Monthly Archives: September 2008

Chilean Group Post: What they think of Americans?


Wow! I have an even bigger problem with this topic then I did with what I think of Chilean Men or Chilean Women. So, my problem in the past was that the topic sets us up to spread stereotypes that most likely are not true of ALL Chileans.  I mean, I know Chileans who do not like avocado and that is practically the national fruit– if that can’t be true of all, what is?

This topic, in my estimation, is even worse as it opens space for us to make judgments on what Chileans think of Americans.  With the notable exception of Florencia, who is Chilean, and anyone in the group who chooses to have their significant other write the piece– none of us can really know and we pick out the things that we see as “weird”.  Therefore, I feel that it is still casting judgment.

Can we PLEASE do a different type of topic next week? I still say things like:

  • Favorite Chilean moment
  • Favorite Chilean recipe
  • Favorite/ least favorite place to eat/ go out/ vacation

would be so much better! Alas, I keep getting out voted, so here I go…

I tried to trick S. into contributing to this by asking him what Chileans think of Americans. The conversation went something like this:

C: So… what to Chileans think of Americans?

S: That would be stereotypes… I don’t think you can generalize a people.

C: Okay. But if you were to, what would you say?

S: I don’t. People are all different.

C: Okay, well, what would other Chileans without your moral aversion to stereotypes say?

S: I don’t know. What is this about?

C: Nothing.

S: I know. You don’t know what to write for the group blog.  We are changing the subject.

And. We did.

So, I have only something which can only worsen my search results.  I have had problems recently with searches and sleazy people linking to my site, so the topic is on my mind. I also have a history of funny, off, and scary search engine results that bring people here.  I commented on these in Who are you people? and Google: a tool or just a randomizer? Needless to say, I can only imagine what the following topic will do to search results.

So, here is my very generalized and not 100% true generalization: Chileans think that Americans are dirtier and more open with their bodily functions than Chileans.  And here are the facts, in my own humble opinion: we are.

Chileans are very, very, very careful to never fart, burp, or otherwise make inappropriate sounds in front of other people.  In the states, I would say, that people are careful in public but never to the point of being in pain. Also, I think it is acceptable to burp or pass gas in the comfort of ones own home– heck, this is part of the reason it is comfortable.  Also, Chileans think it is extremely rude to not cover your mouth when you yawn.  I think in America this is not the best of manners, but no one has ever given me “looks” in the states at 7am when I forget.  Also, in the states, covering mouth when coughing is considered much more important than which yawning.  In Chile, they seem to be about even.

In terms of cleanliness and orderliness, Chileans, even children, are much better about keeping their rooms orderly and cleaning their house routinely.  In some of my host families or friends of families, they vacuum daily, despite not having pets.  Most friends and family in the states it is a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly chore.  That said, I really don’t see this as being bad or dirty. Really, I can’t give a verdict on which is better or which is wrong.  They are just different.

Here are the other participants (this list will be updated as I notice that people post. Also, People, please link to me and others to help increase traffic for all):












What women want


As this US election season continues, more and more is said about what women want.  Do we want a vice-president to break the glass ceiling even if we fundamentally agree with her politics? Do we want to protect Roe vs. Wade? Do we want continued protection for minorities? Do we want polar bears on the endangered species list? Do we want rape victims to have to pay for their own rape kit? Do we believe that “putting lipstick on a pig” is a colloquial phrase? Or would be prefer to think that in some contexts it is a slur against women?

And yet, we seem to be missing the important stuff all too often.

Do you know that there is a proposed rule from the Department of Health and Human Services that would govern family planning?  Do you know that this rule would make it illegal to force any employee of any health care entity (hospital, doctors office, free clinic, etc.) to assist in any way with medical services they find objectionable?  This means that a receptionist can refuse to book an abortion.  This means a doctor can legally fail to tell a woman that abortion is an option no matter what– even if the woman will die without one; even if the woman was brutally raped.

But, this is not just about Roe vs. Wade and abortion. Objectionable is not defined– it can be defined in any way by any employee. Therefore, it is possible that an ER nurse could refuse to treat an HIV+ patient or a receptionist could refuse to schedule the appointment. It means that doctors could refuse to treat patients whose sexual orientation or gender orientation they find questionable. It could mean pharmasists refuse to give out the morning after pill.

This is the official press release about the regulation.

