Comments on the topic of Abstinence Sex Ed. by me and others from Noocular Option blog--starting with the FACTS re: World Magazine's April 26th issue on this topic.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Here's the issue:
I saw in the blade an article that had a box inset showing the age of legality for gun ownership and directions on the process for getting guns, --in article telling how Cho got his guns and ammo --the point was to discuss gun procurement in Ohio and show how easy it is in US. I personally am pretty clueless about guns and never think of having one in my purse--to me this piece of info took me one step closer to knowing how to get started on buying one to protect myself from outraged bloggers --not that I will - but it suggested the idea to me in a motivating way --information is needed to take the next step in any new endeavor.
In the case of value-neutral, non-judgmental, information-only sex ed, they move students closer to the idea to become sexually active --where to get the condom and how to use it as though it's ok for them to become sexually active in jr. high and high school--6th grade or whenever. They BELIEVE religiously in being non-judgmental about any kind of sexual activity regardless of age. The moral they will teach, believe me, is that "you CAN say no." (not you OUGHT to say no for your own good.) They will teach that "no one can tell you what to do with your body" --despite parental and church efforts to do just that --and "Don't have sex until you are ready." ABSOLUTELY a triple whammy of condonement for someone of any age or marital status to have sex.
Here's an excerpt from "safer Choices, level 1" --the comprehensive,, medically accurate curriculum that Senate democrats in Iowa voted in with the help of 3 republicans to replace their abstinence-based curriculum:
"Explain that one person will read the direction on the worksheet while the other practices unrolling a condom over two fingers." Then the reader reads to the partner with the condom,
"As soon as erection occurs...pinch the tip of the condom between thumb and forefinger to get rid of any air pockets and to create a space for the semen during ejaculation. Put the condom against the head of the erect penis..." (I hope the kids are still demonstrating on their fingers?)
The article in World magazine about this (this week's, by the way) said everyone in senate seemed embarrassed, in the hushed chamber -- the reader continued to read aloud "about the genital mechanics that occur just after two people have sex." Someone noted the senators squirmed like red-faced schoolboys. Yet, they found this to be good education for mixed-company-sex-ed with students reading to demo partners; they passed the legislation.
ACTUALLY, the study which was used for media's recent condemnation of abstinence-based sex ed, did NOT say what Planned Parenthood types claimed. Senior researcher at Mathematica Policy who did the research said they found "no evidence" that abstinence programs increase rate of unprotected sex. And they did find that the students in the program COULD identify STD's better than a control group --(they learned about diseases one gets for unprotected sex) --and they knew better than the control group that birth control pills were no protection against the STD's, only pregnancy. This was based on evaluation of 4 programs out of 100's across the nation.
THIS DATA INCLUDED SCHOOLS WHERE AGE 9-11 WERE THE ONLY ONES TO HAVE THE ABSTINENCE EDUCATION --WHICH WAS NOT REINFORCED AT OLDER AGES. tHEY WERE TESTED about their sexual activity a year later and then 5 years later without reinforcing the program in the interim. Obviously, ages 9-11 are a little young to take it all in --the value of abstinence, since the boys aren't even in puberty yet.
The research group's conclusion was not that abstinence education failed --but that "targeting youth at young ages may not be sufficient." and said their findings "provide no info on the effects such programs might have if they were implemented for high school youth or began at the earlier ages, but ALSO served youth through high school."
Safer sex lobbyists used the study dishonestly to support their ideas that condoms are the panacea, providing safety while parenthetically telling kids "of course abstinence is safer but we want you to be comfortable knowing just how to use condoms correctly." so bring on the banana demo! --or in this case the sexually explicit, 2-fingered-partner-demo with erotic explicitness about erect penises.
You say, let the parents teach the values --I say, let the parents teach their own LACK of values to counterract the sex ed if that's the case --let the parents encourage their kids with condom demonstrations and put girls on the pill. the school could tell a kid if he's convinced he's going to have pre-marital sex to go see the school nurse and let her demonstrate the banana method. Don't do it to MY kid in mixed company AT ALL --no demonstrations. You can say that condoms are a method of birth control, the only one that provides any protection against disease --but don't demonstrate and don't be morally neutral if you're going to discuss sex with MY kid on my dollar. And that's what sex educators WANT to do all too often -as they march the whole class down to planned parenthood so they'll know where to go for their sex paraphernalia and abortions.
