Abstinence-only Sex Ed

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by gwaernardel, Jul 26, 2002.

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  1. gwaernardel Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2001
    star 4
    Recently in the abortion thread, there's been some a bit of a debate about abstinence-only sexual education. In many schools, mine included, we were not taught about any form of birth control other than abstinence. Condoms were briefly mentioned, but that was all. Other schools teach only methods like withdrawl and the rhythm method. George W. Bush has consistently given funding only to those programs that only teach abstinence, which tend to censor information about other forms of birth control.
    Personally, I think abstinence-only sex ed is a very bad idea, since it teaches kids nothing about oral sex, anal sex, "outercourse", or the risks involved in any of these things. It also doesn't take into account the fact that some teenagers are going to have sex no matter what you tell them, and they need to know that if they choose to have sex that there are options available.
    What do you guys think?

    Mod note: Approved thread.
  2. FlamingSword Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2001
    star 6
    I think abstinence should be taught as the most important, most effective form of sex ed for the very fact that it is the most effective.

    However, information is important. People need to know what's happening with their bodies and what the consequences can be. Forms of birth control and their effectiveness should be taught. Accurate information is the most valuable tool in giving people control over their lives, choices, and those consequences. The wrong information can be devastating though. Being told that certian birth control is effective when in reality it is only 75% effective is misleading and potentially dangerous.

    So, yes, other forms of birth control should be taught, but abstinence should be stressed above all. I also firmly believe that parents should be involved in the process of teaching their children sex ed.
  3. DESERTJEDI Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 18, 2001
    star 4
    some teenagers are going to have sex no matter what you tell them,

    That is so true, sad but true.

    Hiding sexuall information from teenagers is a bad idea, because they are going to see it all over the place anyway, the Information should come from Parents, number one and "maybe" from school in the form of a class. Might as well have this information come from an educated source not MTV

    Teenagers aren't stupid, they sometimes just make stupid decisions.

    I sound like an old person arghhhhhhh.

    //leaves to kill old self.
  4. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Hiding sexuall information from teenagers

    Hiding? I'd say omitting might be the better term.
  5. DESERTJEDI Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 18, 2001
    star 4
    Thats true, they know anyway might as well tell them. get it all out there so they can know the entire situation they can get them selves into by this um "action". ;)
  6. gwaernardel Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2001
    star 4
    I agree. There was a poll done that showed 25% of kids aged 15 to 17 believed that there was no risk of HIV involved in oral sex. Figures like this are unacceptable, IMO.
    Also, certain programs have kids take a pledge that they will remain virgins until marriage. Now, we all know that in the high school idea of virginity, there are a lot of things left out. (For example, if the president doesn't consider it sex, why should we?) This opens up a world of trouble for kids.
    Also, I think this puts a bit too much emphasis on marriage. There are certain people who don't want to ever get married. People like this will get nothing out of a sex-ed program that only teaches to wait until marriage.
  7. JediStryker Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2000
    star 4
    I don't care what kind of information is given to teens in school, as long as:

    1) Teach teens that their actions have consequences. There is no such thing as an easy out when it comes to the consequences of sex. Sex-ed ought to include a deep analysis of the consequences of sex.

    2) Explain to the students that if they choose to engage in sex, that they are ultimately responsible for their actions. They cannot blame anyone else for their troubles later on; they made the decision, they live the results.

    3) Be honest. Don't tell kids that birth control is the answer to all their problems. I had sex-ed in high school, and the teacher tried to pass of birth control as being %100 effective. I tried to point out that that wasn't so, and she became enraged. Later, she told me that it was better that teens think that it's effective so that they'll use it. I asked what happened when it didn't work and the girl got pregnant. She shrugged.

    Sex ed has to be truthful, even if it hurts, to work.
  8. CUBIE_HOLE Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 15, 2001
    star 4
    Overall, I don't think it matters. When I was in highschool, we were taught abstinence. However, I knew the dangers of doing this and that. I knew plenty of other people who also knew these dangers. I would say I did better and was safer than most, but I still did things that were a really bad/stupid idea. Luckily, I never had to pay any consequences, but I know plenty of people that have.

    People are going to do stupid things, and sometimes you can't help it or stop it. For example, I'm sure a small percentage of people don't know this, but by far, I'm sure the majority of people engaging in sex, heterosexual sex anyway, know that if the male ejaculates inside the female, conception can occur. Yet, this is how a lot of people who don't want to get pregnant do. I think it's more of not caring than not knowing.