This measure is scary. It is not going through congress. There is a comment period that runs until September 25.  If you think this sounds wrong… write! This is the link where you can leave your comment: or email this email address with your comments:

Here is more information from a New York Times Op-ed piece.

Published: September 18, 2008

LAST month, the Bush administration launched the latest salvo in its eight-year campaign to undermine women’s rights and women’s health by placing ideology ahead of science: a proposed rule from the Department of Health and Human Services that would govern family planning. It would require that any health care entity that receives federal financing — whether it’s a physician in private practice, a hospital or a state government — certify in writing that none of its employees are required to assist in any way with medical services they find objectionable.

Laws that have been on the books for some 30 years already allow doctors to refuse to perform abortions. The new rule would go further, ensuring that all employees and volunteers for health care entities can refuse to aid in providing any treatment they object to, which could include not only abortion and sterilization but also contraception.

Health and Human Services estimates that the rule, which would affect nearly 600,000 hospitals, clinics and other health care providers, would cost $44.5 million a year to administer. Astonishingly, the department does not even address the real cost to patients who might be refused access to these critical services. Women patients, who look to their health care providers as an unbiased source of medical information, might not even know they were being deprived of advice about their options or denied access to care.

The definition of abortion in the proposed rule is left open to interpretation. An earlier draft included a medically inaccurate definition that included commonly prescribed forms of contraception like birth control pills, IUD’s and emergency contraception. That language has been removed, but because the current version includes no definition at all, individual health care providers could decide on their own that birth control is the same as abortion.

The rule would also allow providers to refuse to participate in unspecified “other medical procedures” that contradict their religious beliefs or moral convictions. This, too, could be interpreted as a free pass to deny access to contraception.

Many circumstances unrelated to reproductive health could also fall under the umbrella of “other medical procedures.” Could physicians object to helping patients whose sexual orientation they find objectionable? Could a receptionist refuse to book an appointment for an H.I.V. test? What about an emergency room doctor who wishes to deny emergency contraception to a rape victim? Or a pharmacist who prefers not to refill a birth control prescription?

The Bush administration argues that the rule is designed to protect a provider’s conscience. But where are the protections for patients?

The 30-day comment period on the proposed rule runs until Sept. 25. Everyone who believes that women should have full access to medical care should make their voices heard. Basic, quality care for millions of women is at stake.

Sleazy people


A lot of sleazy people find my site. I have come to accept that this is the reality of the way search engines–and the internet in general–work. I am fairly sure I do not give them the information they want.  I have commented about the random, and sometimes gross or sleazy, ways that people find my site via search engines in Who are you people? and Google: a tool or just a randomizer?

Another way that blogs pick up readers is when another blog “links” to them.  For example, when I tell you to send luck to Looky Daddy, or congratulate Mamacita Chilena for selling her photography to the embassy, or practice your spanish with Julieta, I am linking to them. Usually I am trilled when people link to me.  It is a great way to increase traffic, make new blog-friends, and get a different perspective.

That said, today I was not so happy!  I have had over 203 hits in just a few hours on my Is Chile having a sexual revolution? blog.  When I looked at my stats, I realized that the majority of them were all coming from one reference site. In fact, the site has jumped to #7 in all time referrals (with 143 referrals) to my site behind (498 referrals), (474 referrals), (279 referrals), (246 referrals), (189 referrals), and (165 referrals).

I decided to check it out as it was not a blog I was familiar with.  Turns out that it is an online chatboard for where to find prostitutes in South America and reviews thereof.  Needless to say– eww!  Now, I already get a lot of these people on their own.  And, yes, I do talk about prostitution in Chile.  But still.  And, my blog is right their on the board.

So, since I can’t do anything about it besides gripe (or give up blogging), I decided to put an update on the article.  In case you are too lazy to scroll down the page (and because I think it is important enough to post twice), here it is:


For the hundreds of you who are finding this link of the conversation board on where to find the best hookers and hook-ups in South America, I want to point out that the below article is about clubs for teens. If you are a US citizen and go abroad and have sex with a minor you can be prosecuted back in the United States under the PROTECT act. In fact, one of the earliest cases tried and won was against a US man who went to Chile and had sex with minors.

***End of Update***

Independence, democracy and 9/11


The cueca is the national dance of Chile.  Since today we celebrate Chilean Independence–actually, in Chile they will celebrate all weekend–I thought I would share this video so you can not only see cueca, but also learn something about its history.

