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WHAT “SEX ED” DIDN’T TELL YOU —
BUT YOU STILL NEED TO KNOW
In American schools today, so-called “sex education” programs have proven themselves to be a massive failure, one that does a great disservice to our young people. There are many reasons why this is the case, but none of these reasons excuse the sorry state these programs are in. Often times, these programs (a) are only taught for one week out of the school year, (b) are frequently ended completely by the ninth grade (just when many children are starting to need that information the most), and (c) only cover the most basic aspects of biology, with absolutely no attention paid to the emotional and psychological aspects of sexuality, or the nuances of interpersonal relationships. With this essay, I hope to arm America’s teenagers with much more of the information they need to make the correct decisions regarding their emerging sexuality.
Often times, boys and girls are separated for these lessons. The only theory I can think of that would support doing this is that the adults in charge believe that the boys would be excessively titillated by the presence of girls, and the girls would be offended or “grossed out” by the presence of boys. If anything, I think that said adults are only serving to reinforce these stereotypes, and it would be quite helpful to youngsters to have a controlled, yet open exchange of information, thoughts, and answers between the sexes. Perhaps the parts of “sex ed” that are merely biological in nature can be kept separate for boys and girls, but anything that has to do with feelings and thoughts should be out in the open so that both boys and girls can learn what they need to understand about each other.
That said, given the unfortunate fact that these lessons are largely conducted separately, it’s probably easier for me to make my points going in only one direction at a time (i.e., aiming at only one gender at a time). With that, I will commence with the girls.
For Girls: What They Didn’t Tell You About Boys
I think sex education programs do the greatest disservice to our girls. It is girls, after all, who must in the end suffer the vast majority of the consequences for stupidity, immaturity, or non-preparedness that was at best only half their fault — and likely less. (Note that I am only talking about consensual sex here, not any form of rape.) While sex ed programs do a halfway-decent job teaching girls about the biological changes they can expect, such as the beginning of periods, the growth of breasts, and such, they give girls next to no information on how to best deal with what their male peers are feeling and thinking.
Not all boys are total “horn-dogs,” but girls do need to realize that sex is one of the foremost thoughts in the mind of the teenage boy. God (or Nature) has designed teenage boys in such a way that their lifetime sexual peak occurs around age 17 — far too young to be able to take on the responsibilities of being a parent. This probably is a carryover from caveman days, when the world population was very low and life was generally short and harsh; few people survived much beyond their 40th birthday. In order to prevent the extinction of the early human species, males had to fertilize as many females as possible in order to produce enough children who would survive long enough to reproduce themselves. (The concept of monogamy is a far more recent invention, having been first seen around the beginning of civilization 5,000 years ago.) Evolution works much more slowly than technology, though, and humans have not yet evolved toward later sexual maturity in spite of medical advances that make it possible to live 80 to 100 years.
Frankly, if the evolutionary discussion didn’t prove my point, just go study the inside of boys’ school lockers, or have a look at what’s on their bedroom walls. Posters of scantily-clad or nude centerfolds seem to be ubiquitous in the private spaces of boys (at least the ones who are straight, that is). An old joke has it that boys and young men think about sex every five seconds; honestly, that’s not too far from the truth. Furthermore, there is often an amazing level of peer pressure among boys on the topic of sex; a boy feels the need to strut his manhood in hopes of fitting in with a group, and those who can’t or don’t do this are taunted as being gay, beaten, or worse (even when they are in fact straight). The easiest way for a boy to “prove” to his peers how “manly” he is, unfortunately, is to successfully complete a sexual conquest of a girl. Pay attention to this, young ladies: chances are he doesn’t like you for who you are, but rather only for sexual purposes. Once he has had sex with you, you have fulfilled his entire purpose for you — he can go back to his buddies talking about what a great piece of ass you are, while you could very well be stuck with an unwanted pregnancy from the deal!
