Abstinence-Only “Education”

I’m going to go ahead and say it.


Now, let me start this off with: I am pro-abstinence. I think our society puts too much weight on sex, and it causes a lot of unnecessary pressure on our youth. I think people should be encouraged to abstain from sex until they are physically, mentally, and emotionally ready to partake in it consensually. There is nothing wrong with abstinence.

That being said, I am also pro-health, pro-body, pro-STD-free, pro-protection, and pro-sex.

Purposefully denying young people the education to know and understand their bodies, along with how to protect them is wrong and dangerous, especially in a place that should be safe to learn (whether it’s at school or at home).

Sex is natural. It’s not wrong, or dirty. It’s human to have urges, and none of us would be here if we didn’t acknowledge and act on those urges. No matter how much you want your precious child to be shielded from sex, their body is going to develop and have urges just like every one else’s.

Furthermore, the facts speak for themselves. States with mostly abstinence-only “education” also have the highest rate of teen pregnancies and show no evidence that it prevents teens from having sex.

The argument I’ve heard for abstinence-only “teaching” is, “If we tell them all about sex, they’ll want to have it.

REALLY? Telling a 10-year-old girl that a watermelon is going to come out her crotch if she gets pregnant makes her want to have sex? Telling a 14-year-old boy what herpes is will make him go buck-wild on the next girl he sees? WTF are you in to?

I was fortunate enough to have comprehensive sex-ed (both in school and from my parents). Learning about tampons and condoms and weird things that dongs do did NOT make me want to jump into bed with a dude. I don’t recall any of my classmates tearing off their clothes and emitting a roar of newfound sexuality, either.

The point is, hiding information – crucial knowledge – from a kid in an effort to protect them does more harm than good. So let’s stop calling it education and call it what it really is – forcing your beliefs onto children and denying them the knowledge to make the decision on their own.

Support comprehensive sex education!

8 thoughts on “Abstinence-Only “Education”

  1. I agree entirely. I went to Catholic elementary and high school, so it was all abstinence only teachings. They really instill a sense of guilt and shame into everyone. We saw pictures of abortions, saw pictures of genitalia mutilated by STDs, and had speakers who had “waited until marriage”. It’s really unfair (and yes, even harmful) to hide the truth and try to force something that is less than natural.

    • Thanks for your comment, Erin! It’s good to hear the point made by someone to who went through abstinence-only. It’s scary to think how many children grow up not knowing about their own bodies!

  2. It’s a really tough subject because there are so many people on both sides of the argument. There are people who will fiercely defend “abstinence-only” education and same goes for the sex-education side as well, with people wanting to provide adequate information to youths.

    My school had sex-education but it was horribly out-dated. I remember having to watch videos from the early 80′s (I was in High School in the 00′s) so for us, it was far too distracting watching people in hideous clothing and freakishly weird hairstyles and so the actual message of the videos went unnoticed.

    Ideally, I’m pro-abstinence as well. I think if it had been promoted a little bit better to me in high school and so forth, I would have waited longer. But I also acknowledge that while abstaining is important and ideal, as adults and educators, teachers need to address both sides of the argument. It’s too idealistic and optimistic to believe that teaching abstinence is going to result in ALL teenagers abstaining; they aren’t, nothing will ever achieve that and by NOT providing adequate information about pregnancies and STD’s, there can be a serious threat posed to these youths.

    • Comprehensive sex education also includes extensive abstinence teaching, so it isn’t like the two are really opposing sides. One contains abstinence teaching along with protection against STDs, pregnancy, and how your body changes – and the other includes just abstinence.

      I had to watch the cheesy 80′s videos too, but luckily our teachers also answered questions, provided worksheets and pamphlets of info, and made sure the information got across and was understood.

  3. Excellent post. In a perfect world, parents and educators would make a collaborative effort to teach young people how to deal with sex: physically, mentally and emotionally. It wouldn’t be a matter of judgement, but of true education and pursuit of knowledge.

  4. LOVE THIS! As a mother of two young boys, I’m already starting to plan out how we’ll educate our boys about sex. The Hubs and I have already discussed that we both want comprehensive education…I actually think I’d have my boys switch schools if abstinence-ony was taught! Thank you for being such a voice of reason!

    P.S. Found you through AZ Bloggers Network and am loving everything I’ve read so far….could not agree more with pretty much everything! Glad to see another AZ feminist veg out there!

    • Your boys are very lucky to have such a caring mother!!

      AzBloggers is such a wonderful group of women, I’m really enjoying being a part of it. :) Thank you!

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