Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Abstinence Sex Education Programs Don't Work

Taking a Leaf Out of Kamasutra: Sex, Illustrated

Sex: The primal force of passion and sweat that drives the mo-jos of men and women all over the world. Besides being a primary act for pro-creation, sex is, more often than not, a taboo subject, executed by all and sundry but more often than not, illiciting nothing more than mere whispers and disapproving looks whenever it is mentioned in the public domain. Religious folks are especially reticent about the topic, and whenever possible, they will try every trick in the book to have it removed from public discussion, fearing that it might drive the young and horny ones into acts of sheer depravity and wild orgies.

And here is where sex education comes in: Besides teaching students more about their bodies (and their genitals), they are made aware of the various medical aspects of sex and most importantly, the ability to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy through the usage of contraceptives.

In sum, a comprehensive sex education program should include:

1. Basic biology about the human sexual organs, the various STDs and their effects on its victims, and so on.

2. The right to say no to sex, i.e abstinence.

3. The importance of practicing safe sex with the utilization of contraceptives.

4. Teaching youths, especially young children, to recognize the dangers and approaches from sex offenders.

There's more from where I learned about sex in my classroom, but the crux of the issue is protection and choice: Abstinence or safe sex.

Alas, religious folks aren't particularly keen about sex: Sure, the bible chimes about "being fruitful and multiply", but unfortunately that literally translates to making out for the sole purpose of having babies, and having sex with condoms on kind of kills the "multiply" equation. Naturally, they want their own brand of "sex education" (I sometimes prefer to address it as "non-sex" education, for all intents and purposes) in schools: Abstinence-Only Sex Education Programs.
Unfortunately, these religious-slanted problems don't work, according to an Oxford's University Study:

"The Oxford University team reviewed 13 US trials involving over 15,000 people aged 10 to 21.

They found abstinence programmes had no negative or positive impact on the rates of sex infections or unprotected sex, the British Medical Journal said."

& if you think this is only a British problem, check it out across the Atlantic Ocean, where the bastion of Abstinence-only programs hogs about US$1.5 billion dollars on such religiously-motivated, money-wasting programs:

"Planned Parenthood estimates that two thirds of teenagers will have experienced sexual intercourse by the time they leave school.

And with some 750,000 teenage pregnancies a year, America has one of the highest teen birth rates in the developed world.

'This national programme which has wasted $1.5bn (£750m) of tax money is a failure and our teens are paying the price,' says Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood."

While $1.5 billion dollars does seem like a pin drop in the middle of the American monetary arsenal (the American military juggernaut is running debts upwards of trillions of dollars on wars), that money could be spent on more meaningful programs other than spreading religious programs which are not getting the job done.

& that, my friends, is 1.5 billion bucks done the proverbial drain.

Abstinence Programs & Religious, Homophobic Agendas

The real gist of the sex education mantra is this: You can't have a sex education program without touching about the subject of sex. Abstinence programs attempt to skirt around this fundamental problem (which is similar to the way they try to subtract Christianity out of the drivel on Intelligent Design) by indoctrinating kids on the perceived evils and depravity of sex itself: In short, demonize sex and drum it to the kids so that they would be too scared to even think about it. They are not bothered with equipping kids with the correct data so that they can make a conscientious decision on their own!

As a result, what really comes out from an abstinence-only program is a convoluted, distorted form of sex education, which, according to this abstinence program book, includes:

1. Absolutely no sex under any circumstances other than marriage-cum-procreation purposes; homosexual sex is to be avoided at all cost.

2. Pandering lies and misinformation on the efficacy of contraceptives, such as condoms.

Instead of being educators and providers of information, abstinence program officers inevitably become purveyors of religious-right propaganda and homophobia and at the same time, mask their religious activities as perfectly secular sex education programs.

Abstinence-Only Programs Are Impractical

The stark, naked truth is, teenagers and adults have sexual needs. Turning a blind eye to this need or shoving your head into the sand doesn't make it go away. People will fuck regardless of whether we tell them to or not, and the idea of sex education is to equip people with the correct knowledge to protect themselves, not fuck up the education system with some shitty, scare program to turn every growing teenager into reclusive monks and nuns.

Come ye, oh my little children (Shivers).......

If you are still harboring any hopes for an abstinence-only program, take a gander at the Vatican: Keeping the hands of priests off women is a whole lot easier than keeping their hands off altar boys.

Mad Men from the Vatican.........

“[W]idespread and indiscriminate promotion of condoms [is] an immoral and misguided weapon in our battle against HIV-AIDS. …[C]ondoms may even be one of the main reasons for the spread of HIV-AIDS.”

- From the text of a statement issued by the bishops of South Africa following their semiannual meeting, where they considered a change in their official condoms policy in response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic [Karen DeYoung, “AIDS challenges religious leaders,” Washington Post, August 13, 2001].