Boys seem to have an entire arsenal of tricks that all too frequently (and unfortunately) seem to work on girls. Among the most common are appeals to the self-esteem or self-worth problems that seem to plague teenage girls, and expectations that sex will be a reward for something. The line “If you love me, you’ll have sex with me” or some variant thereof is probably the most common trick a boy will use. It seems to be a natural part of a girl’s sexual development to run into issues with low self-esteem or self-worth at some point; both a mass media which promotes an unrealistic female body image, and a still-paternalistic society that wants women to believe their place is in the home taking care of husbands and children, play large parts in causing this phenomenon. I have already mentioned how boys reach their sexual peak within several years of puberty; they are looking for any sexual release they can get, and girls’ issues leave them vulnerable to boys’ desires to “get some.”
Girls need to face this fact: Until a boy reaches the level of emotional maturity necessary to realize that acting on his powerful urges carries potentially grave consequences for the girl involved, he will view sex as merely the act of obtaining his own release. Stated simply, he’s doing nothing but using you. It is very difficult in modern society to achieve this level of empathy much before the age of 20, and frankly, a lot of people never make it there. Once he has reached orgasm, you have already fulfilled your entire purpose to him; from that point forward, it makes no difference to him if one of the 200 million sperm he just released finds its way into your womb and meets up with one of your eggs. He’s not the one who’s going to puke every morning, gain weight, have to see an OB/GYN several times over nine months, and go through the excruciating 36-hour pain of labor — so why should he care?
Sometimes, boys do positive or favorable things for girls with the expectation that they will be rewarded for their efforts with sex. This phenomenon is usually seen among high-school students at important times of the year, such as homecoming, prom, etc.. For example, the boy or his family will take care of procuring the limo, paying for both tickets, the corsages, a small gift, etc., and maybe even the rental of a hotel ballroom for an “after-party.” Generally speaking, in such a scenario, the boy may psychologically pressure the girl, or try to give her a guilt trip, until she capitulates to his desire to have sex. The methods may be different here, but the motive and the end result are the same.
I’m not necessarily saying “do not under any circumstances have sex, ever” here, but what I am trying to do is make girls aware of the fact that boys will do anything and everything to get laid. “Sex ed” classes do a terrible-to-nonexistent job of teaching these few simple facts to girls, and American girls continue to suffer the developed world’s highest teen-pregnancy rates as a result. What girls do not know (or more accurately, are not taught) can very definitely hurt them. Combine the lack of information on boys’ motives with the relative difficulty of obtaining female contraceptives, and you have a disaster just waiting to happen.
Teenage girls, please heed the following advice: If you decide that you must have sex with a boy, you need to insist that he use a condom — and use it properly. (Directions for proper condom use come in every box. If you have to, spend the $10 to buy a 12-pack and put one on him yourself — look at it this way: it’s $10 now, or $150,000 of diapers, clothes, food, school supplies, etc. over the next 19 years.) Stop every now and then to ensure that the condom has not torn or broken; also, listen carefully during the act for bursting or popping sounds. If the condom does break, stop, have him pull out, and replace the broken condom with a new one. If he complains, you tell him, “No condom? No pussy.” While giving him oral sex instead still carries the risk of STDs, including HIV/AIDS, you can at least be sure you’re not going to become pregnant out of the deal. Even better still, buy a $5 bottle of Astroglide or K-Y Liquid and use your hand(s) to masturbate him — he’ll enjoy it just as much, and you assume almost no risk, as long as you keep his semen away from your mouth and genitalia.
Girls would also benefit from a greater knowledge of the menstrual cycle than most “sex ed” programs provide, particularly as it relates to pregnancy. While you can theoretically conceive and become pregnant at any time, that possibility is somewhat less likely during all but about 10 days of your cycle. Generally speaking, for pregnancy to occur, the egg must be fertilized while it is traveling down the fallopian tube from the ovary to the uterus; the beginning of this journey, when the egg leaves the ovary, is called ovulation. Once the egg reaches the uterus, hormonal signals tell the uterus to shed its protective lining; without the lining in place, even a fertilized egg cannot implant itself on the internal surface of the uterus, and the egg, lining, and some blood proceed to exit the body during your period.