When abortion and pill came in (70's) we had PP as the authority on sex ed and used their approaches and we saw a sea change in our culture that has continued despite abstinence education which has at least helped reinforce the parents who want morality in their youth.
The TV show "Friends" --and many like it --are examples of the cultural result of value- neutral (half-truth)liberal sex ed philosophy--schools may teach abstinence but the tv shows and movies do not --they instead give a false impression that there is no negative fall-out to promiscuous extra-marital sex --that it's the married who have troubles and kill each other and have painful divorces --but the promiscuous just bed hop gleefully without consequence. Both sides of the debate agree that the culture promotes free sex --but we don't agree what our response should be with other people's kids.
The conclusion of the research group was that a one shot sex ed dose was not enough as in these programs --that they should have reinforcment at other grade levels. Because they did conclude that where these 4 programs were used, the programs did not delay age of first intercourse for most of them nor limit number of partners. (what if the control group was a church group and the abstinence study group was an inner city group --then the similarities in onset and number of partners would be commendable --both having been taught abstinence --one at home and one at school.)
Fact is that 15 previous evaluations supported the superior effectiveness of abstinence education in reducing promiscuity, pregnancies and raising age of first intercourse--compared to control groups --and compared to the youth prior to abstinence curriculum --during PP sex ed. I remember that Teen Aid was taught in a jr. high in CA. that had an extremely high pregnancy rate in jr. high --after Teen Aid, the stats turned around.
In "MY" ideal class, they would learn also that condoms don't cover broken hearts or HPV (venereal wart potential and the cervical cancer that comes with) and that women should have annual PAPs no matter what their activity level or partner's known history --and that condoms have a percentage of failure rate that would keep you off any airplane.
In my program, the girls in separate classes would also learn how to better protect themselves from predators and rapists, and to go to hospital immediately after a rape without bathing to prevent pregnancy and catch a rapist by collecting the dna. They would learn the value of birth and nursing babies --even in late teens rather than later provides optimal protection against breast cancer --but I would give them all the reasons to delay sex until marriage and achieve some educational goals first ideally --admitting that most today don't wait for the wedding and thus take some additional risks with their relationship by not waiting. the value of monogamous marriage would be stressed --the role of functional marriage as the best mental health unit in the country for the couple and their offspring--the harm and dangers of pornography --how porn and illicit sex can become addictive and harm chances for future happiness--the fact that a male, especially, is normal if he's thinking about sex most of the time --and wanting it --but how putting off the pursuit until maturity, after education and marriage, will pay big dividends --how early sexual activity can short-circuit one's marital and educational potential --and health.
At the same time, I would tell kids that it is preferable to marry earlier rather than co- habit or sleep together --even though all acadmeic and financial goals are not met. Couples used to marry right after high school or during college, either because a baby was on the way or they didn't want one to arrive before marriage and they couldn't wait for sex --opportunity being prevalent after they had cars and lack of chaperonage in homes, colleges, and boarding houses --all of which used to promote and chaperone for chastity to protect a young lady's reputation as a virgin.
I'd give a mini-marital relationship course --not to impose on their parents but to use for themselves in the future. And encourage churches as free resources for books, etc. on marrige.
April 26, 07 --the World magazine source.
What follows is the rest of our discussion from the start-- about Nookular's cartoon of a pregnant girl in graduation gown.
For awhile, the teen pregnancy rate DID go down after abstinence education replaced value-free, morally neutral sex ed and after welfare reform said girls would not be paid for every additional baby nor supported staying home indefinitely.
Even the Montel tv show took a stand --I remember when Montel faced off with a mom on welfare with several children. She said, "if the gov't can pay to send a man to the moon, why can't they pay me to stay home and make more and more beautiful children as I do?" --and Montel said, "Why should I work my behind off to support your kids in addition to my own?" or words to that effect.
