It Just Doesn’t Work

“US students attending sexual abstinence classes are no more likely to abstain from sex than those who do not, according to a new study…….”

So begins a BBC report into the effects of so-called “abstinence classes” instigated by religious organizations throughout the US and funded to the tune of $176 million per year by the US government.


Why is it so important that American teenagers should abstain from sex until they marry, given that half of US marriages end in divorce, and most likely another 25% persevere in circumstances detrimental to both partners and their offspring?

Right-wing America wants to keep its teens ignorant of sexual matters, fearing sex education could encourage them to experiment sexually, with the devastating result of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

In the 21st century it is hard to imagine anyone believing ignorance more acceptable than education. After all, wasn’t it ignorance that created the racist intolerance of the fifties? Isn’t ignorance the excuse for virtually every racist, sexist, hate crime committed in this country since time immemorial?

Education equals knowledge, and knowledge is truth – not to be confused with indoctrination, which is someone else’s truth. Therein lies the crux of this matter, and many others.

This has more to do with the parents than their offspring. It’s about their ego-based guilt and fear, rather than truly caring for the child’s welfare.

Let’s face it, sexually transmitted disease is a relative rarity in western nations and sex education is the finest way to teach prevention. Everything we do carries some risk, and that includes having sex. Teaching kids how best to minimize those risks is sensible. Attempting to enforce abstinence is not only ineffective, but stupid. The resultant ignorance means more possibility of pregnancy or STD’s, when the abstainer buckles under the weight of his/her natural desires.

And, let’s be honest, what we are discussing here is exactly that – natural desires. Probably the strongest natural desire we ever experience. Those who advocate “abstention” are telling their children to suppress the strongest emotions they will ever have, at a time when those desires are approaching their zenith.

That parents are prepared to force their offspring into such a guilt-ridden and confusing situation, says little for the love the parent holds for the child, but an awful lot about parental fears and insecurity.

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4 Replies to “It Just Doesn’t Work”

  1. Considering that our politicians have no idea whether condoms help prevent HIV infection, I’d say they need the education. I think they all need a great deal more parenting than they got.

  2. That certainly goes for more than just sex education. We have a governing/law-making body that is largely ignorant of the facts of what they govern/make laws about.

    I worry about what will happen when I start having kids. My parents/grandparents educated me about sex when I was 5. I knew about the biological processes and such. It really helped me when I hit my teens. Nothing new to learn except to experience the hormones that go along with it. 🙂

  3. PM – Less praying, more parenting.

    Flimsy – one wonders just how much of this “abstinence” business is preached under the heading, “Do as I say, not as I did.”

    Mike – you have no need to worry. You’ll educate your kids exactly as your parents/grandparents did for you.

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