In the greater scheme of the creeping theocracy that is sneaking up on all of us, fear plays a huge role. Fear of sex is of course fundamental to the fundamentalists, regardless if they are the Taliban, Al Qaeda, or Fred Phelps, Jerry Falwell, and Pat Robertson. Our bee-hung strutter in the White House has been happy to ensure that yet another generation of American kids are either terrified of sex, or so completely mystified about where babies come from that in many ways they cannot be held accountable for their ignorance.
While it seems axiomatic to many that if there is no sex, there are no unplanned pregnancies, and there is no transmission of disease, it still seems pretty axiomatic to me that plenty of kids are still going to have hormones, and the urge to merge is biological not intellectual. My Sex Ed class was very scientific with lots of diagrams of eggs and sperms, but with no mention of how the twain shall meet. We figured it out eventually. Tab A. Slot B. But I digress.
The Stork and the Cabbage Leaves
Here are some of the things that kids have been taught since Chimpy started imposing his sex-phobic views:
- abortion can lead to sterility and suicide
- that half the gay male teenagers in the United States have tested positive for the AIDS virus
- touching a person’s genitals can result in pregnancy
- A 43-day-old fetus is a “thinking person”
- HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, can be spread via sweat and tears
- condoms fail to prevent HIV transmission as often as 31 percent of the time in heterosexual intercourse.
We’re gonna measure it Chimpy
Because Chimpy is staking his reputation as “the education” preznint with the very measurement-intensive No Child Left Behind Act, you would think that his administration would be all gung-ho to measure their success with Abstinence-only sex education, wouldn’t you? Well, you would be wrong.
In November 2000, under the Clinton Administration, HHS developed meaningful, scientifically sound outcome measures to assess whether these programs achieved their intended purposes, including the “proportion of program participants who have engaged in sexual intercourse” and the birth rate of female program participants.
In late 2001, however, the Bush Administration dropped these measures and replaced them with a set of standards that does not include any real outcomes. Rather than tracking pregnancy or sexual activity, these measures assess attendance and the attitudes of teens at the end of the education program, including the “proportion of participants who indicate understanding of the social, psychological, and health gains to be realized by abstaining from premarital sexual activity.”
About those balls
The creepy and ever-so-slightly Freudian-erotic “Purity Balls” could only come about in such an era as ours. In case you have not heard about these events, Daddies and their pre-pubescent daughters have a little ceremony in which she pledges to her dad to remain a virgin until marriage. There usually is a small lock and key involved. Seriously.
Electra fantasies aside, how effective have these pledges been?
Nonpartisan researchers have been unable to document measurable benefits of the abstinence-only model. Columbia University researchers found that although teenagers who take “virginity pledges” may wait longer to initiate sexual activity, 88 percent eventually have premarital sex.
Atta girl. Go get ’em.
And note that there is not an equivalent for the boys, though I did read somewhere about Integrity Balls.
We already established your character, we’re only haggling over price
There are literally hundreds of federally-funded, community-based abstinence only programs that are run by faith-based groups; that is, our tax-payer money going to church groups to promote abstinence. Um, if memory serves me correctly, I used to get that for free on Sundays.
The ACLU found that government abstinence-only funds had paid a minister to train other ministers to spread the message, and that thousands of dollars went to programs that included prayers as well as continuous references to God, Jesus Christ, and the spiritual repercussions of sex before marriage.
If you have sex outside of one permanent, monogamous partner — and monogamy does not mean one at a time — that means one partner who has only been with you; if you have sex outside that context, then you will pay! No one has ever had more than one partner and not paid. No one.
–abstinence-only speaker Pam Stenzel
High schoolers in Baton Rouge were taught about the legislative process (and how to use it to fight abortion) and that “abstinence is the cornerstone of Judeo-Christian belief,” and that it was “time to restore the Judeo-Christian heritage in America.”
Now, maybe it is because I am a third-generation Californian, but my thinking is this: sex is one of the great, good gifts that we get in this life. Is there anything more transcendent than that moment, “la petite morte,” is there any deeper connection we can make to another person? Instead of taking this gift and spitting in the face of God by denying our true selves and legislating rules about what people can and cannot know about sex (and I might add who can do what to whom and when, even when everyone participates willingly), why don’t we celebrate this wonderful gift?
Why old Testament sex and not The Song of Songs sex?
No one deserves to have lousy sex. Except Chimpy. Good thing he found Laura.