endeavor, our Catholic identity can be a great aid, as there have been few more accomplished writers and speakers on human sexuality than the late Pope John Paul II.

If the university is serious about sexual health, then we must begin reaching out in new ways. Perhaps we can better utilize NSO or Hoya to Hoya; perhaps more students and administrators can work together on crafting a new program aimed exclusively at sexual-health awareness; or perhaps we can make sexual health a greater focus in our classrooms. What could be a more noble academic pursuit than coming to a better understanding of our sexuality, something that is so deeply rooted in our humanity?

No matter what course of education we ultimately take – and despite what Trojan may want us to think – sexual health is not about remembering to don one’s latex-lined armor before marching headlong into a battle for instant gratification. It’s about coming to an understanding of human sexuality outside the influence of our selfish impulses. It’s about being courageous enough to love and respect others – even when they don’t respect themselves.

Maybe Trojan should consider promoting this kind of sexual health education; that is, a more sensible, selfless and truly proactive one – one that will actually last beyond the next two and a half minutes.

Steven Picciano is a junior in the College.

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