This is in response to JoAn Karkos’ column (Nov 18) and Carolyn Gilman’s letter (Nov 21).

“It’s Perfectly Normal” is not the issue; the ability to control sex and youth is.

I wish there was sex education earlier, information on why bodies change and how to cope. The battle between my neocortex and gnomes stole my self-esteem for years into thinking I wasn’t “normal.”

Sexuality is normal. Lack of information contributes to sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancies. If parents don’t give information to rebellious youths, they make their own facts and theories. If sexual issues are too conservative, a closed subject for examination, parents contribute to the real issue – rebellion of youth.

Gilman thinks Planned Parenthood is the axis of evil. Just the opposite, intervention with this organization helps young adults. Even more important than resources and contraceptives is the message distributed with them by social and academic leadership. If you tell teenagers no, it compels them to do the exact opposite. Our education focuses on self-worth, respecting yourself enough to say no. Is this not preaching abstinence?

Worried over a book with “adult” pictures corrupting youth? Turn on the news. Sex education in school promotes awareness, abstinence and gives youth a confidant.

I commend administrators who, regardless of personal belief, realize their investments make positive impacts. Most children are afraid to talk to their parents about sex.

I encourage parents to be their child’s confidants, and help them interpret the information around them.

Sarah Ziehm, Sabattus

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