There was a lot of protest of the LBJ Great Society and the epidemic of teen moms --yet a nat'l spokesperson for Planned Parenthood told a meeting of area school board members, "We can't tell kids to wait until they are married to have sex because their parents didn't. We'd be stepping on toes." I said at that meeting, that the welfare moms I knew wish they DID have a faithful, working, loving husband to help them raise their children and that this was an ideal worth advocating and waiting for. i said i didn't think most MOms would disagree. The gentleman sniffed dismissively, giggled and said HE was still exploring his sexuality and poo-poohed the idea of waiting for marriage.
Nevertheless, the abstinence programs came in with much nation-wide grass roots effort --and stats were really good with some programs --where schools REALLY taught it effectively (TEEN AID had great stats reducing jr. high pregnancies in one CA district) --which I suspect is not being done now with our worse stats. Another program was Sex Respect. Some of them involved take home pages to share with parents.
I've never thought we needed any million dollar programs, however, to just tell people the ideals to strive for which make for stable marriages and happy futures. A Creative and resourceful health teacher/sex educator ought to be able to make up good curriculum within certain guidelines. I used to observe that most sex ed. and other education monies got spent on staff dinners for the board, administration and later, the staff, with a speaker from the Red Cross or PP.
Also contributing to the increase in teen sex activity are family-watched TV programs like Friends and Seinfeld and some reality shows--which make casual (and promiscuous) sex seem natural, commonplace, inconsequential, inevitable and harmless.
I suggest that if the stats have slipped --if we have more teen moms again--it's the culture --and perhaps the way some schools implement their sex ed programs. For awhile, they were finding that a combined church effort with abstinence pledges and the school abstinence sex ed, the youth, on average, were at least delaying onset of sexual activity by a couple of years.
posted by: Barb on Sat, 4/21 01:19 AM EDT
PS--you guys are too young to remember when GRID ( gay-related-immune deficiency, now AIDs), HPV, Herpes were the epidemics that surprised the Sexual Revolution of the 70's. Previously, nearly all the most common STD's had been curable with penicillen.
Playboy clubs and the soft-core porn magazine suddenly were respectable and mainstream among the middle and upper class businessmen; sports illustrated had their swimsuit edition; Larry Flynn and Hugh Hefner were celebrity porn kings; Sex ed was value neutral (ed. message to teens: "No one can decide for you what is right for you." Parents said, "what? not your church or parents? --it's all your choice? from a smorgasbord of options?" the liberal credo prevailed -- "no one can define morality for others."
So we saw diseases galore --teens on birth control pills, and then came the condom emphasis ---but condoms weren't very reliable. The illustration was given by abstinence advocates --would you fly an airplane that had a 20 per cent (whatever it was) failure rate in preventing pregnancy, etc.? And also, condoms can't prevent or mend broken hearts.
Sexually active teens in love who get dumped are going through their own divorces --considered to be one of the higher causes of teen suicide. We knew of an attempted suicide that left a wonderful, bright girl blind --and I understood the issue was a broken love relationship.
I know this is long --but I think it's relevant and VERY important as we talk about sex ed policy.
posted by: Barb on Sat, 4/21 01:46 AM EDT
I agree it's important to discuss sex ed. What I don't agree with is abstinence only policies. Apparently when states agree to accept fed money for these programs, they give up the option of teaching safe sex practices in unison. Now that studies have shown that abstinence-only programs don't work, I think it's important that we stop wasting taxpayer money with these programs
posted by: Chris on Mon, 4/23 12:10 PM EDT
Problem is, Chris, the other kind of sex ed (value free and often explicit) and putting daughter on the pill --were in vogue when the teen pregnancy rates were highest. So condoning, non-judgmental methods of presenting birth control methods, do not work either.
I remember seeing a sex ed film where the guy had a key to his relative's vacant apartment and he wanted his girlfriend to go there with him. And the lesson was --that they were smart and responsible to go to the drugstore and get condoms and spermicide.