Research has shown that sperm can survive within the female body for up to six days. Therefore, you must assume that any sexual activity beginning seven days before you ovulate (or roughly seven days past the end of your most recent period), and ending about six or seven days after you ovulate (20-21 days past your last period) carries a very good chance, if not a guarantee, of leading to pregnancy. To be even safer, you may want to avoid unprotected sex for a couple of days on either side of that time frame; obviously, the safest thing to do is to always use (or insist that the boy use) protection until you are mature enough to have a truly committed relationship. (Note that the time frames I mentioned are based on the average of a large sample of women; the length of your cycle can actually vary quite wildly, and frequently, teenage girls do experience irregular cycles. Therefore, trying to “time” unprotected sex as a method of birth control is NOT recommended for teenage girls.)
Finally, today’s “sex ed” programs teach girls almost nothing about female methods of contraception. While I am male, and therefore know little about many of these myself, I must give girls the following advice: ultimately, it is your body, and you have not only the duty, but EVERY RIGHT, to make decisions regarding your body and its functions. That is to say, if you make the choice to be sexually active, you have the right to consult your doctor about methods of birth control. Perhaps your school requires you to obtain a yearly physical exam; this is a perfect opportunity to raise questions. Note that I am not suggesting to girls that they should be sexually active; I am merely trying to mitigate the risks girls face when they make that decision.
You have many options to protect yourself against unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. Among these are “the Pill” as it is called, or its skin-patch equivalent; injectable hormonal contraceptives; diaphragms you can insert into your vagina before sex; and the so-called “female condom” (a large square piece of latex that you lay over your genitalia; as the boy inserts himself into you, he pushes some of the latex inside you, forming a barrier similar to a male condom). While “the Pill” and injectable contraceptives usually require a doctor’s prescription (and don’t protect you from STDs to boot), and diaphragms are not readily available, the “female condom” can be found under the brand name Reality at most reputable drugstores.
For Boys: What They Didn’t Tell You About Girls
As is the case with girls, boys are more often than not only taught about the changes they can expect their bodies to undergo; they are not taught some basic facts they really need to know. If boys, especially, were taught these things, the teen pregnancy and STD rates would plummet dramatically.
First, boys need to be taught that having sex with a girl doesn’t “prove” anything. Boys often feel tremendous peer pressure to “prove” their “manhood”; this can take myriad forms depending on the local sub-culture, but frequently, boys see a successful sexual conquest of a girl as a means to that end. “I’m a real man now because I screwed (fill in girl’s name here),” one of your friends may say; another may ask you, “Why haven’t you done it with her yet? Are you queer or something?” Your peers are giving you a distorted idea of what it truly means to be a man, and the challenges that involve sexual orientation (i.e., saying you’re gay if you haven’t had sex with a girl) are powerful ammunition, even when they’re totally false.
While having sex with anybody proves that you are physically capable of becoming a father, it doesn’t prove anything else. Just because you have had sex with a girl doesn’t necessarily make you straight; in fact, the boys who talk about sex with girls the most are likely the boys who are deathly afraid to admit even to themselves that they are in fact gay! (That is, deep inside they know that they are attracted to boys, but the thought scares the hell out of them, so they go to great lengths to cover that fact by boasting about how “successful” they are with girls.) If anything, getting a girl to have sex with you so that you can prove how “manly” you are actually only shows how little of a man you are; you have let other people push you into a decision you might not have wanted to make — this is a perfect hallmark of childhood!
