It started with an article on Time talking about the rise in teen pregnancies and abortions, and I thought, “Well, duh.” A lot of school districts, these days, are making abstinence-only programs mandatory, whether due to the funding they receive for them, or their own moral agenda.
(Speaking of which, I find it morally abhorrent and, frankly, disgusting that a group of physicians have taken the side of abstinence-only and are pushing such utter bullshit. Like their idea that having sex outside of marriage keeps you from building character and leaves you feeling used or worthless. I’m sure they’re not the first, and they probably won’t be the last. But from where I sit, taking the moral high road on such a subject goes directly against their station. Doctors are menders of the physical, not the spiritual, and would do well to remember that. But that’s just my opinion.)
Parents, I’m going to tell you something. You’re not going to like what I have to say, but hear me out, okay?
If you have a child over the age of thirteen, the chances are good that he or she has, at the very least, considered becoming sexually active. It’s rather likely that he or she has already been to third base on many occasions. And in many cases, they’ve probably slid into home at least once.
Most of us were doing it. What makes you think our kids aren’t? And there’s nothing wrong with it, as long as they’re responsible about it.
I lost my virginity a week before my sixteenth birthday, but I was a rare breed in my high school. All my friends had lost theirs at least the year before. I had trouble getting and keeping boyfriends because I was petrified of having sex. When I finally gave in, I thought I’d met the love of my life. But most of the stores around my house wouldn’t sell condoms to kids and approaching my parents about sex and birth control was next to impossible. So we tried the “pull and pray” method. It failed.
Young, dumb and full of cum.
Reading about the rise in teen pregnancy (Though I’m confused as to why we’re just getting 2006’s results in 2010.) lead me to an article from last year about the war over sex education.
I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this article. On the one hand, I’m nodding along, saying this comprehensive sex education program, referred to as “abstinence first” or “abstinence plus”, is better than “abstinence-only”, and it’s certainly better than nothing. It addresses the fact that telling a teen no makes the act more enticing and doesn’t pretend to believe they aren’t going to do it regardless of what they’re told. And it gives teens factual information about contraception and STDs (or STIs, as they’re now called).
But this right here (from page 3) kind of bothers me:
“The older programs were less likely to deliver a clear message about behavior,” says Douglas Kirby, a neutral analyst who has studied sex-education programs for more than three decades. “It was, ‘Here are the facts, here are the pros and cons. You decide what’s right for you.'” By contrast, he explains, the effective programs these days “have a very clear message that not having sex is the safest choice. They put emphasis on skill-building and role-playing, they teach how to use condoms, and they encourage young people not to have sex.”
Now, I realize that compromise is necessary to be sure we’re doing right by our kids. If a program leans too far one way or the other, neither side is going to agree with it. But I’m not sure giving a moral bent to sex education is the way to go. And I’m not the only one who sees a problem with these methods.
I want to believe that the slogan “Self-Respect: The Ultimate Contraceptive” means that having self-respect should spur you to use protection, but it sounds more like “No self-respecting person would have sex before marriage.” to me. And that’s kind of not the message I want my kids to hear. But then, I don’t hold to the belief that sex is sacred to marriage, either. And I certainly don’t think someone outside of my family, and especially not their public school (Let’s not forget about separation of church and state.), should be teaching them a moral code I don’t adhere to. The thought kind of disgusts me, actually.
It’s not even a question, in my mind. At least until parents have the time and know how to educate their children properly – and maybe even after that – sex education should be mandatory in schools. Someone has got to give these kids the tools they need to survive. While the vast majority of that responsibility falls on the parent, at least some of it falls to the school district, too. We do, after all, look to them educate our children in areas that we, ourselves, are inadequate teachers.
The author closed with:
Jewels Morris-Davis is the embodiment of why it’s so important to get it right. Thanks to her work with Kristen Jordan over the past few years, Jewels is a girl transformed. Sitting in a school office in a hoodie, with a gray-and-white-striped scarf around her neck, she projects a fierce confidence. “I don’t need anyone to tell me I’m beautiful,” she says, eyes flashing. “I know I’m beautiful.” Jewels runs the 400 m on the track team and is on the cheerleading squad. And she’s broken out of her family’s cycle with a whole new set of goals. “I’m going to be the first one in my family to graduate from high school,” vows Jewels. “I’m going to college. And then I’ll get a job. And then I want to be married”–she pauses for emphasis–“with no kids.”
And I couldn’t help but shake my head. This poor child has had a life decision made for her by the unfortunate circumstance of a rough family life and a moral bent the school, from where I sit, has no business teaching.
It’s great that she plans to refrain from pregnancy until after she’s made a name for herself in the world. That decision in and of itself may ensure her life’s success. And I’ll be the first to admit that there are far too many people in the world. Unruly, attention-starved children drive me just as crazy as the next person. But Jewels might not have made the decision to never have kids without her family’s situation and this program. Here’s hoping she takes another look at it once she’s followed her dream, and makes the decision based on her own desires, and not other people’s beliefs.
But what do you guys think? Abstinence-only? Abstinence first? Just plain “Be responsible and safe.”? Let us know.