Abstinence-only Sex Ed

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

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  1. womberty Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jan 21, 2002
    star 4
    there is a time and place for everything, and homeroom and in the halls is not the appropritate place to hand out freebee health items.

    I don't see why.


    Well, first off, I don't think the comparison of condoms to toothpaste is quite accurate. When someone hands you a tube of toothpaste, you're expected to use it a couple of times each day. It's not like any health educator would say, "You don't really need to brush your teeth, but when you do, you should really use toothpaste to get the best results." You see the difference?

    Generally, giving out freebies indicates that they are something to be tried. What about the free samples given out in grocery stores? You're expected to try them out, and then buy some more. My dentist always gives me a toothbrush and floss when I get my teeth cleaned, and reminds me I'm supposed to brush and floss daily. So it's not hard to see why parents might feel that a student handing out free condoms to their children sends the wrong message.
  2. WalkinKiAdisCorpse Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 8, 2002
    star 1
    Well, I've already said that I don't think that distributing comdoms will make a person want to have unstopable and promiscuous sex, just to point out that there is a need to make it safely. That is the correct message, and should be properly delivered. Condoms should be used EVERYTIME you make sex (and don't want to have babies, of course) regardless of your partner and (lack of thereof) promiscuity.
  3. Space_Man Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2003
    star 3
    abstinence: (noun) A voluntary refraining from doing something.

    sex: (noun) The sexual instinct as it manifests itself in the act of reproduction; sexual intercourse.

    For the sake of argument: Don't these strict definitions open-up the door to anything but non-vaginal intercourse (oral sex, mutual masturbation, "outer-course" -- to name a few)? I'm sorry, but in the mind of a horny teenager, they sure might....
  4. Kit' Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 30, 1999
    star 5
    Womberty-

    We were given condoms in high school. Apart from the fact I already had one (my step-father used to give one to me everytime I left the house...in case I might need it. Even though at least my mum knew i wasn't sexually active). They were handed out for demonstration purposes and then again later so everyone had one.

    Trust me - no one ran off and had sex because they now had a condom. Seeing how easy they are to buy down here and the fact that buying one doesn't have a stigma means that they are normally accessable anyway.

    We were taught how to say no, to have sex only when YOU thought it was the right time. To always protect yourself, about various STD's and about pregnancy. It didn't make people want to go and have sex (actually that, combined with the video of a woman giving birth was enough to make us think twice about sex at least for a while).

    The university I go to gives out free ones at the beginning of the year (in the little bags you get as a first year and in the union halls). I think their idea is that it is better to be safe then sorry.

    Kithera

    Edit: [face_blush] Sorry Ender...didn't even see the typo. That'll teach me to type when half asleep!
  5. womberty Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jan 21, 2002
    star 4
    Trust me - no one ran off and had sex because they now had a condom.

    I realize that, but I can certainly understand a parent's concern that it might send the wrong message (sex is okay as long as you wear a condom).


    Seeing how easy they are to buy down here and the fact that buying one doesn't have a stigma means that they are normally accessable anyway.

    True; there may be more of a stigma here.


    We were taught how to say no, to have sex only when YOU thought it was the right time. To always protect yourself, about various STD's and about pregnancy.

    I think it's safe to assume that the student handing out the condoms on Halloween didn't take the time to explain that every time a classmate asked for one.
  6. Jansons_Funny_Twin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2002
    star 6
    I realize that, but I can certainly understand a parent's concern that it might send the wrong message (sex is okay as long as you wear a condom).

    Much rather have that then have kids think "Condoms are bad!"




    Anata Baka?!
  7. anakin_girl Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 6
    The only time we were handed condoms on Halloween was when I was in college. It was worth seeing the expression on my mother's face when I came home on a break and she found a neon-blue condom in my purse. :p

    Even as liberal as I am, I would be uncomfortable if someone were handing my middle school students condoms like they were candy. However, I do think something needs to be done to promote greater accessibility to students who do choose to ignore any warnings against having sex, so that they won't be so embarrassed to go get condoms that they choose to take a chance and go without.
  8. Kit' Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 30, 1999
    star 5
    Our condoms were put in a jar in uni - so it was descreet enough that you coudl get them without being embarrased.

    Trust me - no one ran off and had sex because they now had a condom.

    I realize that, but I can certainly understand a parent's concern that it might send the wrong message (sex is okay as long as you wear a condom).


    You know - in my entire life, I've never met a parent who honestly believes that. I went to a conservative highschool (not religious, just conservative) and went to Christian camps. No-one I met would have ever thought that.

