Oral Sex and Dictionaries: Not In California Oral Sex and Dictionaries: Not In California

Oral Sex and Dictionaries: Not In California

by Amanda M. Fairbanks

January 27, 2010
The paranoid style of American politics is at work again-this time in Riverside County, California, which recently banned Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th edition, from its districts' school libraries because of the entry "oral sex" and its accompanying definition.Menifee Union School District's spokeswoman, Betti Cadmus, called it "sexually graphic," and said that while "it's hard to sit and read the dictionary, but we'll be looking to find other things of a graphic nature."The definition at issue: Main Entry: oral sex Function: noun Date: 1973 : oral stimulation of the genital. It should be noted that in the online version of things, genitals are plural. Already, the response has gotten pretty heated, both at Witness LA and at the Los Angeles Times blog, which features reader feedback. Even The Guardian has weighed in. A committee is forming to decide whether or not to allow the dictionaries, which were initially purchased so that young readers might look up definitions to words they don't know, back in their good graces. In the meantime, doesn't the whole thing reek of abstinence-only sex education-namely that if we don't teach kids about safer sex and birth control, if we don't so much as mention it, they won't have it. If you're so much as doubtful, see Mississippi's failed experiment.Photo via
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Oral Sex and Dictionaries: Not In California