    And I do know that birth control devices can fail and result in pregnancy, and that a male can still get a female pregnant through actual penetration but not ejaculating inside. All the accidental pregnancies I've know of or heard of have been through unprotected, non-withdrawal sex, and these people knew what the consequences could be.

    Same goes for people that I know that have gotten STD's. They just disregarded what they knew and got burned for it. ;)
  9. Darth Mulacki Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 4, 1999
    star 5
    IMO sex ed should involve everything around sex, birth control, the dangers involving not using condoms, various STD and if the parents or teachers want it, abstinence.


    -Mulacki
  10. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    I've known a lot of people who think you can't get STD's from oral, or birth control's 100%, or other myths that just aren't true. Ideally, schools should teach nothing and it should be left to parents - but the vast majority seem to wuss out on this, so I think we must teach something in schools.

    One thing that hasn't been mentioned is teaching that sex DOES have an impact on your emotional and psychological well-being, and that impact is frequently negative. I have talked to people (not just girls, either!) in their mid-20's who've just figured out that their sexual habits are the cause of a lot of suffering - it simply didn't occur to them before, and I understand why. I honestly feel that if someone had mentioned to these people, Oh, and BTW, it's not like romance novels where people always connect and it's always intimate and special - in real life, people ask their partners "Was it good for you? I know I was right there, but I was too busy getting mine to notice", they'd have waited longer or at least been with fewer people. And I'm not just poking fun at uncaring lovers here - it truly CAN be difficult to tune into someone else when you're having an overwhelming emotional experience yourself. Most people, when they don't have the wonderful experience they were expecting, look for someone else, thinking a different partner will make it special. While it is true that finding someone you really connect with helps, a lot of times it's just that you didn't connect with the person before jumping into bed. And a lot of it is really just your own insecurity.

    This sort of advice is actually more likely to bring about abstinence than simply lecturing about abstinence. It shows kids we're concerned about their happeiness, not just whether they're "good little virgins" or not. Having thus gained trust, the rest of the topics - imperfections of birth control, STD's and all that stuff - will fall on less deaf ears.

    Just to be clear, I'm not a fan of abstaining until marriage. I just think abstaining until you're a few years older would psychologically benefit most of the people I know.
  11. gwaernardel Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2001
    star 4
    I agree. I also think that more teaching from experience, whether it's teachers or parents, makes a much bigger impact than just saying, "Well, you shouldn't do this, just because I said you shouldn't." So many parents say this to their kids and then the kids ask, "Well, why not? Did you have sex before you were married?" and the parent automatically clams up.
    Another thing I should add, just because I'm a feminist and I want to, is that I'm really annoyed with the way the media treats virginity in females. Does anyone else see this? Even strong females are shown cowering before their strong superior boyfriends when it comes time to lose their virginity. This idea alone made me want to lost my virginity as soon as possible when I was younger, to prove to myself that I wouldn't be some whiny little stereotypical female when it happened.
    Anyways, back on the subject, I also think that parents are usually not very helpful when it comes to talking about sex. They figure their kid will learn at school. Then the kid goes to school, hears about nothing but abstinence, and turns to his friends to find out about sex. They tell him crap about how the withdrawl method works just fine, and girls can't get pregnant during their period, and only gay people get AIDS. It's really sad.
  12. Darth_Asabrush Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2000
    star 5
    Abstinence should be taught along side other forms of sex education. Sex education should not just cover "intercourse" but sexual health and relationship issues as well. If any of these areas of sex education are avoided by the "educators" then they are failing the young people in their charge.

    Informing and being honest with young people is the only way forward. You cannot expect young people to make big decisions without all the necessary information. That is absurd!

    The danger lies in the fine balance a teacher/educator has to make between informing and promoting.
  13. gwaernardel Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2001
    star 4
    Don't you think it's a little odd, though, that we can't teach about anything else involving religion, and yet we still teach that kids should not have sex until getting married? I have nothing against the idea of waiting until you're in a committed relationship with someone you love to have sex, it just troubles me that so much emphasis is put on the marriage part of it. Especially now, when most of the kids' parents have been married a couple times. I know when I was younger, I had very little respect for the institution of marriage. That made most of sex ed completely worthless to me. It seemed like sometimes they were promoting marriage and Christian values more than they were actually teaching about sex.
    I just think that rather than saying "sex before marriage is bad", the teachers should tell why it's not a good idea to have sex when you're 16 and why you should wait until you're with someone that can actually raise a kid with you if pregnancy occurs. They should also teach about how much is costs to have a baby. That would make a lot of kids think twice.
  14. Darth_Asabrush Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2000
    star 5
    In England young people are taught about sex, sexual health issues and relationships. The old idea of teaching "no sex before marriage" is not used anymore as it is accepted that this route just didn't work!