Sting also has a song known as “Cueca Solo”.  If you were wondering- yes, the video is about Chile and no, cueca is not the central part in either music or dance.  But, it is an interesting cometary on the 17 year dictatorship and all the people that went (and still are) disappeared.

Emily has already talked about why September 11th is a big day in Chilean history. Basically, 9/11/1973 is the day that Pinochet and the army overthrew Allende’s government. Like 9/11 in the US, this is a day that brings up strong emotions for Chileans on both side of the conflict: those who see Pinochet as their savior and those who see him as an evil dictator.

For me, I have always been moved by the final speech given by Allende as the Moneda (main government building he was holed up in) was being bombed.  These were the his final words to his supporters over the only radio that the army had not managed to dismantle or take over.  Like a captain going down with his ship, Allende gave his life defending Chilean democracy. Click on his photo below to hear the speech.

And, in case you don’t speak Spanish.  Here is the transcription:

My friends,

Surely this will be the last opportunity for me to address you. The Air Force has bombed the antennas of Radio Magallanes.

My words do not have bitterness but disappointment. May they be a moral punishment for those who have betrayed their oath: soldiers of Chile, titular commanders in chief, Admiral Merino, who has designated himself Commander of the Navy, and Mr. Mendoza, the despicable general who only yesterday pledged his fidelity and loyalty to the Government, and who also has appointed himself Chief of the Carabineros [paramilitary police].

Given these facts, the only thing left for me is to say to workers: I am not going to resign! Placed in a historic transition, I will pay for loyalty to the people with my life. And I say to them that I am certain that the seeds which we have planted in the good conscience of thousands and thousands of Chileans will not be shriveled forever.

They have force and will be able to dominate us, but social processes can be arrested by neither crime nor force. History is ours, and people make history.

Workers of my country: I want to thank you for the loyalty that you always had, the confidence that you deposited in a man who was only an interpreter of great yearnings for justice, who gave his word that he would respect the Constitution and the law and did just that. At this definitive moment, the last moment when I can address you, I wish you to take advantage of the lesson: foreign capital, imperialism, together with the reaction, created the climate in which the Armed Forces broke their tradition, the tradition taught by General Schneider and reaffirmed by Commander Araya, victims of the same social sector who today are hoping, with foreign assistance, to re-conquer the power to continue defending their profits and their privileges.

I address you, above all, the modest woman of our land, the campesina who believed in us, the mother who knew our concern for children. I address professionals of Chile, patriotic professionals who continued working against the sedition that was supported by professional associations, classist associations that also defended the advantages of capitalist society. I address the youth, those who sang and gave us their joy and their spirit of struggle. I address the man of Chile, the worker, the farmer, the intellectual, those who will be persecuted, because in our country fascism has been already present for many hours — in terrorist attacks, blowing up the bridges, cutting the railroad tracks, destroying the oil and gas pipelines, in the face of the silence of those who had the obligation to act. They were committed. History will judge them.

Surely Radio Magallanes will be silenced, and the calm metal instrument of my voice will no longer reach you. It does not matter. You will continue hearing it. I will always be next to you. At least my memory will be that of a man of dignity who was loyal to his country.

The people must defend themselves, but they must not sacrifice themselves. The people must not let themselves be destroyed or riddled with bullets, but they cannot be humiliated either.

Workers of my country, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will overcome this dark and bitter moment when treason seeks to prevail. Go forward knowing that, sooner rather than later, the great avenues will open again and free men will walk through them to construct a better society.

Long live Chile! Long live the people! Long live the workers!

These are my last words, and I am certain that my sacrifice will not be in vain, I am certain that, at the very least, it will be a moral lesson that will punish felony, cowardice, and treason.

Santiago de Chile, 11 September 1973

In a post 9/11 world (both Chilean and US), as we celebrate independence, I have just one last thought to share: if you really support the idea of democracy, as the US government claims to do, it means supporting democracy even when your candidate isn’t choosen or you don’t approve of a government style.  Also, this can only help to underline the importance of everyone who can to vote in the upcoming US election– and hopefully get the republications out and give us the change we need.

Sexual revolution or not so much??


Please read the last post and the New York Times’ article and slide show to have some context about my thoughts.

This has taken me a bit longer as the amount of hits I got on the last post makes me a little nervous. On the other hand, this somehow has not motivated me to improve my thoughts. In the meantime, Heather has posted her thoughts. Abby has too. 