Furthermore, in the act of having sex with a girl just so you can “prove your manhood,” you are making a mockery of not only girls, but also those of your fellow boys who are gay. I know that, as a teenage boy, you are in the sexual peak of your life; however, this gives you NO right to use a girl’s vagina for something your hand(s) can accomplish just as easily — unless you really want to assume the potential responsibility of being a father to your child, that is. To top that off, even if you’re not actively spreading the myth that boys who don’t have sex with girls must be gay, you’re serving to bolster its appearance of “truth” by your actions; this does a great deal of psychological harm to gay boys by perpetuating the myth that boys have to have sex with girls to be “normal.” Note that I am not trying to convince straight boys that having sex with other boys is “normal”; rather, I am making the point that there exist different definitions of what is normal, based on a person’s sexual orientation, and that having sex with a girl only to “prove your manhood” to other boys mocks gay boys by making them feel insecure about their own developing manhood.
There certainly exist other reasons why boys so strongly desire to have sex with girls. Perhaps the greatest of these is boys’ natural “horniness,” or physical desire for frequent release of sexual tension. As I stated above, though, the fact that you are horny or just want to get off does not justify having unprotected vaginal intercourse with a girl. God gave you two hands for many reasons, one of which is to obtain your own sexual release. He didn’t give you girls’ vaginas for merely getting off — He gave you those for when you’re emotionally, financially, and psychologically mature enough to father a child. Even if you feel you must cave in to your desires to have sex with a girl, ask her to masturbate you or give you oral sex instead; that way, you don’t run the risk of causing a pregnancy, and your STD risk is somewhat lower than in vaginal intercourse, though most certainly not eliminated.
I know that some boys will still feel some need to engage in vaginal intercourse with a girl. For those of you boys who make this choice: if you know what is good for you, you’ll use a condom, and you’ll use it properly. (You’ll find the directions printed on an insert in any box of condoms.) That means no excuses and no “accidents” — if you hear or feel the condom break, or if you very suddenly feel much more intense sensation (and you know it’s not your orgasm), pull out and stop. Even better yet, take a break every few minutes to pull out and look at the condom; if something’s not right, throw that condom away and put on a new one. If you don’t have a second condom on you after one breaks — sorry, pal, but the party’s over. You are responsible for what your sperm do, even after they leave your body; any court will hold you to that responsibility, and force you to support your child in some way. You won’t be the one who gets pregnant, but your life gets wrecked too. As I said in the section for girls, $15 will buy you a 12-pack of condoms and a small bottle of lubricant at any drugstore or grocery store; unfortunately, it won’t even begin to buy the things your baby will require over the next 19 years. Keep this in mind: is it really worth destroying your life for 15 seconds of pleasure?
Finally, I must also say a word to boys about testicular cancer; it is a disease that most frequently strikes men under 35, including teenage boys, and “sex ed” classes rarely if ever mention it. If you or your doctor catch it early, it is highly treatable and your prognosis should be very good. The secret to catching testicular cancer is regular self-exams, similar to what middle-aged women are told to do to find breast cancer. These self-exams should be done while you are in the shower or some other warm, humid place; the warmth will cause your testicles to hang lower, which will allow you to check all the way around. Carefully roll each testicle between your thumb and fingers, feeling for the presence of hard, painful lumps. (Note: Don’t confuse your epididymis, which is the “storage tubing” for your sperm, for a lump. You will find the epididymis along the back (that is, inward-facing) side of each testicle, near the top end (the end closer to your penis).) If you do find a strange lump, see a doctor; it may be cancer.
For Both Sexes: Other Things They Didn’t Tell You
“Sex ed” classes rarely, if ever, cover the diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, leaving out some of the most vital information teenagers need to have. Even condoms can’t possibly protect against every STD, though they do protect against the more virulent and/or deadly ones. A teenager who has not been taught what symptoms of STDs to look for will likely ignore the problem until it becomes painful — potentially infecting many partners in the interim.