    I think that is the main difference here. I'm arguing an Australian perspective and one that comes from a very different culture then America (although it has similar superficial elements). In Australia sex isn't seen as bad. Most Australians could be called apathetic towards just about everything - except sex education. Here a good 90% of people would go off about how important it was to teach to children and teens. The only time I've ever heard a person say that teaching sex education might lead more children to having sex more early was when I've talked to Americans.

    The girl handing them out on halloween is different. She wasn't (or probably wasn't) giving any information as she gave them out. Most kids (I would imagine) would have been embarrased and played tricks with them to show that they were cool and didn't care. It was a valiant effort on her part, if misguided and as a teacher I would have sent her home to change rather then suspend her.

    Kithera


  9. womberty Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jan 21, 2002
    star 4
    I think in college it's certainly more appropriate - once you're 18, you'd better be capable of making your own decisions about sex. In middle school (and even in high school to some extent, simply because of age) there needs to be more respect for parental authority in this area. I for one don't think a child should be shielded from sex ed, but proper respect should be shown to the parents' point of view regarding sexuality at that age.

    As far as access to condoms at that age, I'm a little conflicted. Certainly, handing them out free in the classroom opens the door to a lot of misuse, and undue peer pressure in the conversations that might result. Having them available from the school nurse is perhaps more appropriate, because you can dispense a little more information at the same time. Putting them in vending machines in the restrooms would be the most accessible means, but then there is no opportunity to ensure that the students using them know the risks, etc., plus the anonymity might still encourage abuse of the privilege.

    As far as other places for getting condoms - it would certainly help if it was easier to get them at your local store. I've seen some places that lock them up, so you have to ask for them specifically - maybe they're one of the more likely items to get stolen (small enough to conceal, plus avoiding the embarassment at the checkout), but still, it might discourage younger people from buying them.
  10. anakin_girl Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 6
    Yeah, a problem with America is that there is still the attitude of "sex...ewww..." or sex is a filthy monster that hides under children's beds and eats human brains for breakfast. This attitude remains even though the Puritans died 300 years ago. That's why it was such a big deal when our President got some in the Oval Office. Does anyone worry about whether or not Jacques Chirac gets some? What about Tony Blair?
  11. Space_Man Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2003
    star 3
    Kit': Our condoms were put in a jar in uni - so it was discreet enough that you could get them without being embarrassed

    And I see this kind of sentiment as a very clear indication of what a_g is talking about (specifically, here in America). Sad. Why/how, I wonder, did it become a cultural phenomenon for teens & young adults to feel "embarrassed" about their sexuality?

    womberty: Certainly, handing them out free in the classroom opens the door to a lot of misuse, and undue peer pressure in the conversations that might result.

    I have to wonder about this, though.... Part of me wants to think that this is like saying that if we handed out rubber gloves (for cleaning) that we might inadvertently cause or impel young people to go home and start inexplicably scrubbing floors! A condom is just a thing -- it doesn't make anyone have sex....
  12. womberty Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jan 21, 2002
    star 4
    Once again, I don't think the presence of a condom will make someone have sex.

    But consider this: how embarassing would it be if your classmates were to ask you whether you've ever scrubbed a floor?

    How embarassing would it be to find a locker full of rubber gloves?

    And as I said, it can send a message with which the parents might not agree. For some, "You're at an age where many young people become sexually active" means that they are expected to become sexually active.

    Condoms don't cause kids to have sex, but peer pressure certainly does.
  13. irishjedi49 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 23, 2002
    star 3
    Question: How is abstinence a form of sexual education?!?

    Answer: "Here's what sex is and how it works, and what the proper context for it is: marriage."

    It's worked for me and all my siblings, and lots of my friends (yes! people can control themselves!). It's not a wacky proposition. We do have free will.

    And yes, if you hand someone a condom, you're implying they should use it. No one's saying they'll run off and have sex right then and there, but it certainly makes it a more realistic and easy proposition.
  14. anakin_girl Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 6
    Sure, people can control themselves--but they don't. And personally I don't think that's always a bad thing--I'm not a big fan of denying pleasure just for the sake of denying pleasure.

    "Here's what sex is and how it works, and what the proper context for it is: marriage."

    My husband's cousin got that education, and ended up pregnant the first time she had sex--she dropped out of college to have the baby.

    I got instruction on how to use birth control along with instruction that abstinence is the only 100 percent effective means and that sex is best in the context of marriage. Almost thirty-two years old, had plenty of sex, and still child-free.

    And yes, if you hand someone a condom, you're implying they should use it.

    Not if people use their brains and good taste. I think the message is "don't get caught unprepared".