Personally, I think that the sexuality and sexual promiscuity of Chilean youth is more blatant, in-your-face today than it was in the past. The media has had a field day trying to understand the new “urban tribes” and the underground parties. There has definitely been a decline in long term relationships and a serge in hooking up with strangers (or at least the idea of these has gained prominence). However, I am not sure that there is really more sex than before or that Chile was a sexually conservative country to begin with.

The New York Times’ article refers to “old” Chile as one of the most conservative countries in Latin America. I can see if someone just stopped by for a day or looked at the written laws of the country that they could think this. The country is more conservative in its color pallet than many Latin American countries, such as Dominican Republic or Guatemala. Grays and blacks abound; loud patterned clothing is rare. Housing, while colorful, is not flamboyant. Additionally, the laws of country reflect a conservative, religious, political view point. Up until 4 years ago divorce was illegal; people had to seek annulments. Abortion is still illegal. Sex education in the schools continues to be non-existing or inadequate. Teen pregnancy, while it may have risen among youth under 15, has been a huge issue for decades.

With the internet and these under 18-parties, kids have more open spaces to explore. Sexuality is being questioned and discovered. I am not arguing that the spaces are not the start of a sexual revolution. However, I think that the idea that the country was sexually conservative in the past is absorbed. I was a high school student in the 1990’s in Chile and in the US. My high school class in the states had 1 or 2 pregnancies out of 116 students. My high school in Chile had 5 or 6 pregnancies out of 90 students. Part of the problem is lack of accurate information about sex in Chile stemming from a lack of adequate sex ed in schools. The other problem is a lack of access to birth control. Free condoms are not available in Chile, pharmacists can choose to not distribute birth control. or, in smaller areas, can report to parents when students buy birth control.

I think the gut reaction that a lot of people have when they read the New York Times article is too worry about STDs. However, this risk, and the risk that people faced in my adolescence and before that, would be decreased if adequate, age-appropriate, sexual education was provided starting in elementary school.

Overall, I see nothing wrong with the trends. I think it has been particularly helpful for youth that do not traditionally fit in and have more questioning. I do, however, think that it is incredibly dangerous to not equip youth with adequate sex ed. Abstinence ed is not enough. Hoping they are getting enough and accurate information at home is not enough. Chile needs to get behind a comprehensive sex ed program before the 0.3% HIV infection rate and other STD infection rates increase.

Other posts of mine that might be of interest:

Human Rights News: US: Congress Acts to Prosecute Recruiters of Child Soldiers


US: Congress Acts to Prosecute Recruiters of Child Soldiers: No safe haven for exploiters of Children

(New York, September 15, 2008) – New legislation adopted on September 15, 2008 will permit the United States to prosecute foreign military commanders who recruit child soldiers abroad, Human Rights Watch said today. The Child Soldiers Accountability Act passed the House of Representatives unanimously on September 8 and was adopted by the Senate today.

The law makes it a federal crime to knowingly recruit or use soldiers under the age of 15 and permits the United States to bring charges under the law against both US citizens and non-citizens who are in the United States. The law imposes penalties of up to 20 years, or up to life in prison if death results, and allows the United States to deport or deny entry to individuals who have knowingly recruited children as soldiers.

“The exploitation of children as soldiers persists in many armed conflicts because child recruiters are rarely held accountable,” said Jo Becker, children’s rights advocate for Human Rights Watch. “This law tells military commanders worldwide that they cannot recruit children into their forces and then seek safe haven in the United States.”

Children are currently used in armed conflicts in at least 17 countries. Recruiters prey upon children, who are often the most vulnerable potential recruits and the most susceptible to threats and coercion. Child soldiers are used as combatants, porters, guards and spies, and for other duties.

The recruitment and use of children as soldiers was recognized in 1998 as a war crime under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. In 2007, four former military commanders from Sierra Leone were convicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone for recruiting and using children as soldiers. Rebel and military commanders from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda have also been charged under the International Criminal Court with recruiting and using child soldiers, though none have yet gone to trial.

“International tribunals are beginning to prosecute individuals for recruiting child soldiers, but almost no national governments have done so,” said Becker. “The United States is giving real leadership to efforts to end the use of child soldiers.”

Senator Richard Durbin authored the bipartisan bill, which he introduced together with Senators Tom Coburn, Russell Feingold, and Sam Brownback.

