Sex education, queer youth, and sexual autonomy

The first post-publication reviews of Not Under My Roof have come in.  A review by Doug Ireland in Gay City News (Nov. 9) places the book in the context of the post-sexual revolution battles over sex education in the United States.  Ireland recounts the intensely hostile political organizing in response to Judith Levine’s 2002 book Harmful to Minors (University of Minnesota Press) and then US Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders’ thoughts on sex education.   The result of these battles has, he points out, been “particularly nefarious for queer youth” whose needs for protection from harassment are rarely met within high-school hallways and classrooms.

In this context, it’s courageous of Amy Schalet, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus, to offer up her fascinating and wise new book, “Not Under My Roof: Parents, Teens, and the Culture of Sex”….  Based on a blending of meticulous scholarly research and extensive interviews with both Dutch and American parents and teenagers — mostly tenth-graders — Schalet’s book, although not as deliberately incendiary as Levine’s a decade earlier, nonetheless amounts to a ringing rationale for the sexual autonomy of adolescents.

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Amy Schalet is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Read More...