Please help me understand this.
For quite some time now people in the U.S. have been debating the merits of abstinence-only sex education. People on one side are often staunchly opposed to people on the other and no one will give. It doesn’t help that people often choose a position based on feelings and moral grounds rather than scientific fact. Add on to that the fact that scientific studies often conflict with each other and we have a veritable social impasse.
I think people are looking at this all wrong. First of all, it should be the parents that teach this kind of stuff. If some über-”conservative” family wants to pretend that sex doesn’t exist and never discusses it with their children, then whatever happens happens. Good or bad, it’s all caused by the teachings of the parents. If some über-”liberal” (I hate branding people like that) buys condoms for their kids and shows them how to use them on real live dildos, then whatever happens happens.
It’s the job of (public) schools to give out information, not make value judgments. I don’t care if a school teaches about The Bible as literature, so long as it doesn’t teach The Bible as gospel. And a similar analogue goes for sexual education.
A school shouldn’t say that there’s nothing wrong with sex before marriage. And it shouldn’t say that there is something wrong. That’s a value judgment that a student should decide on her own, with the help of her friends and more importantly with her family. But what a school should tell you are the facts. This is a condom, it’s made from Latex and physically stops sperm from entering the vagina. It’s a one use item. This is a birth control pill. It works by regulating hormones; because of the intricacies of human hormonal balance, this pill needs to be taken at regularly scheduled intervals for it to work at full effectiveness. Both of these forms of contraception are very good, but of course only abstinence is 100% effective at preventing pregnancy.
See, was that so hard?
I guess the problem that people have is that even saying so little will lead kids to have sex and get STDs. To which I don’t really have a response. I like to ground my opinions on scientific fact. And unfortunately, I’ve heard of scientific studies coming to exactly opposite conclusions. Why it’s so hard to analyze this data I don’t know.
When others’ science fails me, I have to go with my gut feeling (something a skeptic likes to avoid at all costs!). I feel like learning about contraceptives doesn’t make someone more or less horny. Learning about the human sexual experience and how to take care of yourself isn’t going to make you wanna go doink the next person you see. Why would it? But if you do want to embark on that awkward first time as a teenager, you better have the ability to protect yourself. Knowing as a teenager that condoms can in fact be put on backwards and that BC pills don’t work if you take them every other day cannot be a bad thing.
I guess science isn’t all that bad. This entire post was inspired by this article that I just read. The part that made me shake my head in frustration was as follows:
Rep. John Duncan, a Tennessee Republican, said that it seems “rather elitist” that people with academic degrees in health think they know better than parents what type of sex education is appropriate.
Oy vey. It conjures up images, doesn’t it? “You think you’re so much better than us, with yer high-falutin science and yer factual ev-ee-dance? Well you ain’t, boy!”
I’m sure you feel the same as I do after you read Duncan’s quote, so I won’t bother to explain myself any further.
This has been a rather rambling post. And I have school work to attend to. Hope all is well with you. Until next time, fair reader.