Countries in which children are known to have been used in hostilities between 2004 and 2007 include: Afghanistan, Burma, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Nepal, Philippines, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand, and Uganda.

Please visit Human Rights Watch for more information about this story and stories like it from around the world.

Is Chile having a sexual revolution?



For the hundreds of you who are finding this link of the conversation board on where to find the best hookers and hook-ups in South America, I want to point out that the below article is about clubs for teens. If you are a US citizen and go abroad and have sex with a minor you can be prosecuted back in the United States under the PROTECT act. In fact, one of the earliest cases tried and won was against a US man who went to Chile and had sex with minors.

***End of Update***

The New York Times thinks so; I do not.

My response will be tomorrow, but for now check out what the Times has to say:

The photo essay. Great photos, interesting commentary.

And the article:

In Tangle of Young Lips, a Sex Rebellion in Chile

Tomas Munita for The New York Times

Parties in Chile encourage teenagers to “poncear,” or make out with as many people as they can.

Published: September 12, 2008

SANTIAGO, Chile — It is just after 5 p.m. in what was once one of Latin America’s most sexually conservative countries, and the youth of Chile are bumping and grinding to a reggaetón beat. At the Bar Urbano disco, boys and girls ages 14 to 18 are stripping off their shirts, revealing bras, tattoos and nipple rings.

The place is a tangle of lips and tongues and hands, all groping and exploring. About 800 teenagers sway and bounce to lyrics imploring them to “Poncea! Poncea!”: make out with as many people as they can.

And make out they do — with stranger after stranger, vying for the honor of being known as the “ponceo,” the one who pairs up the most.

Chile, long considered to have among the most traditional social mores in South America, is crashing headlong into that reputation with its precocious teenagers. Chile’s youths are living in a period of sexual exploration that, academics and government officials say, is like nothing the country has witnessed before.

“Chile’s youth are clearly having sex earlier and testing the borderlines with their sexual conduct,” said Dr. Ramiro Molina, director of the University of Chile’s Center for Adolescent Reproductive Medicine and Development.

The sexual awakening is happening through a booming industry for 18-and-under parties, an explosion of Internet connectivity and through Web sites like Fotolog, where young people trade suggestive photos of each other and organize weekend parties, some of which have drawn more than 4,500 teenagers. The online networks have emboldened teenagers to express themselves in ways that were never customary in Chile’s conservative society.

“We are not the children of the dictatorship; we are the children of democracy,” said Michele Bravo, 17, at a recent afternoon party. “There is much more of a rebellious spirit among young people today. There is much more freedom to explore everything.”

The parents and grandparents of today’s teenagers fought hard to give them such freedoms and to escape the book-burning times of Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship. But in a country that legalized divorce only in 2004 and still has a strict ban on abortion, the feverish sexual exploration of the younger generation is posing new challenges for parents and educators. Sex education in public schools is badly lagging, and the pregnancy rate among girls under 15 has been on the rise, according to the Health Ministry.

Indeed, adolescent sexuality has changed throughout Latin America, Dr. Ramiro said, and underlying much of the newfound freedom is an issue that societies the world over are grappling with: the explosion of explicit content and social networks on the Internet.

Chilean society was shaken last year when a video of a 14-year-old girl eagerly performing oral sex on a teenage boy on a Santiago park bench was discovered on a video-hosting Web site. The episode became a national scandal, stirring finger-pointing at the girl’s school, at the Internet provider — at everyone, it seemed, but the boys who captured the event on a cellphone and distributed the video.

Chile’s stable, market-based economy has helped to drive the changes, spurring a boom in consumer spending and credit unprecedented in the country’s history. Chile has become Latin American’s biggest per-capita consumer of digital technology, including cellphones, cable television and Internet broadband accounts, according to a study by the Santiago consulting firm Everis and the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Navarra in Spain.

Chileans are plugged into the Internet at higher rates than other South Americans, and the highest use is among children ages 6 to 17. Therein lies a central factor in the country’s newfound sexual exploration, said Miguel Arias, a psychologist and head of the Santiago consulting firm Divergente.

Fotolog, a photo-sharing network created in the United States, took off in the last two years in this country. Today Chile, which has a population of 16 million, has 4.8 million Fotolog accounts, more than any other country, the company says. Again, children ages 12 to 17 hold more than 60 percent of the accounts.

