When you take “education” out of “sex education”, what you have left is …

While my students are taking their final exams, I’ve been catching up with the news online. Here’s an opinion piece from the Greenville News talking up abstinence-only sex “education”:

A 2007 Zogby International poll showed parents prefer abstinence education over comprehensive sex education by a 2 to 1 margin. In addition, a 2007 survey by the S.C. Palmetto Family Council and the University of South Carolina found that 83 percent of white parents and 72 percent of black parents believe schools should emphasize abstinence as the first and best option for youth.

Of course, just because something sounds good to people doesn’t necessarily mean that it actually works or is realistic. But if you’re wanting to know how well abstinence-only works, you don’t have to look hard to find out. The current administration has very heavily favored abstinence-only for a number of years now. The New York Times reports on how well that’s been working out for us.

But a landmark study recently failed to demonstrate that [abstinence-only programs] have any effect on delaying sexual activity among teenagers, and some studies suggest that they may actually increase pregnancy rates.

Teen pregnancy rates are going up … for the first time in fifteen years. Guess that taking the “education” out of “sex education” didn’t work out too well, did it?

One Response to “When you take “education” out of “sex education”, what you have left is …”

  1. Billy (A Liberal Disabled Vet) says:

    There is a family up our street. The family is VERY catholic (even down to the discarded bathtub shrine around the jesus statue in the back yard). Catholic school, the whole works. They do not ‘believe’ in sex education other than, don’t do ‘it’. Nobody ever said what ‘it’ was. As far as the parents were concerned, the first time their kid will know about sex is the day they sit down with the (celibate) preacher for a pre-marital chat.

    The 13-year-old girl had a boyfriend. The parents said, aw, isn’t that cute. The little girls monthly friend did not appear. Mom took her to the doctor. Yup, you guessed it. Knocked up higher than a kite.

    Mom handled it well. Over the next three weeks, she kept introducing into the conversation with Dad items about girls getting into trouble. Dad had no clue. Finally, one day, she cornered him and asked him flat out what the parents should do if a young girl gets a little bit preggers. Dad said thta the parents should support the girl, raise the child as their own, and have a talk with her about responsibility. Then he asked, why do you ask?

    Mom restrained Dad in the bedroom ’til he was calmed down. They sat down and talked with the 13-year-old mother to be. She said, in all honesty, “We didn’t know that putting his thing in there was sex.”

    The now have a three year old grandson (beautiful toddler), a daughter who is finishing school and planning to go to college, and the three younger daughters have all had sex-ed at the public school they now go to, and at home, Dad has even gotten age appropriate books WITH ILLUSTRATIONS (tastefully done, mind you) to make sure that the younger girls also know that “putting his thing in there” really is sex and really does result in babies.

    The current trend to absinthe only sex education (sorry, that’s abstinence) really is harmful at many levels. A good sex-ed program at school and understanding parents who are willing to be adult about the subject will work. Not every time, but it does worl.