The vast majority of STDs require some direct skin-to-skin contact for transmission. Specifically, they require contact to occur between mucous membranes (the soft, often moist tissue that covers the inside of the mouth, the vagina, the rectum and anal opening, the urethra, and the head of the penis, among others) of both partners. Even without ejaculation or a blood-to-blood pathway such as a cut or open sore, you can transmit or become infected with any of these: chancroid, chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, genital warts (also called HPV), and syphilis. However, there is good news: putting on a condom before any genital contact occurs, and making sure it is used properly, can protect you from these diseases. All of these are either bacterial or viral diseases that require direct contact, and the areas that are usually affected by these are covered when a condom is used. It would behoove you teenagers to protect yourselves against these diseases; herpes and HPV are not curable, and syphilis, if left untreated, can be fatal.
A pair of STDs require some exchange of fluid to occur for transmission. Hepatitis B and C, and HIV, are both viruses that live in bodily fluids, such as blood, semen, saliva, and vaginal lubricating secretions. They both require a path into a not-yet-infected person’s bloodstream (e.g., from semen to the woman’s blood, from vaginal secretions to the man’s blood, etc.); as such, condoms (which block the exchange of semen, vaginal secretions, and blood over the area they cover) can greatly reduce the risk of transmitting these diseases.
Two other STDs can be transmitted even without penetration or genital contact: “crabs” and scabies. Both of these are caused by lice (tiny insects) that thrive in hair follicles; they get all the food they need by burrowing into your follicles and sucking blood, and your body or pubic hairs are where they like to lay their eggs. It is their blood-sucking that causes you to suffer from an intense itch and a painful, red rash in the affected area; “crabs” is confined to the genital area, while scabies tends to target arms, legs, and the torso. You don’t even need to directly touch your partner at all to transmit “crabs” or scabies; if you have one or both, even sharing fabric items like bed sheets (and that means laying naked together in the same bed, too), clothes, towels, etc. can transmit either parasite. While “crabs” and scabies are very easily transmitted, the treatment is fortunately quite easy as well; you can kill the unwelcome visitors by using a head-lice type of shampoo such as Rid or Nix on the affected area. Generally, you will have to perform two treatments a week apart to eradicate the lice; you will also have to wash all fabric items in the home in hot water. (Whatever can’t be washed, like the mattresses, can be sprayed with a lice-killing solution made specifically for that purpose.)
The topic of homosexuality is barely broached, if at all, in the majority of “sex ed” programs. It is here where “sex ed” has suffered the most damage; a tiny minority hell-bent on enforcing their hatred and bigoted lies upon everybody else has almost completely hijacked the truth. It is as if the mere knowledge of the phenomenon’s existence will cause every last teenager in the world to become a promiscuous, HIV-positive, cross-dressing, gender-bending freak of nature, in the minds of these idiots who have used “religion” as the perfect cover for their satanic agenda.
Here is the truth. Some people are gay, and most people are straight. No choice is involved in the formation of one’s sexuality; the only place “choice” enters the equation is when some self-loathing gay people choose to repress their true desires and live a lie by pretending to be straight — often even going as far as marrying and having intercourse with somebody of the opposite sex! The direction of your most basic attractions is set long before you are even aware of your sexuality; you only become aware of what turns you on sexually after puberty. No matter what kind of image you may present to the rest of the world, your true sexual orientation (in terms of emotional and psychological attraction) is something that only you experience. That is to say, a man who is truly gay can fool the rest of the world by marrying, having kids, and so on, but he can’t fool himself — he knows deep inside that he is attracted to men — and he can’t fool the God who created him in His image.
It is my very strong belief that it is not worthwhile to seek the “cause” of homosexuality. Some people claim that poor parenting, especially by the same-sex parent, causes it; other people argue that its origin is genetic or biochemical (“too much exposure to hormones in the womb”) in nature; and still others insist that they were born gay. Other people view homosexuality as a symptom of mental illnesses such as oppositional-defiant disorder (in English, that means extreme, unhealthy rebelliousness). Honestly, none of these views can be either proven or disproven; anybody who claims otherwise is doing so to push an agenda of lies. That said, there is no use in wondering why a particular person is attracted to the same sex; they simply are gay, and that’s the one truth that transcends everything else.
