May 21, 2003

Abstinence. It's Enough. NOT! One

Abstinence. It's Enough. NOT!

One thing that's driven me butt-assed buggy about the Bush II administration is their insistence that sexual education in schools should be limited to "abstinence only." To me, this makes about as much sense as ignoring something in the hopes it will go away.

For the past two mornings, while driving to work, I've heard the same commercial featuring young-sounding folks talking about how they're choosing abstinence. It's pretty catchy, in a totally shortsighted sort of way. "Holding hands. It's enough." Having fun. It's enough." Being friends. It's enough." "Smoking crack and having a threesome. It's enough." Whoops. scratch that last one.

Now, I'm not bashing on the idea of abstinence here. Obviously, it's the best choice if you want to ensure that you're not a father or mother at the age of 16. But, since when do 16 year-olds consistently make the best choice? When strange and wonderful hormones start swimming in the bodies of developing teens, common sense goes out the backdoor faster than a repairman from the house of a cheating wife when the hubby comes home unexpectedly. Abstinence. Yay. Great. But. . .

We're now far into Bush Jr's first term, and we learn that, shock and forsooth, Study: Teens not waiting to have sex.

Waiting to have sex is a nice idea, teenagers say, but they believe hardly anyone does it. Many teens, particularly boys, feel pressure to have sex, and they say drugs and alcohol often lead to sex — often without condoms.

Fascinating. So, in other words, not much has changed since I was in high school all those many years ago.

The problem with folks who rail against the concept of sexual education in the schools, I believe, is that they labor under the belief that sex ed somehow means the teacher stands in front of the class and pairs students up for some good old copulation, and then goes up and down the aisles pointing out faults in their technique.

Real, honest-to-goodness sexual education, education that doesn't just preach "Sex. You shouldn't do that," doesn't encourage sex, as many conservatives claim. I had sex ed in high school. In fact, my father was my sex ed teacher, so I was surrounded by sex ed material at school and at home, and I'm here to tell you that nothing takes the mystery and excitement out of sex faster than seeing pictures of assorted venereal diseases and having to take tests on the reproductive systems of men and women.

"Get those blasted mammary glands and areolas away from me woman! And, take your labia majora and labia minora and your cervix and your fallopian tubes and your whole freakin' uterus with you! Can't you see I'm studying here!"

Obviously, I'm being a tad silly here. No amount of sexual education can squash the reproductive urges of hormone-laden teens, but comprehensive sex ed does set reasonable common sense boundaries for teens who choose to wrestle in the bedsheets. Namely, it dispells all those sex myths like "occasionally going without a condom is okay" and that "pulling out prevents pregnancy." It explains the biology of sex and reproduction, and why little Richie has a face full of acne and a raging boner in math class. It takes the mystery out of sex and shows teens who don't choose abstinence how to take some semblance of control over their bodies even when they can't control their hormones.

Is sex ed foolproof? Of course not. Teens will continue to get pregnant. But, which would you rather have: a teen sent forth in the world knowing nothing but abstinence, or a teen who understands how sex and reproduction works and how to protect themselves should the need arise? Or, to put it another way. . .

Abstinence. It's enough


Comprehensive sexual education that explains sexual biology and the consequences of bad sexual choices and how to prevent them. It's enough.


Posted by Ryan at May 21, 2003 09:53 AM
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