    Sex while is a secure relationship is advised rather than taught. We can only offer the information and guide young people from our experience but this can ovly be achieved if we are honest.
  15. Waning Drill Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 1999
    star 5
    "Abstinence-only Sex Ed?"

    Wouldn't that be like....virtually nil?
  16. gwaernardel Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2001
    star 4
    Well, yes. At my school we were taught very little about sex or birth control. We were taught about the organs, what they do, and why we shouldn't use them until marriage. That's it. Then we watched a couple videos about how some girls (and only girls, I might add) had sex before marriage and it ruined their life. And one time we had a speaker who came and talked about AIDS and how ineffective condoms are.
  17. JediStryker Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2000
    star 4
    Don't you think it's a little odd, though, that we can't teach about anything else involving religion, and yet we still teach that kids should not have sex until getting married?

    If you take your bias against religion out of it and just think about it as an idea for not getting pregnant until you want to, or contracting an STD?

    I have nothing against the idea of waiting until you're in a committed relationship with someone you love to have sex,

    But if you and your partner are willing to have sex outside of marriage, how're you to know that they have not had sex before? With someone who had herpes, for instance?

    ...it just troubles me that so much emphasis is put on the marriage part of it. Especially now, when most of the kids' parents have been married a couple times.

    Just because a lot people don't follow through with it, doesn't mean it's not the best idea. When was the last time you saw someone basing their diet on the food pyramid?

    I know when I was younger, I had very little respect for the institution of marriage.

    That's very sad.

    That made most of sex ed completely worthless to me. It seemed like sometimes they were promoting marriage and Christian values more than they were actually teaching about sex.

    Waiting until marriage to have sex (if both partners have done so) is the safest way to insure that you will not get an STD, and that you will not get pregnant before you want to. Again, leave your bias against religion out of it, and you may be able to see that it's the safest (and most agree most pleasurable) way to have sex.

    I just think that rather than saying "sex before marriage is bad", the teachers should tell why it's not a good idea to have sex when you're 16 and why you should wait until you're with someone that can actually raise a kid with you if pregnancy occurs.

    I Agree. Explain why waiting until marriage is best. Then tell them all the bad things that can happen if they don't.

    They should also teach about how much is costs to have a baby. That would make a lot of kids think twice

    And show pictures of what STDs do to your body. They showed us these pics when I was in Basic Training...ugh.
  18. CwrnPuppet Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 4
    I think that saying that they should "explain why waiting till marriage is best" is rather shortshighted. I certainly don't agree that waiting for marriage is the best idea.
  19. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    Abstinence-only is a terrible idea.

    Kids are going to learn about sex.

    They will either learn from their peers, TV, and less desirable elements of society, or they can learn in school.

    I think a better-approach would be abstinence-stressed sex education. Teens need to know about condoms, STD's, pregnancy, and the overall physical and emotional consequences of sex. They also need to be taught that abstinence is the only 100% proven and effective method to avoid pregnancy and STD's.

    I strongly disagree with President Bush's decision to exclusively fund abstinence-only education. He is doing this for the wrong reasons, namely to pander to the Christian Conservatives, a group whose definition of freedom is something along the lines of "you're free to live however you'd like, as long as you live like me". The same goes for his decision to pull family planning funds from any clinic that sponsors abortion or educates about it (go to topic for discussion on this). Trying to force people into abstinence will not get anybody anywhere, and omitting sex education will create a lot more problems than it solves.

    Teens WILL have sex. If you have abstinence-only education, then less teens will have safe sex. Either way, we will bear the responsibility as a society for the consequences.

    Peace,

    V-03
  20. FlamingSword Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2001
    star 6
    What you say, Vaderize03, makes a lot of sense and I agree with most of it, so I'm not going to repeat you.

    While I think more people should wait longer before having sex and perhaps even till marriage, they should still be taught about the methods of birth control and disease prevention. Knowledge is power.


    Waiting until marriage is also not necessarily a religious idea. If you don't want to get pregnant until you can support a child or you don't want to run to risk or STDs, it's a good idea to wait. Sure, your marriage partner may have and STD, but the chance is much slimmer or non-existant if you both waited, and you're not spreading it around to other future partners. (unles you get remarried but there's a limit to how many times you do that). It's a matter of personal responsibility.
  21. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    All this "wait until marriage" idea achieves is people getting married too young to know what they're doing. Or in the case of a lot of Christian kids, having every form of sex except coitus, and calling that "abstinence" (ask Solo Jones if you don't believe me). It may prevent pregnancy, but not STD's. It also doesn't promote monogamy because the boys quickly learn they can do these things with anyone and it's not "having sex" - or did you think Bill Clinton made up that rationale himself? Nah - it's typical Southern white boy crap.