Another film for jr. high showed VD germs as little animated, villainous macho soldiers with evil grins --boys would identify with them, I figured.
Another featured a teen boy who had many contacts --and he was featured as responsible and good when he found out and told all of them that he had an STD.
Another film featured all these famous people throughout history who were said to have had STD's. message: it's common --inevitable --normal.
I really wonder how they teach the abstinence material --with what enthusiasm and thoroughness. If the teacher doesn't believe in it, that will be evident.
Will the sex educator teach that early sex activity is risky to their emotional health and their ability to stay happily and monogamously married some day? that they could wear out their "perma-bondability" --like sticky tape that has been used too much.
Will they teach that 2 virgins who marry one another will likely never have an STD --(granted other rare methods of getting AIDS, etc.)
What is the message with a 6th grade or jr. high sex ed class that demonstrates how to put a condom on a banana --or says the school nurse has condoms if you think you need them. Is it good to tell youth that they are expected to say yes early in adolescence --that condoms will make them safe?
Have you heard of the Boston sex ed conventions promoting dental dams for oral sex and various ways to have orgasmic activity "safely"? Absolutely without any suggestions that promiscuous, early sex activity is just plain foolish --harmful--dangerous -short-circuiting to your potential to be happily, monogamously married some day --will they tell them that having sex early feels like divorce when you break up? that condoms can't cure a broken heart.
We know now that condoms are the only protection from disease (and some vaccinations for hepatitis and now, hpv) --and condoms aren't that reliable--and using them correctly in the throes of passion is unlikely for the inexperienced --better to avoid the experience until much later.
It is better to teach that waiting for marriage is not only possible but best for your future happiness and health. And that if you are going to risk your future, at least use condoms, get vaccinations, and consider the pill in case of condom failure--which won't prevent disease. I would also recommend teaching to girls that rape victims should go straight to the ER immediately without bathing to prevent pregnancy and identify DNA of rapist.
Dobson also said to have sex ed separate for girls and boys because there are natural barriers of privacy that can be --but should not be --eroded by co-ed sex ed. It's also embarrassing --should be embarrassing --to discuss private body parts, developing breasts and acne in front of the opposite sex when you are young and obviously going through those changes while they talk about it on the films.
I remember the product of co-ed sex ed who went around the school bus asking 6th grade girls if they had pubic hair yet --on the field trip for gifted kids.
If anybody thinks my explicit language here is inappropriate --imagine it with the kids.
posted by: Barb on Mon, 4/23 01:53 PM EDT
By the way, the small type of your new blogsite is probably going to discourage or at least cause more eyestrain to the over 40 crowd --whose eyes start to change and become more far-sighted --
posted by: Barb on Mon, 4/23 01:54 PM EDT
Barb, your evidence on sex ed programs not working seems anecdotal. I think we need to look at the goals of the intended programs. Sex ed, I believe, isn't intended to tell children "don't do it". I think that's the parent's job. It's supposed to educate them on not getting diseases or getting pregnant. If there are studies showing that, for instance, children taking sex ed classes are just as likely to get diseases or pregnant than those that don't participate in these classes....then I would have to come to the same conclusion (they don't work). But I haven't seen such studies come out. But we have seen the contrary evidence on abstinece-only.
p.s. sorry for the small type!
posted by: Chris on Tue, 4/24 09:49 AM EDT
Let me add, and I'm sure Chris would agree, that any decent sex-ed program should promote abstinence as the first and best choice. What we're opposed to is abstinence-ONLY sex-ed, which is really not "sex-ed" at all. There are good and bad decisions to be made once a person decides to forgo cellibacy, and I think sex-ed should prepare young adults to make the better choices. Of course, in a perfect world, my daughter would wait 'till she's married. But, if she does not, and the odds are she won't, I'd prefer that her behaviors were as risk-averse as possible. That will involve knowledge of birth control methods, and measures to lower the risk of disease.
posted by: Don on Tue, 4/24 12:38 PM EDT
The anecdotal material I posted was about actual sex ed films I have seen in public schools in Lucas Co. during the value-neutral phase of sex ed. I've been reading reports on sex ed and results now for at least 20 plus years and I KNOW that value-free sex ed with the planned parenthood approach was a statistical disaster --in combination with LBJ's Great Society pay for every baby born out of wedlock to a teen --which became an intergenerational source of family income. During the sexual revolution of the 70's and the PP style sex ed, pregnancy rates among unmarried teens skyrocketed in comparison to the 50's.
