In this new year I would again like to stress that sexual education is important. Not only for high school aged children, but also adults.
I have something serious to talk about, sex education in school, or the lack there of. (Note: This post took me two days to write because the information below has made me very disappointed and angry in the educational system)
Sex education is poorly distributed throughout the United States schooling system. There is no required standards for sex ed in the united states, only 22 states mandate sexual education, 13 require that it be medically accurate. Out of 50 states that’s less than half!
In Ohio Fox 19 news did a survey on sex ed and found that the state has no sex ed guidelines, that being said it’s up to the school to decide what is taught. This is NOT good, the educational system is failing to educate theses students about simple things like contraceptives, simple anatomy, and the risks of having unprotected sex. In Mississippi you can talk about contraceptives but the teachers can’t display how to put on a condom. That means no long fruits or vegges allowed. One teacher from Mississippi found a way around the new law. Fun fact Mississippi ranks number 2 in teen pregnancy rates. That’s deplorable! New Mexico Is number 1 (again deplorable!) and New Hampshire is the lowest ranked (good job new Hampshire).
In 8 states (South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, Utah) there are laws restricting what teachers can and can’t say about homosexuality. Utah’s law prohibits any instruction about the intricacies of intercourse. (Rep.) State Senator John Valentine said “I recognize that some parents do not take the opportunity to teach in their own homes, but we as a society should not be teaching or advocating homosexuality or sex outside marriage or different forms of contraceptives for premarital sex.” Most parents aren’t comfortable with discussing sex with their children, porn is a poor example to learn off of, so where else will theses teens learn about sexual education?
In most other states, the only sexual education you will receive is abstinence only education! I have to say that the only way abstaining works is if you personally make that choice for yourself, not if someone or a religious organization pressures it on to you. The thing that everyone who is an adult fails to recognize is that abstinence doesn’t work. Teens are horny, and are experiencing new things with their hormones, and relationships.
Congress recently increased funding for abstinence only programs from about $50 M to $75 M and the state will match a portion of that amount. That means students are still being exposed to abstinence only programs, with names like W.A.I.T. (Why Am I Tempted), Go APE (Abstinence Protects Everyone), and No Screwing Around.
Pam Stenzel an abstinence educator from No Screwing Around, goes on to say “If you have sex outside of one permanent monogamous, and monogamy doesn’t mean one at a time, that means one partner who has only been with you. If you have sex outside of that context, you will pay”
She then goes on to break down women sexuality and confidence in their sexuality. “Boys if there’s a girl throwing herself at you, if she’s the one pressuring you for sex, if this is a girl dressing in “that manner” not only to you but the rest of the world ‘take me now’, I’ve got a little word of advise for you, RUN, run as fast as you can in the opposite direction!“
I have a little news for you Pam, according to the CDC Men have 4.0% partners in their lifetime, and women have 1.7% in their lifetime, on average. Also the average age teens start to have sex is 17.
Human relations media offers schools 2 versions on contraception. Version B does not make judgement regarding an individual’s decision to have or abstain from premarital sex. Version A, clearly and boldly preaches abstinence, as they say in the video, abstinence is the only option that is acceptable to your family, your school, and your community. What does your family, school, and community have anything to do with you and your partner in bed? not a thing.
This wont be the first time an abstinence educator breaks women down, it seems to be a common theme in abstinence only groups.
Pam Stenzel is also a traveling speaker for abstinence. Her website claims that she speaks to 500,000 students a year. She did a talk in 2012 with an auditorium full of students, and talked about how you have to share you’re sexual history with your partner, she also beat down women over men about how women need to be tested more then men. Insinuating that women are more likely to contract an STD/STI. Shes not alone in her pursuit for abstinence among teens. A women by the name of Shelly Donahue, likes to show the danger of having more then one sexual partner by describing woman as a piece of tape. She precedes by sticking tape to the arms of multiple boys and ripping the tape off. She calls it the theory of bonding. She saying that a woman is so used that she becomes damaged after 4.3 partners.
Women being shamed for having sex is being displayed again and again, in another abstinence video they reference old tennis shoes that are supposed to be symbolic of her vagina.
The one group of people that the abstinence only groups fail to see, is sexual assault victims. Elizabeth Smart is a prime example. A young girl abducted from her bed and repeatedly raped. Here teacher told her that for every time she has sex she becomes an old chewed up piece of gum. This is heart breaking because this is what is being taught in schools. Men and women, I want all of you to know that you do have self worth that no matter how many sexual partners you have you are still someone with feelings and emotions. You mean something.
Now I must cover the topic of consent. A recent survey found that college students were confused about certain aspects of it, for example, if someone undressing, getting a condom or nodding where acts of consent at least 40% said yes, and 40% said no. Thats a problem, a poor sexual education plays into that. Abstinence heavy education only talks about saying no, or they leave out what informed enthusiastic consent looks like, or worse suggest that its all one parties responsibility, like in the video by sex smart, (I couldn’t find a link sadly because its a dvd or vhs for purchase).
A boy and a girl are on a couch and the boy says to the girl “lets have sex to prove our love for each other” and the first time she asks “Do you think we are ready?” And he feels he clearly is.
Take 2, same question from the boy, her response, she softly says no. The boy is confused by this answer and asks in his head “does that mean no or yes?”
Take 3, same question from the boy, her response is very clear this time, “No way”. He then says they should get to the concert that they have a date too.
Its good that, she is being taught that she has the power to say no, but at any point the guy was clearly not hearing it, until the third take.
Sex is something that NEEDS to be discussed, it is not something that can be swept under the rug, if it is not talked about, you as educators are setting people up for an already troubled culture where a group of Yale frat boys can yell out “No means yes, Yes means anal!” This is utterly disgusting, a group of highly educated men don’t understand that no, means no. But sadly this is not an isolated incident, last year two more colleges (texas tech and LSU) followed in yales foot steps and were caught with the same slogan.
I’m not saying that abstinence is bad, but I’m not saying its good either, it depends on the person you are. You will not become a warn out pair of shoes, or a chewed up piece of gum, you may become a better partner for your spouse in the future. Or you may choose to not engage in any sexual activity until you are older, maybe its because you choose to focus on your career or your studies. What ever you choose please educate yourself, ask the questions you think need to be asked, (there are no dumb questions when it comes to sex). Be smart know your options, and know that you’re worth something.