There was an AP story out today which seems to have been picked up by most of the major papers which “reports” on the CDC study that found that 1 in 4 teenaged girls have an STD. Why is the number so high, you might ask. According to the AP “report” it is because of abstinence only education. The evidence for this connection? The opinions of people who advocate for comprehensive sex education, of course!
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a big fan of either abstinence only or comprehensive sex education. It is my opinion that any parent who allows the government to bear any, must less most, of the responsibility for teaching their kids about sex deserves to have their children come home thinking that pregnancy is caused by inhaling floating sperm vapors into their mouth while sleeping. If their children also think that condoms are good finger puppets – so much the better, I say! Serves them right. (Not that I’m being judgemental or anything! 🙂 ) Of course right now many of them seem to come home thinking that unwanted pregnancies are caused by old white men hiding in bushes with sperm filled turkey basters just waiting to attack young ladies so they can force them to have babies. But that’s another discussion.
At any rate, this is one of the dumbest, most poorly reported stories I’ve seen in some time. It says much more about the prejudices of the reporter than reality. First of all, the study was done in 2003-2004, which according to the AP story indicates that in just 2 years, President Bush and his right-wing cohort had managed to completely undo our heretofore sucessful sex education programs! And how did he personally accomplish this remarkable feat? Why by increasing abstinance only funding to 1/10th of the funding provided for other forms of sex education! Isn’t that amazing, with just 1/10th of the funding that comprehensive sex education programs get abstinence only programs have single handedly lead to 1 in 4 teen aged girls having an STD.
The money quote from the story comes from “sex education expert” Nora Gelperin who says, “Sexuality is still a very taboo subject in our society”. Please give me a moment to recover from passing out laughing to translate that for you. In plain english Ms. Gelperin said: “I’m an alien from another planet and I have no idea what I’m talking about.”
Perhaps someone should have pity on Ms. Gelperin and introduce her to the wonders of movies, MTV, rap music, Myspace, the OC, internet porn and other sources of teenaged entertainment in this country. Then maybe she could take a quick trip over to Deerfield High School to observe their AP English Class where they’re busy reading graphic accounts of anal sex, complete with broken condoms! We have many problems with our handling of sex in this country, but a taboo on talking about sex certainly isn’t one of them.
See, I have a crazy idea about why 1 in 4 teenaged girls have an STD: it’s because they are teenagers who are having sex! Wait – it gets better. They aren’t using condoms because – get this – teenagers are immature and are known to use poor judgement! I’m sure you didn’t realize for yourself that teens are immature and do dumb things, but that’s why you come to this blog isn’t it? To learn things no one has ever told you before!
Now, as I see it, there are two ways we can stop this STD epidemic. The first is to figure out how to make teens mature and wise by about 14 or 15. Which, I believe is that tact taken by comprehensive sex education. And if they ever succeed, parents, governments and sweat shops around the world will want to know their secret to changing the normal course of human development.
The other way to counter-act the damage done by teenage sex would be pound into a child’s head from the elementary school years on that sex is for people who can raise babies together (ie married people), that birth control is for those people during the times they aren’t ready to have babies (and explain how to use birth control as part of preparing them to function well in their future marriages – unless you are against birth control altogether, of course), that sex is an extremely powerful, good and normal human desire and that they need to be very mature in order to harness that desire in ways that are not harmful to themselves or others and practical advice for how to do that. If you think that the government or schools are able or obligated to perform this task, I have some money in a bank account in Africa I need some help moving into the country.
If you are a parent who is not sure that they are up to taking on the full responsibility for talking with their kids about sex, head over to the bookstore and start browsing. I also highly recommend that you take a look at a good summary of Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Human Body to get a handle on the philosophy behind the Christian view of sex. His wisdom on this matter is astounding really. And get out of the dumb fight over sex ed in schools. Don’t let your kids be taught sex by the schools – that’s your job, not theirs. Period.
Besides, you certainly can’t do much worse than our schools do, regardless of the the approach they’re using. 1 in 4 girls have an STD and they’re busy arguing over the state of sex education? Good grief.