    As I've said, I don't believe in just handing out condoms to middle-school kids--however, I think making them inaccessible, or making the subject off-limits, is just plain stupid and asking for trouble.
  15. ivylore Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2000
    star 2
    Interestingly, most of the people I know who've gotten pregnant the first time they had sex or (in one instance) without even having intercourse have all been devout Catholics.

    My first job was as my mom's lamaze class assistant when I was 10. I grew up knowing the details and the exact terminology for everything (much to my grandmother's horror). I actually can't recall not knowing the facts of life. And I'll second Kit... viewing a few childbirths in your youth will make you think twice about ever having sex.

    We had sex ed at both my Catholic grammar and high schools. They both stressed abstinence but by high school they were emphasizing birth control - condom use. The only thing I ever did with a condom at 15 or 16 was make water balloons...

    But seriously, the only way to instill safe sex values (I call them values because they are) is by repetition ad nauseum - so that when a young person does decide to have sex, they know how to be safe without fumbling or asking the wrong people for advice. Sex might be special to all; it is only sacramental to a few (religion can't conquer nature all the time). Abstinence cannot be relied upon as as the only facet of sex-ed. (Kind of like teaching someone to tread water and keep their head up but not freestyle). There are many different definitions for abstinence, and unless you get out there with the nittiest and grittiest of sex basics, it will not be good enough. Let me refer to my good friend's mom, who in 1970 thought ejaculation without penetration was safe. Those are the sorts of things that have to be covered.

    Kit: America's sexual background has always been complex and torn between viewing sex as an extension of the social, spritual,and intellectual self or, primarily as an expression of the individual self. From this point all clashes on either side origininate. I agree that open discussion of sex - the demythifying of it if you will - is healthier in the long run.
  16. Saint_of_Killers Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 5
    "had plenty of sex"

    I think this is what certain people are having a problem with :p
  17. anakin_girl Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 6
    Probably so, SoK. I think some (not referring to irish, who I have always found to be polite and reasonable even though we don't usually agree on these issues) have a problem with the fact that they can't tell me what to do. ;)

    Sex might be special to all; it is only sacramental to a few (religion can't conquer nature all the time).

    Exactly. I don't diminish anyone's religious beliefs, and if you choose to wait until you're married to have sex and you have the willpower and fortitude to do so--more power to you. Where I get my back up is when people seem to believe that because sex is sacred to them, it should be sacred to everyone. Not everyone views sex the same way, and if two people, married or not, are having consensual sex and using birth control, it is none of anyone else's business.
  18. DarthIshtar Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    well, while it is manifestly a popular thing to experiment with the things god has given us, such as bodies, emotions, and power of procreation, it is not something to be taken lightly. I believe that sex ed is not something to be handled on a public education level. I believe that it is the duty of the parents and the parents alone to see to it that we understand these things. The fact is that sex is so glorified, in media, in curriculum, in social circumstances, that everyone assumes that prevention is far more favorable than not taking unnecessary risks. And instead, we find teenage abortion, unwed mothers, and other tragedies that would not have happened were abstinence practiced. Why should we force a horny educative mindset on the youth of the world, telling them to flaunt their bodies and abuse them while ignoring that we are playing God every time sex comes into play?
  19. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 10
    And yes, if you hand someone a condom, you're implying they should use it. No one's saying they'll run off and have sex right then and there, but it certainly makes it a more realistic and easy proposition.

    If that was the case then nerds across America would be nailing prom queens as we speak.

    //tumbleweed rolls past

    Condoms are like guns; you don't plan to use them, you use them when you have to.

    pwn3d.

    E_S
  20. ivylore Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2000
    star 2
    Why should we force a horny educative mindset on the youth of the world, telling them to flaunt their bodies and abuse them while ignoring that we are playing God every time sex comes into play?

    Where does that happen? I've got to stress again - it's only sacramental to a some. To others of us it's nature. We're talking about public policy not religious policy here aren't we? No one is playing god or abusing themselves - and I find the term 'horny educative mindset' very misrepresentative and biased - that sort of thinking IS part of the problem when it comes to the lack of sexual discussion in most households. (If you want to accuse Hollywood of doing that, it's another thing.) No one can say, "well because I don't believe in sex before marriage I think we should withhold sexual education from high school students." Unfortunately, if you're a parent who believes devoutly in abstinence before marriage and believes your children will listen to you, I don't think you're going to sit there with a condom and a banana.

    My point (above) was that when you leave it up to parents you have (for example) teenagers who think they will not get pregnant from an act like outercourse. My friend's mother (the one I mentioned above) went on to tell her children that story when they were in high school. She refused to allow her daughters to attend sex ed classes at their high school. And one of them got pregnant the very first time she had sex.