If I recall, The rate was something like 1 out of 40 white girls in the early 60's --and that figure went to 1 out of 5 --from 2 1/2 % to 20 per cent. For afr. am. girls it was 4 out of 10 and it rose to 8 out of 10 --girls pregnant before marriage. 40 % to 80 %. approx. I used to have those figures memorized for sure --this is pretty close from the 60's to the 90's.
There are several issues here:
Really protective parents who manage to keep their children young, who monitor their tv and movies, music and internet use --don't want the public schools, on their tax monies, to "sophisticate" our children, give them sexual PERMISSION by their sex ed approaches --permission to be sexually active as a teen --by a NON-JUDGMENTAL approach which said, "Yes, abstinence is best --but you'll probably not wait, and here are the ways to use condoms, where to get them; we'll give them to you, --and by the way --you should wait until YOU ARE READY to have sex. No one can tell you what to do with your body --etc. etc. You can say no." Of course, kids "feel ready to have sex" before they SHOULD have sex. So what kind of advice was that??? Some feel ready at 13 and the sex educators imply that's ok AS LONG AS YOU USE PROTECTION.
Well, it's not ok in the view of responsible parents. We want them WARNED about sexual activity outside of marriage --and told all the BENEFITS of waiting for marriage --the importance of monogamy and fidelity --the perma-bondability factor --the fact that if you find it easy to take your pants off with a series of different people, this could be a problem for you forever. That chastity is the best road to a happy marriage with a good sex life. This is simply true for people who follow Biblical precepts of love and respect, who work at the marriages for their children's sake as well as their own.
I kept my kids out of co-ed sex ed classes in public school after I saw their lousy movies and listened to the counselors and Planned Parenthood-style (and Red Cross-style, also) sex educators and looked at the life skills courses they wanted to buy and did buy. I used Focus on the Family materials, a tape series, as I recall.
I want schools to do sex education --not co-ed --and not condoning pre-marital sex. Our society sanctions marriage as the rightful place for sexual activity. I said, "If you can't wait, get married." The other thing is chaperonage --but yes, anybody's kids can get around the parents and the rules and teachings.
So I would teach, if you are going to be sexually active, see your doctor for the birth control pill AND use condoms. But you will be wisest if you don't say yes to pre-marital sex. Once you have the first experience, you can not save it for your bride or groom. There is something wonderful about knowing that you and your spouse were the first and only --if you work to make a good marriage. There are no memories of other people in your marital bed.
today, most parents are blinded --especially by their daughters --seeing them as more mature and level headed than they are sometimes. They can't imagine their daughters wanting to have sex and they overly trust them because they LOOK and act virtuous and mature. They talk about their trust and their certainty that their kids couldn't get the cart before the horse --when, in fact, they have so much opportunity to indulge temptation these days --with parents out of the houses, colleges that make no pretense of being parentis in locis who try to protect virtue by curfews and chaperoning. At least the EFFORT of chaperoning by parents and school --sets a standard.
The lack of standards today is surely a factor in the high promiscuity and divorce rate, i imagine. I can't get over how many young women are leaving their husbands for other men--and husbands are getting custody. meanwhile, husbands are slaves to computer porn, which doesn't help monogamous marriage either.
posted by: Barb on Wed, 4/25 12:40 AM EDT
Barb, it sound like we are stuck on the issue of education vs. condonement. Surely schools can teach without condoning. I would bet that most responsible parents would favor sex ed taught in unison with an abstinence slant. I doubt that teaching only one or the other would be effective.
posted by: Chris on Wed, 4/25 10:42 AM EDT