    If you take your bias against religion out of it and just think about it as an idea for not getting pregnant until you want to, or contracting an STD?

    This presumes everyone will get married at some point, an assumption I'm very sick of hearing in many contexts in our society. I'm 29, and no one's ever been in love with me, let alone wanted to have a serious longterm relationship with me, let alone marry me.

    But if you and your partner are willing to have sex outside of marriage, how're you to know that they have not had sex before? With someone who had herpes, for instance?

    You never know this about anyone, ever. My father's cousin recently found out her devoted Christian husband of many years had a boyfriend. There are no guarantees.

    I know when I was younger, I had very little respect for the institution of marriage.

    That's very sad.


    Why? Marriage is a legal institution, and most people marry for money or out of fear of being alone in old age. It often has nothing to do with the desire for a longterm relationship. Some of us have HIGHER expectations than marriage, my friend. Not higher than your view of marriage, but higher than the govt who uses it to keep track of you, your offspring and your property.

    Waiting until marriage to have sex (if both partners have done so) is the safest way to insure that you will not get an STD, and that you will not get pregnant before you want to. Again, leave your bias against religion out of it, and you may be able to see that it's the safest (and most agree most pleasurable) way to have sex.

    So I should never have sex, since it appears very unlikely I'll ever be in a relationship that could lead to anything resembling marriage? Just checking.

    I strongly disagree with President Bush's decision to exclusively fund abstinence-only education. He is doing this for the wrong reasons, namely to pander to the Christian Conservatives, a group whose definition of freedom is something along the lines of "you're free to live however you'd like, as long as you live like me".

    Well said!
  22. FlamingSword Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2001
    star 6
    So I should never have sex, since it appears very unlikely I'll ever be in a relationship that could lead to anything resembling marriage? Just checking.

    I said it was the safest way, I never said that it was what everyone should do. I do believe people should be responsible for the consequences of their actions. Personally, I believe sex belongs in a deep, committed or serious relationship. But you make your own choices. As long as people face the consequences of their actions, I'm not going to pretend I know how to live their lives better :)
  23. gwaernardel Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2001
    star 4
    I couldn't have said it better myself, TreeCave. (And I've been trying to word it correctly for the last half hour)

    And the concept of marriage as it is implemented in the US is very Christian. It's only allowed between one male and one female, and can be easily undone with a few lawyers and legal papers. Many cultures don't even include the legal part in the religious sense of marriage. I know quite a few Hmong couples that are only married within their culture and laugh at the idea of getting a marriage license, as it is seen as somewhat insulting to them to need to have some piece of paper stating what they already know - that they are in love and are willing to stay together.

    Not to mention the fact that waiting until marriage turns all homosexuals (except the ones living in Vermont) into monks.

    I just don't understand why deep committed relationship has to mean marriage for so many people.
  24. JediStryker Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2000
    star 4
    All I ever said was that it was the safest way, too. You can live your life however you want; in fact, like I said over in the abortion thread, I wouldn't care if everyone had sex until their genitalia fell off. My problem is when people have sex, and then blame others for the problems that come there way afterwards. How pregnant girls complain about how their lives are ruined, and run off and kill the fetus so they are not inconvenienced. How guys with STDs whine and cry when their privates are developing pustulating sores.

    Like I said originally, I think that sex-ed should be absolutely complete. Show teens what genital warts look like. Teach them about all the birth control devices, and show them the truths vs. the myths of sex. And then explain that abstinence is the safest way, but if you decide to have sex, don't go whining to society asking for handouts or easy ways out. Live with your decisions. That is all that I ask.
  25. Darth_SnowDog Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2001
    star 4
    I cannot think of a time when having more information was a bad thing.

    Information is power. What you do with it, is the responsibility of the parents to teach... how to think, not what to think.

    Simply, "teaching" any one approach is a bad thing. Discussing them all is important... or leave the discussion out of the classroom entirely... and leave it up to the parents to decide.

    If less information, less education, and teaching abstinence in particular, alone is a good thing, it most certainly makes no explanation for ultra-conservative states such as North Dakota where the teenage pregnancy rate is one of the fastest accelerating in the nation.

    Interestingly, North Dakota ranks in the bottom three for states with the lowest per-capita funding for public education.
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