While one’s sexual orientation is not something that is subject to choice, one’s behavior most certainly is. Being attracted to the same sex is a state of being; on the other hand, promiscuity, drug use, alcoholism, strange clothing or hair styles, the use of other body adornments such as piercings or tattoos, and behavior that society considers gender-inappropriate are all choices. The state of being gay has nothing to do with what choices a gay person makes. I choose to avoid risky, frequent sex; to enjoy watching football and hockey telecasts; to avoid dangerous substances; to dress in a manner that society considers appropriate for men; and to like stereotypically “male” things like fast cars. Wait a minute, you’re probably asking, those are things straight men do — so doesn’t that make you straight? Absolutely not. Some other gay men choose to have a ton of unprotected sex, to shop until they drop, and to behave or even dress in a way that society expects a woman to do — but I am no less gay than them, despite my different behaviors. Some straight men choose to enjoy ballet and theatre, to enjoy fine dining, to cry during the sad parts of movies, and to prefer figure-skating to baseball. Does engaging in those behaviors make them gay? Not at all. The fact that women turn them on is a state of being, not a choice. In spite of their choices, such men are no less straight than men who like shoot-em-up movies, chug tons of beer, and drive a monster pickup truck.
In addition to that, potentially gay or questioning teenagers need the same level of information about prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. I covered the transmission methods of the major known STDs above; there are only a few important differences gay teenagers need to know. Obviously pregnancy can’t happen, but the use of condoms for anal intercourse between two boys is still very highly recommended. The insertive partner, or “top,” is at risk of a urinary tract infection from intestinal bacteria (such nasties as E. coli can enter the urethral opening, especially just before and just after ejaculation); meanwhile, the receptive partner, or “bottom,” is at very high risk of contracting any STD the “top” has, if a condom is not used (the main function of the intestines is to absorb things into the bloodstream, and if the “top” has anything, the “bottom” is likely to get it too). As important as it is for sexually active straight teenagers to use condoms, it is perhaps even more important for sexually active gay teenagers to protect themselves.
Some teenagers will choose to avoid vaginal or anal intercourse, but may feel that having oral intercourse “isn’t really sex” and is therefore safe. While oral sex is somewhat more safe than other sexual activities, it is by no means completely safe. However, both gay and straight teenagers can reduce the risks of oral intercourse by being aware of a few simple facts and taking a few small precautions. In particular, the things I will mention here apply to the person who is providing the oral pleasure to his/her partner (i.e., the “giver”). If you know you’re going to be giving oral sex to somebody, avoid both (a) brushing your teeth, and (b) eating crunchy foods, for several hours before the act; crunchy foods and toothbrush bristles can cause tiny cuts in your gums, which make for perfect STD pathways into your bloodstream. If you have any sore spots at all inside your mouth, no matter what the cause, insist that a condom be used (or refuse to give oral sex). Finally — and this applies mostly to performing oral sex on a boy — make sure that you stretch your lips over the edges of your teeth; not only are the sharp edges incredibly painful on his most sensitive area, but repeated teeth scrapes will eventually wear away the very thin skin on his penis, causing him to bleed (and transmit or receive any STDs that may be present).
