Obstinence Only Education

It's my religious right to allow my toddler to set herself on fire and she'll live with the consequences.

It’s my religious right to allow my toddler to set herself on fire and she’ll live with the consequences.

Giving advice is one of those things. I’m not sure, exactly, why people come to me for counsel, but I definitely like telling people what to do, and usually they find my words enlightening. So…sometimes I like to seek out and answer strangers’ questions on the Internet.

Every time I find myself on some site where people are asking for advice, I end up giving desperate teenagers straight talk sex education, because kids in this country seem woefully uninformed about birth control, pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, not to mention their basic sexual rights as human beings. It’s surprising how ignorant some of these kids are. They definitely shouldn’t be having sex at all, but since they’re going to do it anyway, it behooves them to go at it armed with all the information they need to do it safely.

Why are they so woefully ignorant?

Abstinence only education is an oxymoron. The vast majority of Americans will have premarital sex. Most of them will do so for the first time before they’re 21. Half of them will do so by the time they’re 17. Some of them are younger. The ones who’ve learned to protect their bodies and respect themselves will learn and grow and stay safe throughout their experiences. The ones who have been taught nothing will end up like this. Or this. Or this. Because one of the most harmful things you can do to a child’s psyche is alienate that child from their body.

People like to have sex because, if you do it right, sex is awesome. But to do it right, you need to start with the right knowledge, and that information takes years to acquire. Toddlers need honest information about their bodies, and so do grade school kids, and so do teenagers. It’s a long conversation. If you think that you are somehow protecting your family by not having it, try checking those 3 links in the last paragraph again.

People who receive abstinence only education are much more likely to experience unplanned pregnancies and contract STIs. The only proven way to reduce the incidence of abortion in any community is to ensure that everyone receives comprehensive sex ed and access to affordable birth control.

Or, conversely, you could hide your head under a false pretext and pretend not to notice when things start catching fire.

6 thoughts on “Obstinence Only Education

  1. Terrie

    Love this. I co-edit a social justice-oriented website – peoplesworld.org – and would love to repost this with cartoon. Let me know if that interests you.

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