Party promoters use Fotolog, as well as MSN Messenger, to organize their weekend gatherings, inviting Fotolog stars — the site’s most popular users, based on the number of comments they get — to help publicize the parties and attend as paid V.I.P.’s. Many of the partygoers use their online nicknames exclusively, and some of the wildest events are dominated by teenagers who call themselves the “Pokemones,” with their multiple piercings, angular and pressed hair, and devil-may-care attitude.

Dr. Arias did a study of the Fotolog phenomenon, scrutinizing the kinds of photos teenagers are posting, even the angles and distances of the pictures — all of which are part of an “identifiable” language, he said. “The kids of today are expressing their sexuality in erotic ways for the whole world to see.”

That online world also carries over to Santiago’s parks, plazas and the afternoon parties, where teenagers go to discover the physical side of their digital flirtations. At the Bar Urbano disco on a Friday afternoon, a 17-year-old boy, Claudio, danced with Francisca Durán, also 17, whom he had just met, and soon the two were kissing and rubbing their bodies together. They posed eagerly for photos, sucking each other’s fingers as Claudio put his hands under the girl’s T-shirt. Within minutes they separated and he began playing with the hair of another girl. Soon, they, too, were kissing passionately. Claudio, who declined to give his last name, made out with at least two other girls that night.

“Before, someone would meet and fall in love and start dating seriously here; at a party today, you meet like three people and make out with all three,” said Mario Muñoz, 20, co-owner of Imperio Productions, which organizes some of the larger 18-and-under parties.

“There are very few kids having serious relationships,” he said, an observation shared by some doctors trying to reduce teenage pregnancy here.

On a recent Saturday, about 1,500 teenagers piled into the cavernous Cadillac Club, another downtown disco, for Imperio Productions’ weekly event. The partygoers, many no more than five feet tall, lined up at the bar to buy orange Fanta and Sprite, wearing oversize sunglasses.

Not too long ago, Mr. Muñoz and his brother Daniel were teenagers attending such parties themselves. Now they defend their parties as good, clean fun. Alcohol is not allowed, and cigarettes are not sold, though smoking was widespread among the teenagers at the Cadillac Club. Security guards monitor bathrooms and regularly throw out boys whose groping crosses the line — if the girls complain.

The Muñoz brothers said that party promoters feel pressure to be “hotter” than their competitors.

That includes scantily clad, older male and female dancers; strip shows that hold back just enough to remain legal; and party names intended to titillate, like “What would you do in the dark?” On this night, dancing was interrupted for a “slapping” contest onstage in which a boy, pulled randomly from the crowd, was blindfolded and had his arms held behind his back. A lineup of girls and boys took turns slapping him, with the final blow delivered by a heavyset D.J. that sent the slender boy flying across the stage. As he rubbed his reddened face, the boy got his reward: the chance to make out with the girl of his choice in public to the screams of other teenagers.

“Everything starts with the kiss,” Nicole Valenzuela, 14, said during a break from dancing at the Cadillac Club.

“After the kiss follows making out, and after that, penetration and oral sex,” she added. “That’s what’s going on, sometimes even in public places.”

Her mother, Danitza Geisel, a 34-year-old sex therapist, said in an interview that she did not worry about her daughter’s attending the parties and, expressing a somewhat contrarian view among academics here, she said the current generation of teenagers was no more promiscuous than previous ones. But Ms. Geisel lamented the dearth of sex education in Chile.

The parents of most adolescents today never received formal sex education. Chile’s first public school programs were put in place at the end of the 1960s. But after the 1973 military coup, the Pinochet government ordered sex education materials destroyed, and moral conservatism took hold. It was not until 20 years later, in 1993, that a new sex curriculum was introduced in the schools. Even so, by 2005, 47 percent of students said they were receiving sex education only once or twice a year, if at all. And now educators say they are struggling to keep up with the avalanche of sexual information and images on the Internet.

“Of course we are not happy with that,” said María de la Luz Silva, head of the sexual education unit of the Education Ministry. She said that the explosion of Internet access had created a “tremendous cultural breach” that was straining the limits of educators, but added that the ministry was putting in place a new sex education curriculum this year to better “protect” children.

For now, Chile’s teenagers are making decisions on their own.

“This is about being alive,” Cynthia Arellano, 14, said after the Bar Urbano party. “It is all about dancing, laughing, changing the words of the songs to something dirty.”