Of course, oral intercourse is safest if condoms are used; however, there are pleasure-killing issues inherent in just using any old condom for oral sex. Many condoms found in drugstores are better suited to vaginal or anal sex; that is to say, they are designed to stand up to the higher stresses imposed by thrusting. (In English, they are too thick to transmit the more subtle sensations of oral sex.) Additionally, the person giving the oral sex will almost undoubtedly dislike the latex taste; it isn’t a very pleasant taste to encounter. There is a solution to these problems, though: thin and/or flavored condoms are available from a plethora of online vendors. You can find flavors ranging from chocolate to vanilla, from mint to strawberry, and from cola to banana and grape. Based on minimal amounts of research, I was able to find UndercoverCondoms.com’s flavored condom page and CondomDepot.com’s flavored condom page. If you are under 18, or can’t obtain a credit card for some other reason, don’t despair — Rite Aid pharmacies and Radio Shack stores carry a pre-paid Mastercard® card that can be used anywhere a normal credit card is accepted. You go to the store, pay whatever amount you want on the card plus a $4.95 fee, and call a toll-free phone number to activate the card — instructions can be found in the small cardboard pamphlet you actually receive at the time of purchase. (The plastic card is mailed later.)
Though I have already alluded to this several times above, I must say that “sex ed” programs have failed teenagers by not at least partially taking former Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders’ infamous advice. While I would disagree with Dr. Elders on whether masturbation should be actively encouraged, I do believe that masturbation should be promoted as an alternative to more physically intimate forms of sexual activity. That is to say, “sex ed” programs need not push the idea on all students; but it should be emphasized to students that if they do want sexual release, masturbation (either solitary or with a partner) is the safest way to obtain it. Some students may have religious or other objections to masturbation, and they should be told that it is perfectly fine to avoid the practice; but at the same time, refusing to masturbate for whatever reason is not an excuse to engage in more physically intimate forms of sex.
I would also change the timing and duration of “sex ed” programs in schools. Currently, such programs are generally only taught during one week of the school year; while this may very well be fine for lower grades, students in the fifth grade and higher (some of whom are already hitting puberty) need more frequent instruction. Additionally, the vast majority of high schools don’t require mastery of critical sexual knowledge beyond a ninth-grade “health” class, which usually just barely touches on the topic of sex — and even then, probably doesn’t go beyond the biological aspect of sperm and eggs joining to make babies. Teenagers need to know this stuff way beyond the ninth grade; some form of “sex ed” should be required all throughout high school.
Finally, I must say a few words about the current push toward “abstinence-only” sex education. While promoting abstinence from sex outside of a committed relationship is in and of itself a good thing, extreme right-wing fringe groups have in reality decided to bury their heads (and our teenagers’ heads) in the sand and call it “abstinence-only sex education.” The simple fact is this: you can tell teenagers to abstain from sex until you turn blue in the face, but part of the emotional growth process that occurs in the teenage years is the questioning of authority. If the authority figure won’t give the teenager the full and complete truth, the teenager is highly likely to rebel against the authority figure and do the opposite thing — in this case, the teenager will likely choose to have sex, and even worse yet, won’t know what the potential consequences are.
Nothing that I have said in this essay is inconsistent with the position that teenagers should avoid sex; the only difference between what I just said and the current “abstinence-only” idea is that I accept the fact that some teenagers are going to ignore the advice, and they need to know how to avoid a potentially disastrous situation. The people pushing this “abstinence-only” idea are apparently under the delusion that (a) teenagers will heed a simple “no sex” guideline without knowing anything else, and (b) the best way to deal with a potentially embarrassing, emotionally-charged topic like sex is to merely pretend it doesn’t exist. This “Pollyanna” mentality is the root of the ignorance so many people have toward the topic of sex these days, and in this case, ignorance is most decidedly NOT bliss. Yet these radical right-wingers march onward with their ultimately self-contradictory agenda of stupidity; they claim to want to get rid of the phenomenon of abortion, yet simultaneously deny teenagers the information that would help to accomplish that goal. If the information I have provided here were to be widely used in “sex ed” programs, American society would realize significant benefits such as lower teen-pregnancy rates, lower numbers of people on welfare, fewer unwanted (and eventually abused) children, and lower crime rates. Our teenagers need to know this before they make uninformed decisions that can ruin their lives.
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