    The reason sex ed is in schools to begin with is because parents were failing miserably in the past. In many cases we have an entire generation of parents who had next to no sexual education - and those of you favouring abstinence only education would have that same generation teaching the next. Bad idea...

    Furthermore, absolutely no proof exists that teaching sex ed encourages people to have sex. Proof does exist that teaching sex ed decreases the likelihood of high risk behaviour.
  21. TreeCave Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    If parents are really serious about keeping their kids pure, move somewhere that everyone is so ugly, the very thought is repulsive. Where I grew up, the guys were ugly, and there was a culture of seeing so little good in females that if they could have done it with guys, I think they'd have been more comfortable. Certainly kept me from dating at all. [face_laugh]

    You know, regulating sex is like regulating eating. Some religions and lifestyles avoid certain foods, but do they think they have the right to stop everybody from eating such foods? Well, some radical vegetarians do, and surprise, we all think they're crazed extremists. Why should those who seek to control other people's bedroom behavior because of religions we don't all shared be viewed as, well, sane?
  22. Space_Man Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2003
    star 3
    Years ago, I did an internship in college for a youth organization called "Girls Incorporated," which catered specifically to girls and young women (ages 6 to 18). It was a fantastic organization, and it was through them that I first learned about one of the most destructive sexual double-standards our culture has these days: that of the "good girl" VS. "bad girl" syndrome. You're all familiar with it, right? Good girls wait for sex until they're married (and are therefore: noble, pure, virtuous, etc.) while bad girls are sought-out by guys just for having sex with (and were therefore: "easy," reckless, "sluts," etc.). Faced with this kind of black & white cultural classification system, not too many girls set-out to get a reputation among their peers as being "bad girls." But what ends up happening as a consequence is that teenage girls who decide to become sexually active -- as secretly as possible, in order to avoid the stigma of the "bad girl" reputation -- did not seek out any kind of protection, because they believed that the mere act of doing so would mark them (to others, as well as to themselves) as not only being interested in sex, but prepared to engage in it (which flies in the face of maintaining the "good girl" persona).

    The way in which our culture (specifically, here in America) presents certain sexual issues is just sickening -- especially some of the mixed messages & double standards we pass on to young women....
  23. Kit' Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 30, 1999
    star 5
    Kit': Our condoms were put in a jar in uni - so it was discreet enough that you could get them without being embarrassed

    And I see this kind of sentiment as a very clear indication of what a_g is talking about (specifically, here in America). Sad. Why/how, I wonder, did it become a cultural phenomenon for teens & young adults to feel "embarrassed" about their sexuality?


    Most of them aren't. I'm not usually embarrased and neither are my friends. However, Australian culture still deems sex as a private act between two people - buying condoms (for some people) can make them embarrassed as they wonder what people will think (without relising most people don't care). The jar was for discretion more then anything, and the place was still fairly public.

    That's actually why I'm against having to go to the school nurse to get condoms. Some kids will be embarrased and less likely to go because they fear what the school nurse will think or whether she might tell their friends - or worse - their parents. A vending machine could always be the best way to go (plus making kids put money in and therefore less inclined to play practical jokes with it).

    Kithera
  24. anakin_girl Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 6
    Why should those who seek to control other people's bedroom behavior because of religions we don't all shared be viewed as, well, sane?

    Exactly. Or even if they are viewed as sane--which I wouldn't go so far as to call them "insane", just, well, dictatorial--why should they have the power to regulate what other people are and aren't allowed to do?

    Like Kit' said, sex is a private act between two people. We in America would be much better off if we started viewing it that way, rather than making what people od in their bedrooms everyone else's business.

    And sex education does not encourage people to have sex, anymore than teaching people to use seat belts encourages them to have car accidents or teaching them to use fire extinguishers turns them into pyromaniacs. It does, however, make them less likely to get pregnant or get an STD if they do choose to have sex.
  25. TreeCave Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    SpaceMan, I think it's just as bad for boys, but in a different way. If I believed the PR about boys, I'd think you were all willing to sleep with absolutely anyone and had no feelings whatsoever. In my experience, however, this seems to be far from the case. Boys and men are actually MORE emotional than women, and more inclined to think sex solves problems. It doesn't, particularly in a culture where the girls are being taught how to use sex to control men.

    While there are undoubtedly some people having too much or too little sex for their own well-being, I think the problem is more of seeking out the wrong things in partners. It's too bad we prefer the drama of soap opera romance to an actual education on how to figure out what's good for us in a partner.
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